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Buddhadharma : Winter 2015
winter 2 0 1 5 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 43 The way Samantabhadra gradually or “indi- rectly” benefits sentient beings is by appearing as all of the different enlightened beings and teach- ers while at the same time displaying various pure realms suitable for training sentient beings. emanat- ing in this way, we have all of the three kaya pure realms of Samantabhadra, namely, the dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, and nirmanakaya. All of the buddha fields of the three kayas share the same essence and are not separate, since all are included within the dharmakaya buddha field, just as the three kayas are contained within the dhar- makaya. Hence, the buddha appearing in each pure realm is not separate from dharmakaya Samanta- bhadra. In the dharmakaya buddha field, the bud- dha is Samantabhadra; in the sambhogakaya pure realms, the buddha is Vajradhara and the buddhas of the five families; in the nirmanakaya realms, the buddha is the supreme nirmanakaya such as Bud- dha Shakyamuni. Buddha Shakyamuni is never sep- arate from Samantabhadra and Buddha Vajradhara, as all are enlightened in the dharmakaya. The Sambhogakaya Buddha In order to benefit sublime beings on the bhumis, or spiritual levels, as well as all sentient beings, the dharmakaya Buddha emanates in a form that can be perceived and experienced by beings. For this, the rupakaya, or “body of enlightened form,” is ema- nated, as the display of the dharmakaya buddha. The rupakaya refers to both the sambhogakaya and the nirmanakaya buddha emanations. First, from the vast expanse of the dharmakaya, due to the blessings, compassion, and power of that state of enlightenment, the boundless sambhogakaya buddha fields appear, arrayed like lights throughout infinite space. If one were to ask what purpose and benefit the sambhogakaya buddha fields serve, the answer would be that they manifest for the sake of beings who are on the first to the tenth spiritual levels. They appear for the sake of male and female bodhi- sattvas, dakas and dakinis, vidyadharas, yogins and yoginis, the noble beings on the first to the tenth spiritual levels. Those who have attained any of the first through tenth levels have reached the third and fourth of the five paths or stages of enlightenment, and thus they abide on the path of seeing or on the path of meditation. Within the sambhogakaya buddha fields are the five buddha families and their entourages of bodhisattvas, dakas, and dakinis. All these infinite buddhas and buddha fields of the sambhogakaya realms are complete and perfect, endowed with the five certainties of the sambhogakaya. If we speak of the five certainties, it means that the sambhogakaya possesses five special attributes that make it ideal for the attainment of complete enlightenment. These five are the perfect place, perfect form of the teacher, perfect teaching, perfect entourage, and perfect time. The first of these five is the perfect place, which is Ghanavyuha Akanishtha, the Unexcelled Abun- dantly Arrayed Buddha Field. It is called “Abun- dantly Arrayed” because it displays an infinite abundance of manifestations of the spiritual quali- ties of enlightenment. This is not the same level of Akanishtha as the dharmakaya buddha field of Samantabhadra, which can be perceived only by tenth-level bodhisattvas. Ghanavyuha Akanishtha According to the general teachings, the Buddha was a sentient being who became enlightened in Bodhgaya. However, according to Dzogchen, Buddha Shakyamuni was enlightened in the primordial ground, the wisdom mind of Samantabhadra.