Those new to Buddhism, and even old veterans, are under the assumption that the Buddha or Tathagata was with a human form. Some might even envision some old guy walking around India named “Buddha” but this is taking things too literally. Such people don’t understand that according to the Mahavastu, Tathagatas are born with spiritual bodies (manomayarupa). In this respect, Buddha really means one who is awake to their spiritual body, or the same, pure Mind which is unconditioned.
Just because ordinary people are not in touch with their own spiritual bodies doesn’t mean such bodies don’t actually exist. They do! It is somewhat like the relationship between a radio signal and the radio. Let’s imagines sentient beings are this pure invisible radio signal. But all they see are the parts of the radio such as the antenna, the circuit board, resistors, capacitors and a speaker to name a few items. Because of the fineness and purity of the radio signal, our sentient spiritual radio body remains unseen. Only gross parts are detected.
With this somewhat crude radio analogy in mind, when we internally examine our gross body of the five skandhas consisting of material shape, feeling, perception, volitional formations and consciousness we don’t see anything else except this. But then the Buddha tells us these skandhas, just named, have to be transcended which is basically to say, using our previous radio analogy: You, the signal, are not the radio parts—stop identifying with the radio!
I realize that what I am saying is not easy for some to get their minds around because they are unknowingly entrenched materialists. This is a problem, by the way, which many Western Buddhists face. They don’t realize that materialism has no place in Buddhism. The universe is not a material universe. Modern science has no idea what the universe is made of. So Buddhist need to prepare themselves for a profound journey into the world of the immaterial. It is what is interfacing with their carnal bodies. They can’t see it. It is only through dhyâna that it is reached—awakening to the signal.