A friend who practices yoga said this to me: “While I’m doing yoga, I really get a sense that ‘I’ am not my body.”
The great question (or one great question) is: “What am I?” We are not expected to answer this question with words. As part of our practice, the answer is only: “I don’t know.” After some time of sitting with this question, it’s quite clear that you are not your body. That’s easy. Then we need to sit with our awareness, consciousness, and Western concepts of the soul.
T’ung-Li says, “The Buddha’s three bodies are like a reflection on sunlit water. The incarnated body is the reflection. The reward body is the sunlight. And the real body is the water. Here, the Buddha tells Subhuti that if he wants to see the water, he needs to look past the reflection and the sunlight.”
(From The Diamond Sutra, tr. Red Pine, 2001, p.109.)
This idea of the three bodies of the Buddha is new to me, but basically, the “incarnated body” (the reflection) is the one we all know about, the physical body. The “reward body” (the sunlight) is a spiritual body that enlightened beings have. The “real body” — or the “dharma body” (the water) — is the true body of us all.