When the universe originated, it was boundless and everything was silent. There was no such thing as length of time or size of space. There was no shape and form, no interior and exterior, no birth and death. This is the dharmakaya (dharma body) Buddha. The true meaning of the dharmakaya Buddha is the concept of a universe that does not perish. This concept of a universe that does not perish is also called “dharmadhatutathata (dharma realm true-suchness),” which is Samantabhadra Tathagata (Adharma Buddha).
However, the dharmakaya Buddha only expresses the concept of the true essence of the universe; that is, not being born and not dying, not coming and not going. The dharmakaya Buddha has no form and does not speak. It has no way to communicate any meaning, such as meaning through images or meaning through language. Because of such karmic conditions, the formless dharmakaya Buddha generated the first sambhogakaya Buddha with form. This sambhogakaya Buddha with form transformed into Vajrasattva and other nirmanakayas.
In order to make a distinction between those three, the dharmakaya Buddha was named Adharma Buddha, the sambhogakaya Buddha was named Dorje Chang Buddha, and the nirmanakaya was named Vajrasattva. Actually, Samantabhadra Tathagata is Adharma Buddha and also is Dorje Chang Buddha. In truth, there are not two Buddhas. These distinctions resulted from there being a dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, and nirmanakaya.
Based on this dharma, Samantabhadra Tathagata did not directly incarnate. Even the ancient Buddha Dipankara and Vajrasattva were the nirmanakayas of Dorje Chang Buddha. Sakyamuni Buddha was a disciple of Dipankara Buddha. However, many sects list Samantabhadra Tathagata as the first Buddha who began all the lineages in the dharmadhatu. This way of thinking is actually not erroneous. That is because although Samantabhadra Tathagata is a dharmakaya without form and has no way of speaking, the origin lies with this dharmakaya from which the sambhogakaya Dorje Chang Buddha manifested. This sambhogakaya Buddha was the first one to spread the Buddha-dharma and save living beings in the three spheres of existence so that they would become holy beings.
Dorje Chang Buddha is also called Buddha Vajradhara or Ruler of the Vajra Beings. In the entire universe, Dorje Chang Buddha is the first Buddha with form and is the highest Buddha. That is, the highest leader of Buddhism in the entire universe came into being in the form of Dorje Chang Buddha. It was Dorje Chang Buddha who began transmitting dharma and saving living beings in the dharmadhatu. As a result, Buddhism was born and the Buddha-dharma began spreading.
The teachings of Dorje Chang Buddha led to many disciples becoming Buddhas. The five most famous among such disciples are Aksobhya Buddha of the east, Ratnasambhava Buddha of the south, Amitabha Buddha of the west, Amoghasiddhi Buddha of the north, and Vairocana Buddha of the center. There are also many other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas among the original disciples of Dorje Chang Buddha. Dorje Chang Buddha was the one who initially propagated the Buddha-dharma in the dharmadhatu. Dorje Chang Buddha is the supreme leader of all of Buddhism in the dharmadhatu.
The incarnation of Dorje Chang Buddha is different from the incarnation of any other Buddha. Such an incarnation is a primordial manifestation of the existence of Buddha-dharma. In each world of living beings, there can be at any one time only one incarnation of Dorje Chang Buddha, who manifests or expresses the existence of the true dharma. There will not be a second incarnation of Dorje Chang Buddha in the same age or era. Only after the first incarnation of Dorje Chang Buddha leaves the world can the second incarnation be born based on karmic conditions relating to the good fortune of living beings. For example, the holy and venerable Vimalakirti, who was the second Dorje Chang Buddha, took birth in this earthly realm in the past. The third Dorje Chang Buddha, H.H. Wan Ko Yeshe Norbu, took birth in this earthly realm more than two thousand years after Vimalakirti left it and only when karmic conditions relating to the good fortune of living beings had matured. Furthermore, according to the formal pronouncement of H.H. Mah
avairocana Tathagata Dharma King Zunsheng, the fourth Dorje Chang Buddha will descend into this world five thousand years from now.