Amida Buddha: The Personification of Ultimate Reality

Author: matthewsatori

As the personified form of Suchness or formless reality, Amida must also share the essential attributes of the supreme reality of Dharmakaya itself; namely, ‘eternity, bliss, purity, immutability and freedom’[24] to quote Asvaghosha…

Amida, who is inseparable from Suchness, is described as Infinite Light because there is nowhere where his light does not shine; nothing which it cannot penetrate. This means more than just the fact that all beings are embraced. It also means that all existence – ‘plants, trees and land’ as Shinran would say – is the manifestation of Amida as ‘conditioned Suchness’ (to use Suzuki’s term) and equally capable of revealing his presence within samsara to those whose spiritual eye has been informed by shinjin (sincere trust in Amida)…

The ultimate reality in Mahayana Buddhism is, therefore, seen to be a fully dynamic reality, ceaselessly reaching out to all sentient beings and permeating or ‘perfuming’ (as Asvaghosha would say) their hearts and minds with its blissful and liberating presence. It is not simply a static, unattainable entity which stands aloof from the creatures that are its very expression and raison d’ètre. As Shugaku Yamabe has pointed out[25]:

In short, out of the Absolute Buddha, or Dharmakaya, has the Buddha of salvation appeared and naturally, the spirit of Amida is in deep and intimate communion with the Absolute itself. And on our side, as we are also sharers in the being of the Absolute Buddha, we and Amida must be said to be one in substance, only differing in functions.



Author: matthewsatori

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