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There are four ways how to divide the bodies of a Buddha:
- Four bodies: Svabhavakaya, Jnanadharmakaya, Nirmanakaya, Sambhogakaya
- Five bodies: Svabhavakaya, Jnanadharmakaya, Nirmanakaya, Sambhogakaya and according to different traditions the fifth body is Vajrakaya, Mahasukhakaya or Abhisambhodikaya.
Dharmakaya (tib.: chu ku) Dharma body. The omniscient mind of a fully enlightened being, which, free of all coverings, remains meditatively absorbed in the direct perception of emptiness while simultaneously cognizing all phenomena. The basis for Dharmakaya is collection of wisdom. Dharmakaya can be divided in Jnanadharmakaya and Svabhavakaya.
Rupakaya (tib.: suk ku) Form body. Refers to emanation bodies of a Buddha. The basis for Rupakaya is collection of merit. Rupakaya can be divided in Nirmanakaya and Sambhogakaya.
Nirmanakaya (tib.: trul ku) Emanation body. There are three types of Nirmanakaya:
1. (tib. : zo ye tul ku) Nirmanakaya of artefacts, for example statues and ot her sacred artefacts that manifest and are venerated as religious obje cts.
2. (tib. : kye we tul ku) Nirmanakaya of birth, for example those highly evol ved beings who continue to reincarnate for the benefit of others, like His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
3. (tib. : chul ku tul ku) Absolute Nirmanakaya with all 112 physical signs l ike Lord Buddha Shakyamuni.
Sambhogakaya (tib.: long ku) Enjoyment body. Body in form of a deity, subtle and pure body made of light, celestial body.
Svabhavakaya (tib.: ngo wo nyi ku) Essence body. Refers to the essence of the other three bodies, which is emptiness.
Jnanadharmakaya (tib.: yeshe chu ku) Wisdom body. Refers to omniscience of a Buddha.
Vajrakaya (tib.: do rje ku) Vajra body. It is the immutable or unchanging nature of the other four Buddha bodies.
Mahasukhakaya (tib.: de wa chen po ku) Body of great bliss. Refers to great blissful awareness of the omniscient mind of a Buddha.
Abhisambhodikaya (tib.: ngon jang gi ku) Body of manifest Enlightenment. Abhisambodhikaya makes Buddha-bodies appear in various forms suitable for benefiting others.
Note: according to different traditions and systems there are slightly different classifications and descriptions of Buddha bodies.