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Nirmāṇakāya (Sanskrit: निर्माणकाय, Chinese: 應身; pinyin: yīngshēn) is the third aspect of the trikāya and the physical manifestation of a Buddha in time and space.[1] In Vajrayāna it is described as "the dimension of ceaseless manifestation."[2]

Emanation body in Buddhism[edit]

Indian Buddhism[edit]

One early Buddhist text, the Pali Samaññaphala Sutta, lists the ability to create a “mind-made body” (manomāyakāya) as one of the "fruits of the contemplative life".[3][better source needed] Commentarial texts such as the Patisambhidamagga and the Visuddhimagga state that this mind-made body is how Gautama Buddha and arhats are able to travel into heavenly realms using the continuum of the mindstream (cittasaṃtāna) and it is also used to explain the multiplication miracle of the Buddha as illustrated in the Divyavadana, in which the Buddha multiplied his nirmita or emanated human form into countless other bodies which filled the sky. A Buddha or other realized being is able to project many such nirmitas simultaneously in an infinite variety of forms in different realms simultaneously.[4][better source needed]

The Indian Buddhist philosopher Vasubandhu (fl. 4th to 5th century CE) defined nirmita as a siddhi or psychic power (Pali iddhi, Sanskrit: ṛddhi) developed through Buddhist discipline, concentrated discipline (samadhi) and wisdom in his seminal work on Buddhist philosophy, the Abhidharmakośakārikā. Asanga's Bodhisattvabhūmi defines nirmāṇa as a magical illusion and "basically, something without a material basis."[5][better source needed] The Madhyamaka school of philosophy sees all reality as empty of essence; all reality is seen as a form of nirmita or magical illusion.[6][better source needed]

See also[edit]



  • Fiordallis, David (20 September 2008). Miracles and Superhuman Powers in South Asian Buddhist Literature (PDF) (PhD dissertation). University of Michigan. Archived (PDF) from the original on 23 April 2017. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  • Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama (n.d.). "The Dalai Lama, Biography and Daily Life: Birth to Exile". Archived from the original on October 19, 2017. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  • Sogyal Rinpoche (1994). The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-250834-2.
  • Welwood, John (2000). "The Play of the Mind: Form, Emptiness, and Beyond". Retrieved January 13, 2007.