The word zhenshen, which literally means "true body," is occasionall frequently-met in Buddhist literature. At first glance its meaning straightforward, possibly equatable with dharmakaya, because the chara was commonly used in Chinese Buddhist vocabulary in such words as zh (paramarthasatya), zhenruo (tathata) and zhenshi (tathatva or tattva), the connotation of the ultimateness. But its actual usage is more co multifarious, as we see for instance in such expressions as zhens (zhenshen relics) and zhenshen shijia (sakyamuni of-or as-zhenshen paper examines the usage and diverse significances of zhenshen in Buddhist literature. An overview of various works in the Chinese Buddhist canon reveal dominant usages of zhenshen: 1) one as a term related to the theory Buddha`s body, and 2) one as an epithet for sheli, physical remain Buddha or a saint. In the first usage, it first appears in the Daji Chengshi lun translated by Kumara.jiva (early 4th century) among extant translations of Buddhist scriptures from Sanskrit. In these texts it contrast with huashen, apparently indicating nirmanakaya, and seems to h a substitute for dharmakaya in the twofold body system, more ordinarily as fashen or faxingshen, particularly in the Dajidu Jun. A similar usag in other texts such as Hebu jin`guangming jing (by Jna.nayaas), Jin`g zuishengwang jing (by Yijing), Daban nieban jing (by Dharmaksema), Huayen (by iksananda) and Shu wujiu cheng jing (by `uanzang). In the She da Jun (by Buddhasena) and a few other texts, however, zhenshen appears i of dharmakaya in the threefold-body system against baoshen and yingshen. This usage was followed by Chinese commentators, and thus as early as Baoliang cites Shengliang`s remarks on twofold bodies, zhenshen and yin his Daban nieban jing jijie. But a more remarkable opinion, which seems exerted profound influence on the understanding of this concept amo Chinese, was expressed by Huiyuan of Sui (523-92). In his Dasheng yi where he most elaborately expounds his ideas, Huiyuan, citing the Jin`g jing, defines zhenshen as combining both fashen and baoshen in cont yingshen in the threefold-body system. The account of Jin`gungming Paramrtha Huiyuan cites actually does not refer to the word zhenshen relevant context, nor does the sutra itself seem to deliver a concept s Thus this definition seems more likely Huiyuan`s own interpretation. A is not clear that such interpretation was initiated by Huiyuan, it se been fairly well known in the Buddhist scholarly circle by the end of century. A slightly younger contemporary of Huiyuan, the Tiandai mast who would have been most influential in the contemporaneous Buddhist seems to have understood the term in a similar sense. The Vijaaptimatr Kuiji`s account is quite similar to Huiyuan`s even in vocabulary. How understanding of zhenshen in the sense closer to the dharinakaya in th twofold―body system seems to have persisted as well, as we see in the Jizang. Chengguan of the Avatanbaka school offers a slightly differen with an alternative definition of zhenshen as dharmakaya in the thre system. Besides, zhenshen was occasionally used for sakyamuni Buddha-would be normally regarded as nirmanakaya-in contrast to nirmana bu magically created by akyamuni himself or simply in the meaning of body." The earliest appearance of the second usage, which equates zhensh relics, is found in the Jin`guangming jing translated by Dharmaksema dearly fifth century. In comparison with the particular passage with the equivalent parts in other translations, it is evident that the Sanskrit original contained no word in any .way connectable to zhenshen, which was simply an insertion by Dharmaksema and his assistants. Zhenshen in this context seems to have been used as an honorific prefix to sheli with the assertion of its authenticity, while it was also commonly used without sheli as a substitute for the latter. This usagn, however, is quite rarely met in translations of Indian texts or Chinese Buddhist literature until the tenth century, when it seems to have been firmly established as we witness in the Zudang ji, the Song Gaoseng zhuan and later on in the Fozu tongji. By this time we begin to see another-but related-usage, in which zhenshen designates a mummified portrait of monks. The present author, being an art historian, attempted to examine the concept of zhenshen for its possible ramifications in Buddhist art ordinarily understood as a term combining dharmakaya and sambhogakaya i threefold-body system could have been quite useful and even favorable Buddhist imagery in that it does not reject the ultimate significance forms unlike the more strict and abstract dharmakaya. Its true significa discussion of Buddhist art would have to be answered in further detail explorations.