Sambhogakaya has also been translated as the “deity dimension”, “body of bliss” (“bliss body”) or “astral body”. Sambhogakaya refers to the luminous form of clear light the Buddhist practitioner attains upon the reaching the highest dimensions of practice. Conversely, it is also considered one of the primary means by which the Dharmakaya is made manifest. Consequently, the Sambhogakaya encompasses “celestial” Buddhas such as Bhaisajyaguru (Medicine Buddha Akshobhya Vajradhara), Vajrayogini Buddha, Heruka Buddha, Amitabha Buddha (Amitayus Vajradharma), etc., as well as advanced Bodhisattvas such as Avalokitesvara, Manjusri, Vajrapani, Samantabhadra, Ksitigarbha, Maitreya, Tara and Akashagarbha. According to various lineage tradition, those skilled in meditation, such as advanced Tibetan Lamas, Rinpoches and Yogis, as well as other highly realized Buddhists, may gain access to the Sambhogakaya and receive direct transmission of the Dharma teachings.
One manifestation of the Sambhogakaya in Tibetan Buddhism is the 'Rainbow Body' or jalus (Tibetan). This is where an advanced practitioner, shortly before death is walled up in a cave or sewn inside a small yurt-like tent. For a period of a week or so after death the practitioners' body transforms into a Sambhogakaya light body leaving behind only hair and nails. One of the many places where the Sambhogakāya body appears is the extra-cosmic realm or Pure Land called Akanishtha|Akaniṣṭha]], that is one of the highest realms of the Śuddhāvāsa devas (Deva means deity.) There are numerous Sambhogakaya realms almost as numerous as Deities in Tibetan Buddhism. These Sambhogakaya realms are known as Buddha Lands (Buddha Fields or Pure Lands).
Namdak rendered by Vajranatha (1991: unpaginated), convey the relationship of the mindstream (Sanskrit: citta santana) of Sambhogakaya that links the Dharmakaya with the Nirmanakaya.<ref>Namdak, Lopon Tenzin (teacher) and Vajranatha (editor) (1991). The Attaining of Buddhahood. Source: ://www.surajamrita.com/bon/buddhahood.html (accessed: Wednesday March 18, 2009)</ref>
In the Chán (禪) (Jp. Zen) tradition, the Sambhogakāya (Chin. 報身↔baoshen, lit. “retribution body”), along with the Dharmakaya and the Nirmanakaya, are given metaphorical interpretations. In the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, Chan Master Huineng describes the Samboghakaya as a state in which the practitioner continually and naturally produces good thoughts:
“Think not of the past but of the future. Constantly maintain the future thoughts to be good. This is what we call the Sambhogakāya.
“Just one single evil thought could destroy the good karma that has continued for one thousand years; and just one single good thought in turn could destroy the evil karma that has lived for one thousand years.
“If the future thoughts are always good, you may call this the Sambhogakāya. The discriminative thinking arising from the Dharmakāya (法身↔fashen “Truth body”) is called the Nirmanakāya (化身↔huashen “transformation body”). The successive thoughts that forever involve good are thus the Sambhogakāya.” (Ch.20)