• Created by: Banisha.
  • Created on: 14-04-18 10:27


  • the buddha found no reason to believe there is a god 
  • through meditation nobody has experienced a god 
  • there is no empirical evidence for a god 
  • claim it is possible to find logical arguments for the existence of god however all arguements end up in contradiction / absurdity 
  • follws the existence of god is not accepted and the Buddha is not considered as a divine being 
  • the buddha is fundamentally human rather than divine so buddhists can use his life as a model to follow 
  • buddhists do not pray to the buddha but remembering him help inspires gratitude/ meditation 
  • the buddhas authority stems from his experience of enlightenment 
  • the dharma is a universal truth revealed by the buddha but not exclusive or personal to him 
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  • there is only one buddha
  • the buddha is a human being and the main example/ model 
  • attaining enlightenment is rare 
  • accept arhats - worthy ones 
  • main emphasis on self liberation - total reliance on ones self 


  • there are lots of budhas
  • there are celestial buddhas that represent ultimate reality 
  • buddha helps others to find enlightenment
  • everyone has the buddha nature, so could potentially become one 
  • accept bodhisattvas 
  • buddha nature is heavily stressed even in schools 
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  • concept of bodhisattvas exists in all schools of buddhism 
  • in mahayana it is used widely to those who follow the path 
  • this is the dominant form of buddhism 
  • believe that there are many buddha who can appear at any time, teach great masters in visions/ dreams 
  • buddhas can communicate in sambhogakaya form however thervada does not accept the existence of this 
  • TRIKAYA DOCTRINE 'body' means kaya, 'body of literature'/'body of knowledge' - collective qualitis/ characteristics 
  • the 3 kayas refer to 3 aspects of Buddhahood
  • 1. DHARMAKAYA - body of truth 
  • 2. SAMBHOKAYA - body of enlightenment 
  • 3. NIRMANAKAYA - body of manifestation 
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DHARMAKAYA - absolute, essesence of the universe, the unity of all things/ beings unmainfested

  • Refers to enlightened mind itself 
  • complete realisation of the truth of all things 
  • purified consciousness
  • totally free from all defillments 
  • beyond words, it cannot be described in ordinary language 
  • dharmakaya is beyond existence/ non existence 'basis of the orginal unborness' - TRUNGPA
  • dharmakaya is compared to the atmosphere - it is the basis of all existence 
  • it is always present and everywhere - dharmakaya can be found in scriptures pali suttapitta
  • dharmakaya is used to express the idea that a buddhas body is the embodiment of the dharma 


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  • Refers to the dimensions of energy, light - enlightened beings dwell
  • buddha/ bodhisattvas are intangible but visible 
  • form of existence allows human beings at advanced meditative levels to communicate with Buddhas, to have religious experiences - these are known as meditative perceptions of sambhoakaya beings 
  • some may choose to remain in sambhogakaya, a form out of compassion and stay accessible to suffering beings 
  • sambhogakaya is the body of enjoyment - body that experineces the bliss of enlightenment 
  • Amitabha is a sambhogakaya budhha - purfied but remains destinctive 
  • sambhogakaya buddhas are described in suturas appearing as celestial beings/ pure lands
  • sambhogakaya is compared to the clouds - is the clarity of the natural state 
  • explains why mahayana pray to them for support and guidance - it is the path of devotion - seen as such a powerful path 
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  • refers to the physical manifestations of an enlightened being - the earthly physical body of the buddha - flesh, blood being
  • mahayana view the buddha was already enlightened before he was born as siddhartha 
  • buddhas have the power to manifest in any physical form, in any part of the universe, human beings to guide humans 
  • nirmanakaya is compared to the rain 
  • nirmanakaya is the movement of energy that arises from the inseparability of emptiness and clarity

the three kayas are related to each other - dharma to sambhoga to nirmana 

the dharmakaya - ultimate truth - sambhogakaya and nirmana exist in relation to it 

the kayas describe aspects of enlightenment, they are a cosmic principle which describe the way theh mind transforms into light and energy

