The Buddha’s last words were to seek no external refuge. In reciting the Name, NAMU-AMIDA-BUTSU, this is not a petitionary prayer to some external deity. It is instead the means to awakening the Buddha-nature within:
Buddhist authors in late-medieval China and Vietnam frequently describe Pure Land Buddhism’s practice of reciting the Buddha’s name in terms of three levels:
Mundane, regular level: reciting the Buddha’s name to achieve rebirth in the Pure Land. Middle-level: reciting the Buddha’s name to “bring out” the Buddha within the practitioner. High-level: reciting the Buddha’s name with the understanding that there is no Buddha outside the mind.