Buddha’s Body and Body theories in the Chinese Buddhist Canon

Proceedings of the International Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities in the 21st Century

Year: 2023



Buddha’s Body and Body theories in the Chinese Buddhist Canon

Qing Zhang




The Buddha’s body is a highly significant and sensitive issue in the history of Buddhism, it involves not only how to perceive the Buddha’s physical body during his lifetime, but also the direct interpretation of his body after the nirvana. With the dissemination and development of Buddhism, influenced by various Buddhist canon from Jātaka tales and folk stories, Shakyamuni gradually became deified and elevated to a superhuman status. This transformation directly impacted the formation of theories about the Buddha’s body, giving rise to the systematic theories of the Dharma body法身, the physical body 肉身and the reward body报身. Consequently, Buddhism evolved into a highly theistic religion. In Buddhism, the body is divided into “Liùgēn六根”, which are the organs of the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind. By guarding the “six faculties六根” ,eliminating impurities associated with them, and then by “synaesthesia of the six faculties 六根互用” to keep them free from contamination by external conditions.

keywords: Buddha, Body, Dharma body, Reward Body, Synaesthesia of the Six Faculties