There is no Buddha apart from the mind…


Unlike a theistic religion, with a god separate from man, the relationship between Amida Buddha and the individual reciting his name is that of nonduality: 

“Students today can’t get anywhere” -you students fail to arrive at true insight- “What ails you?” What in the world is the source of this illness? “Lack of faith in yourself is what ails you.“ 

Linji does not use the term "faith” in the sense of ordinary faith in an object external to us. Nor is he saying that we should have faith in the Self. The lack of faith is your failure to awaken to the Self that is presenting itself here and now. 

In searching outside ourselves, we tend to think of the Buddha as something transcendent. When we are told to seek Buddha within rather than without, we can understand this admonition to mean that there is no Buddha apart from the Self. We must awaken to this. 

We must realize that, as expressed in the statement, “All beings have the Buddha-nature,” the Buddha is no “other,” no transcendent entity to be sought externally. Rather, the Buddha is the true “I." 

The True Self is the Buddha, and there is no Buddha-nature apart from our True Self. Therefore, we must believe in the Self that is the Buddha.

The above passages are from the modern Zen master, Shin’ichi Hisamatsu. Please compare it to these words from Shinran Shonin… 

67 The Commentary on the Treatise states:

To aspire to be born in the Pure Land of happiness (the realm of Nirvana) is necessarily to awaken the mind aspiring for supreme enlightenment.

68 Further, it states:

This mind attains Buddhahood means that the mind becomes Buddha; this mind is itself Buddha means that there is no Buddha apart from the mind. This is like the relationship of fire and wood: fire arises from wood; it cannot exist apart from the wood. Because it cannot exist apart from the wood, it consumes the wood. The wood, on the other hand, is consumed by the fire; it becomes the fire.

69 The [Master of] Kuang-ming temple states:

This mind attains Buddhahood. This mind is itself Buddha. There is no Buddha apart from this mind.

When we recite the Nembutsu, Namu-Amida-Butsu, that is an expression of Buddha-nature, rather than petitioning a divine being apart from ourselves.

It is only on the side of our deluded ego that Amida is separate from ourselves. The relationship between Amida, who is Dharma-body itself, and the myriad of beings is absolute non-duality.