A Comparative Study of the Concept of Dharmakaya Buddha: Vairocana in Hua-yen and Mahavairocana in Shingon Buddhism
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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International Journal of Buddhist Thought and Culture 2:305-331 (2003)
The concept of Dharmakaya is the central theme in both the Hua-yen and Shingon Buddhist literatures. Hua-yen Buddhism adopts Dharmakaya Vairocana Buddha as the main Buddha. Shingon Buddhism, on the other hand, claims that their secret doctrine is the direct teaching of Dharmakaya Mahavairocana Buddha. Even though these two schools are based on the same idea of Dharmakaya Buddha, the concepts of Vairocana in Hua-yen and Mahavairocana in Shingon are different in their doctrinal formulation. Hua-yen Buddhist literature elaborates the function of Dharmakaya Vairocana in the context of the three Buddha-body theory; the Shingon Buddhist literature elaborates Dharmakaya Mahavairocana in the context of the five Buddha Body theory. Shingon literature emphasizes the direct communication between Dharmakaya Mahavairocana and sentient beings, and expands his direct salvation of sentient beings in samsara. This process of salvation by Mahavairocana is based on compassion which is a fundamental merit of Mahavairocana. Compassion is the basic element of enlightening and saving sentient beings.
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