Westerners often get confused by the concept of Other-Power in Pure Land Buddhism, our absolute trust in Amida Buddha, rather than in our own efforts, to attain Buddhahood. They see it as too similar to a theistic god.
It helps to look at the concepts of non-self and dependent origination. The notion of myself as a separate self is just a delusion of the ego, since our continued existence is dependent on innumerable causes and conditions:
If the ultimate goal of Buddhist practice is the realization of non-self, otherwise known as Nirvana, how can we attain it through self-power? This is where the Other-Power of Amida, the Buddha-nature in all things, comes into play:
Rather than a theistic god who stands above us, the relationship between Amida Buddha and the individual who calls on his name is non-duality. This is because our Buddha-nature is inseparable from Amida’s.
The only difference between Amida’s Buddha-nature and our own is that Amida’s is radiant and pure, while ours is obscured by the ego. Reciting the Nembutsu is an expression of non-duality between Amida and ourselves.
Reciting the Nembutsu, Namu-Amida-Butsu, is also the spontaneous expression of gratitude for Amida’s profound gift of assuring our future Buddhahood, which Amida has provided due to no merit of our own.
At the end of this life, when freed of all human limitations, we will immediately attain Buddhahood in the Pure Land, the realm of Nirvana, for the sake of all other beings. This is the unsurpassed intent of Amida’s boundless compassion.