The point isn’t whether Amida Buddha literally exists or does not exist as an external being. The point is whether or not reciting the name of Amida Buddha brings one closer to realizing our true Buddha-self.
This passage from Sekkei Harada’s The Essence of Zen summarizes the ultimate point of Pure Land practice:
During the forty-nine years that Shakyamuni Buddha expounded the Dharma, he never once said, “Believe in me.” Rather he always said, “Believe in the Dharma. Believe in yourself.” This is something you must believe resolutely. If you don’t, the objective of your practice will not be clear…
The practice of Amida Butsu, or Amitabha, is widespread in Japan. This involves chanting “Namu Amida Butsu” while prostrating oneself. In Zen Buddhism, a person who chants “Namu Amida Butsu” is already Amida Butsu. The object toward which prostrations are made, namely, Amida Butsu, and the person making the prostrations are one…
If you have made the resolution to believe, then it isn’t good for the belief to remain. To believe means that there is someone (“you”) who is believing. In other words, if something is truly believed in, then the belief must disappear. I would like you to understand clearly that you must let go of that which is believed in.
The condition of pure belief is absolute. It is a condition where doubts and belief in a dualistic sense have disappeared. Belief and doubt or belief and disbelief are, in the end, the ideas of people. The condition where belief and doubt have disappeared is what we call “The Dharma,” or “The Way,” or “Now.“
The ultimate purpose of Pure Land practice is not belief and disbelief in a dualistic sense, but instead to realize Amida Buddha as our “true self” (Buddha-nature).
Symbolic language has been used to convey a higher truth from the beginning of Buddhism: