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Divine Relativity: the Social Aspect of Buddha




三身 萬有在神論 澄觀

Parallel abstracts

The object of this paper is to show that there is a social aspect of the conception of Buddha in of the doctrine of the Trikāya (Threefold Body) of Buddha, which seems to be of a panentheistic nature. As the Mahāyāna Buddhists had held, there were three bodies of Buddha, Dharmakāya, Nirmāṇakāya, and Sambohogakāya, which represented the eternal, the transformable, and the blissful aspects of Buddha respectively. From this doctrine, the well-received doctrine in Chinese Buddhism that "Buddha is related to (or as) all sentients and all sentients are related to (or as) Buddha" had been developed. This in turn gave rise the notion of the mutual immanence of Buddha and all sentients which was well expounded by Huayan (Flower Garland) Master Cheng Guan. All this development evidently reveals the prominent social character of Buddha, which, in terms of an all-embracing relationship of a Supreme Being to human beings, entails a highly philosophical and humanistic significance. And it could well be claimed that the force of Buddhism as an unceasing inspiration for human endeavors to achieve the highest spiritual level may have its source in this ideal sociality.

Parallel keywords

Trikaya Panentheism Cheng Guan