Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Sambhogakaya Mean?

Sambhogakaya is a term in Buddhism that translates as “body of divine enjoyment ” and is typically described as the “reward body” or “bliss body.” The word comes from the Sanskrit, sambhoga, meaning “complete enjoyment” or “pleasure”; and kaya, which means “body” or “habitation.”

Sambhogakaya is one of the three bodies, or the trikaya, the other two being the non-physical dharmakaya (the absolute, or truth, body) and the physical nirmanakaya (the body of transformation). In some schools of Buddhism, the trikaya may also be considered three levels of buddhahood.


Yogapedia Explains Sambhogakaya

Depending on the Buddhist tradition, sambhogakaya can have different meanings. When described as a level of buddhahood, as in Mahayana Buddhism, sambhogakaya falls between nirmanakaya (the fully human buddha) and dharmakaya (when the buddha is in union with all creation). A sambhogakaya buddha is enlightened, but still a distinct celestial being — neither a god or human.

Sambhogakaya is referred to as the "reward body" because this pleasurable state of bliss is thought to be a reward for living a righteous life and doing good deeds.

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