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  • Mahayana - goal is to complete buddhood
  • nirvana is acknowledged as a provisional goal 
  • believe this experience comes to an end with fortunate rebirth, then continues the path to full buddhahood 
  • believes there are differences between nirvana and buddhahood
  • nirvana is freedom from samsara, based on the principle of anatta - no essence, no self applies to all things in the universe, so all nature of things bring the omniscence of buddhahood 
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  • nature of TATHAGATAGARBHA - principle that all sentiment beings in samsara have the potential to become fully enlightened if they can apply themselves to the spiritual path
  • buddha nature can never be spoiled by our menal poisions/ harmful actions 
  • this principle undermines possibility for those who follow the path 
  • it also accounts for the possibility of sudden instataneous enlightenment experiences
  • mahayana - enlightenment is not a matter of attaining a state, but discovering, uncovering, revealing / expressing who we actually are 
  • nirvarna is not something we lack but attain once we have purified our ignorance and confusion
  • mahayana carries a sense of enlightenment that is immanent and fundamentally accessible
  • TATHAGTAGARBHA is described as a seed within each individual to be developed - buddha nature is a permanent essence in all things 
  • TATHAGATAGARBHA can be linked to the hindu belief of the ATMAN - breath/ spirit essence of self - however buddha rejected this teaching 
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  • conventional truth - refers to what we accept as true in the everyday world - how things appear 
  • ultimate truth - refers to what is beyond words and that we understand only through meditation and study - how they really are 
  • mahayana describes things from enlighenment point of view and speaks realities that aren't accepted in conventional life 
  • things to appear to be real/ unreal depend on the degree of purity of the mind that is perceived
  • the absolute is the dharmakaya - the unity of all things and beings unmanifested
  • doctrine of SUNYATA proposed that all phenonmena are empty of self essence 
  • XINXIN MING BOOK - 'you transcend both appearance and emptiness' 
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  • bodhichitta means 'the mind of enlightenment' it is the development of bodhichitta that distinguishes a bodhisattva from other types of Buddhists 'compassion and wisdom'
  • this type of compassion - wishes others to be free and rid of suffering and basis of bodhichitta
  • compassion of bodhichitta refers to altrustic thought wishing to attain enlightenment and be capable of helping others to do the same 
  • through compassion it helps the bodhisattva to strive to reach enlightenment as soon as possible - the true way of freeing them from suffering 
  • mahayana path is based on selflessness and egolessness and insight into what other people need so the bodhisattva is skillful and effective in the way they help others
  • bodhchitta ensures the bodhisattva has compassion and wisdom to apply 
  • main definition 'the desire to realise enlightenmen for the sake of others'
  • PRAJNAPARAMITA - perfection of wisdom is recognised for teaching sunyata/ emptiness - this sutra proposes that all beings are to be enlightened together 
  • DALAI LAMA -'there is no more powerful mind than bodhichitta' 
  • bodhi means mind, citta means heart = heart and mind 
  • bodhicitta must be cultivated from within 
  • this teaching ultimately allows for compassion to others to lead us all to wisdom
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  • path is made of ten stages/ bhumi's
  • 1. complete joy, 2. without stain, out light- bodhisattva is known purified of the 3 poisons  4. dazzling with light, 5. dfficult to overcome- fully understands the 4 noble truths and the two truths  6. knowing clearly - understands the nature of dependent origination  7.gone far, 8. immovable, 9. perfect intelligence- understands all dharmas and is able to teach others 10. cloud of dharma 
  • after the 10th stage one attains buddhahood
  • bodhisattvas need to realise in the first 5 stages they should not feel proud/ righteous about any act - all are empty of their existence 
  • once the bodhi has completed the 6th stage they are an advanced bodhi and ar free of rebirth 
  • 10th stage he/she reaches sambhogakaya level and dwells in tushita heaven and attain buddhahood which is the 11th stage - this is where Maitreya lives 
  • Mahayana commits bodhisattva to continue to work to accumalate wisdom, the path leads them through to the 10 bhumis and is able to liberate beings from samsara and nirvana 
  • bodhisattva is an enlightened being who vows to remain in the world until all other beings realise enlightenment 
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  • 1st meaning of bodhisattva - refers to anyone who is following mahayana path and cultivating bodhichitta, so anyone who is following the 10 bhumis is still not totally free of suffering and rebirth 
  • 2nd meaning of bodhisattva - refers to advanced beings, sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya beings, some remain in sambhogakaya to make themselves accessible 
  • they are not refered to as gods because they are empty in nature, just like everything else 


  • Mahayana schools do not place as much emphasis on personal effort/ virtue, they do acknowledge the need for disciplined life and accumalte merit
  • they teach devotion and prayer to buddhas and bodhisattvas and even more powerful for purifyng negative karma - this is a crucial role 
  • tantric path os more powerful and effective than mahayana as it enables practitioners to reach enlightenment much faster. the methods enable us to access and communicate directly with the sambhogakaya dimension of reality 
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