The Tathagata-kaya

The illustrious Tathagata-kaya, with its divine essence, transcends all dualistic associations. It exists beyond the confines of time, surpassing the boundaries of past, present, and future. Neither marked nor unmarked, it eludes comprehension by the skhandas or any elements of consciousness. Thus, the Tathagata remains inconceivable and imperceptible.

The foot of a Tathagata does not rest on either shore, nor within or without, nor in any intermediate space. It stands apart from any moral or immoral attributes, devoid of any relational ties. The truth underlying the Tathagata-kaya is far from conventional truth as commonly understood. The phrase “thus come, thus gone” signifies that the Tathagata neither departs, arrives, nor ever will; it is beyond the realm of coming and going.

To those who approach this with conventional eyes, they may question, “What is the essence of a Tathagata?” The body of a Tathagata cannot be perceived or conceived through conventional means. It is only discernible through eyes devoid of imagery, transcending the realm of existence and non-existence. One who perceives the Tathagata through imageless eyes perceives rightly, while those who attempt to do so with conventional eyes do so in vain.

This brings to mind a suggestion that the Sanskrit language is mere trickery from ancient Indians. In truth, terms like Tathagata continue to radiate with eternal wonder. To the vain, coarse, and vulgar-minded, these terms may appear as meaningless as a janitor deciphering a Nuclear Physicist’s manual. Yet, the purpose of sutras, in general, is not to cater to the shallow desires of popular consumption. However, anyone with a pure mind and sincere effort, like Hui-neng, the sixth Patriarch of Zen Buddhism, who heard the words of the Diamond Sutra through the ears of dharma, can and will attain enlightenment. This exquisite dialect is the epitome of the Bodhi-Spirit, transcending the mundane realm of this world.

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