The Mind-Made Body (manomayakaya)

Hi All,
During studying “Samaññaphala Sutta” I come across term The Mind-Made Body. Could someone explain in simple words what it is mean from early Buddhism point of view?

With Metta


Hello @Gosia,

I was quite interested by this myself, but never dug into it.

I just found the following now:

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[quote=“Gosia, post:1, topic:4569, full:true”]
Hi All,
During studying “Samaññaphala Sutta” I come across term The Mind-Made Body. [/quote]I have heard the term used by Buddhists in general before to refer to a mentally visualized body used in certain meditative practices, but always in a Maháyána context, or a Tibetan one. It is very interesting to see it here, thank you for pointing it out. [quote=Gosia]Could someone explain in simple words what it is mean from early Buddhism point of view?[/quote]I am also very interested in this POV and if this mind-made-body refers to any meditative practice at all in EBT-literature.

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in the biography of Dipa Ma, it interviews students of her who witnessed her walking on water, diving into the earth and emerging “wet”, sky walking by turning air element into earth element to support her weight, sky walking at tree height as I recall.

And she would also go to meditation interviews with her teacher by walking through the walls or the door. That’s with her rupa 4-elements body.

There’s the part where it says when she walked alone at night in INdia, she would walk with a mind created human (of herself I believe) as a companion to discourage thugs.

A skeptical professor arranged a test where dipa ma simultaneously (with a mind created body) appeared simultaneously in two places at the same time. One place with her teacher, the other with the skeptical professor.


I think it is similar to astral projection:

With metta


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Opinion varies but I think this refers to Rupavacara Jhana and the Devas living in those worlds.
I may be wrong.


The mind-made body is not clearly defined in the early texts. However, it refers to something similar to what in Western esoteric traditions is called the “astral body” or “subtle body” (sukhumarūpa).

It’s a mental image that corresponds with the physical body. However, in the Buddhist sense, it is part of rūpa, i.e. the physical realm, even though it is created by and perceived by the mind. This is because it has physical properties like shape, position, color, etc. It takes on the same physical shape and attributes as the coarse material (oḷārika) body.

The idea is, I think, that the mind-made body is the felt or perceived body, i.e. the physical body as experienced internally. Normally we have an inner map or idea of the body which matches the externally perceived body quite well; but this is not always the case. Consider the well known phenomenon of phantom limbs. For an amputee, the phantom limb they can experience would be their mind-made body, which doesn’t completely correspond with the coarse body.

For advanced meditators, in certain cases it becomes possible to detach these two bodies much more radically, enabling the phenomena of astral projection and the like.


Hi All :slight_smile:

Thank you all for help. Now it is much clearer for me how to understand mind-made body term.

with Metta


After reading this thread last night I had this contemplation of manomaya kaya. Mindmade body can be in gross physical and subtle astral form and may be conditioned by various degrees of ignorance, clinging and grasping to form and formless. I was also wondering about enlightened astral or golden white light body (free from entrenched ignorance, defilements and unskillful actions) that transcends ordinary physical death. Wondering now how all these relate to Mahayana-Vajrayana ideas of Sambhogakaya and Rainbow body…?

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