Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Dharmakaya Mean?

In Mahayana Buddhism, dharmakaya is one of the three bodies that make up Buddha and is considered reality itself: the energy of everything that exists. It is considered by some schools as the true Self of Buddha and is made up of a two-fold purity: primordial purity, in which dharmakaya is raw purity, empty and devoid of conflicts and negative emotions; and the second purity, which comes from harnessing and controlling one’s emotions and thoughts through practicing Buddhism.

Within yoga, individuals with a spiritual or Buddhist yoga practice may have the ultimate goal of understanding dharmakaya in order to obtain Buddhahood, or the idea that they may serve and enlighten others.


Yogapedia Explains Dharmakaya

Dharmakaya has been explained by Tibetan and Indian scholars as a dreamless, deep sleep or death-like state in which, apart from the physical or emotional body, the empty mental continuum remains. It is said to be a permanent state of nothingness, but also is the energy of everything that exists. It is an unconditional state that gives rise to all conditional occurrences in the universe.

The dharmakaya is part of the Trikaya (three bodies) doctrine, which is a teaching on the nature and appearances of Buddha. The Yogacara school of Buddhism, a Buddhist belief system that centers on seeing the world through the practice of yoga, solidified these three aspects of the Trikaya to include dharmakaya in 300 C.E.

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