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Buddhadharma : Winter 2015
winter 2 0 1 5 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 47 of the ultimate point of view that understands the Buddha proceeding from the above to the below, and the other is the relative way of understanding the Buddha, where one proceeds from lower to higher. One perspective is that of the dharmakaya, the viewpoint of primordial wisdom. The other per- spective is that of the rupakaya body of enlightened form, the standpoint of the ordinary, dualistic mind taught for the benefit of those on the beginning stages of the path. If we explain the enlightenment of Buddha Shakyamuni from the perspective of coming from below to above, then we say that Buddha Shakya- muni was enlightened under the bodhi tree at Bod- hgaya, in India. Thus it is said that at the Vajra Seat under the bodhi tree at Bodhgaya, Buddha Shakya- muni was enlightened after accumulating merit for three incalculable aeons. The place of Bodhgaya is called the “Vajra Seat” because it has been blessed by the enlightened ones, and because of this it can- not be destroyed even at the end of the aeon when this whole world is destroyed. Having thus purified all obscurations, finally under the bodhi tree, the place of enlightenment of the 1,002 buddhas of this fortunate aeon, Buddha Shakyamuni attained com- plete enlightenment. This is what is known as the outer aspect of enlightenment. Buddha Shakyamuni remained in the state of meditation and was able to pacify and overcome all his delusion and inner demons and achieve perfect enlightenment. At that time, he made the following declaration: I have found a dharma that is like nectar; It is uncompounded clear luminosity, Profound and peaceful, And beyond all conceptual elaborations. Were I to explain it, others would not understand; And so I will remain in the forest without speaking. From the point of view of the general teachings, after attaining enlightenment in Bodhgaya, Buddha Shakyamuni taught successively the sutra teachings of the three turnings of the wheel of dharma, followed by the general outer tantras and then the anuttaratan tras. Starting from below, from the outer introductory teachings, the Buddha progressively and sequentially revealed the higher inner teachings, and the dharma flourished in this world. The three turnings of the wheel of dharma by the Buddha are thus known as the nirmanakaya buddha teachings. In the first part of his life, Buddha Shakyamuni turned the first wheel; in the middle part, he turned the second wheel; and in the later part, the third. This condenses the teachings of all the vehicles. WHeN SPeAKING OF THe NATURe of the secret body of the Tathagata, we can refer to either the dhar- makaya Samantabhadra, the sambhogakaya Vajrad- hara, or Buddha Shakyamuni, who is the nirmanakaya emanation of Samantabhadra. All the three kayas— dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, and nirmanakaya— have the same nature. The wisdom bodies of Buddha Samantabhadra, Buddha Vajradhara, and Buddha Shakyamuni are all the same in essence. As the nir- manakaya Buddha, so that sentient beings could meet and see him, Buddha Shakyamuni appeared in the form of a human being. For example, in the city of Varanasi, one can still see the remains of small bone relics of the body of the Buddha and gain great merit by paying respect to them, making offerings, and so on. Similarly, during the Bud- dha’s lifetime, he and his entourage spent time at a place in India called Rajagriha, in order to do a three-month summer monsoon retreat. At that time there was a king