Dear Ven. Sujato, Ven. Yuttadhammo, Stephen and friends,
Bhante, how true! It had never occurred to me that Dhammakaya is
related to Chinese Buddhism. But, since you mention it, I believe it
is making reference to the Tri-kaya concept (which isn't of Chinese
origin) in Mahayana.
I think they have probably got it wrong. The Dhammakaya (or
Dharmakaya) is simply the embodiment of truth. It means that the
enlightenment of all Buddhas are undiscriminatorily equal, regardless
of time and space. If it insists a 'physical' state of nibbana, it
should be the Sambhagakaya. The third kaya is the Nirmanakaya. This
concept is important in Mahayana, and it blends in with the
Madhyamika's explanation of emptiness.
--- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Bhante Sujato wrote:
> > One very large group of "Buddhists" in Thailand has come out
> > and proclaimed publicly that "Nibbana is Atta."
It is worth noticing that this group emerged in Thailand as part of a
movement in Thai culture from the 80's that started to re-acknowledge
the Chinese roots of Thai culture. Bankok was in fact a Chinese
trading port. One aspect of this is the adoption of aspects of
Chinese Buddhism. For example, statues of Kwan Yin are common all
But Dhammakaya has pursued this angle more consciously, claiming
support for their Dhammakaya idea from Mahayana sutras.
Unfortunately, few people in Thailand have read the Mahayana sutras,
so apart from sectarian prejudice, they are unable to respond very
meaningfully to this aspect of Dhammakaya's arguments.