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Key Term dharmakāya
Hover Popup Choices Dharma Body; Truth Body
In Tibetan Script ཆོས་སྐུ་
Wylie Tibetan Transliteration chos sku
Devanagari Sanskrit Script धर्मकाय
Romanized Sanskrit dharmakāya
Tibetan Phonetic Rendering chö ku
Chinese Script 法身
Chinese Pinyin fǎ shēn
Japanese Transliteration hosshin
English Standard true being
Karl Brunnhölzl's English Term Dharma Body
Richard Barron's English Term dharmakaya; dimension/ stratum of authentic/ true being
Jeffrey Hopkin's English Term Truth Body; Actual Body
Dan Martin's English Term Dharmabody
Gyurme Dorje's English Term buddha body of reality; buddha body of actual reality
Ives Waldo's English Term body of enlightened qualities; Dharma-body
Alternate Spellings chos kyi sku
Term Type Noun
Source Language Sanskrit
Basic Meaning "Truth body" or "true being" — One of the three bodies of a buddha. In Mahāyāna Buddhism, it often refers to a kind of fundamental principle or the true nature of reality itself.
Has the Sense of Although this term is sometimes rendered into English as “truth body,” dharmakāya seems to have originally been meant to refer to the entire corpus (kāya) of the Buddha’s transcendent qualities (dharma). (The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, p. 242)
Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism

See page 246: In Sanskrit, often translated as “truth body,” one of the

two (along with the rūpakāya) or three (along with the saṃbhogakāya and nirmāṇakāya) bodies of a buddha. In early discussions of the true nature of the Buddha, especially regarding the person of the Buddha to whom one goes for refuge (saraņa), the term dharmakāya seems to have been coined to refer to the corpus or collection (kāya) of the auspicious qualities (dharma) of the Buddha, including his wisdom, his compassion, his various powers, etc.; it also referred to the entire corpus (kāya) of the Buddha’s teachings (dharma). In the Mahāyāna, the term evolved into a kind of cosmic principle that was regarded as the true nature of the Buddha and the source from which his various other forms derived....
Rangjung Yeshe's English Term dharmakaya. Definition by Jamgön Kongtrül: sgrib gnyis bag chags dang bcas pa ma lus par spangs pa'i dbyings nam mkha' lta bu zhig la chos kyi sku zhes bya ste Dharma-body, dharmakaya, (body of enlightened qualities)
Muller's Digital Dictionary of Buddhism (DDB)

Basic Meaning: Dharma-body Senses: Translated as reality body, truth body, law body, etc. In general Mahāyāna teaching, the Dharma-body is a name for absolute existence, the manifestation of all existences—the true body of reality, or Buddha as eternal principle; the body of essence that is pure, possesses no marks of distinction, and is the same as emptiness (Skt. dharmakāya). The Dharma-body is one of the three bodies 三身 of the Buddha. The Buddhaʼs body of the universe—the body of truth that lacks form. The basis of all things. In texts such as the Awakening of Mahāyāna Faith the Dharma-body is seen as being equivalent to the tathāgatagarbha; it is also identified with the one mind.

Syn. with 實相身. [Charles Muller]