Amida Buddha: Always With Us

A young woman going through hard times began to ask Amida Buddha for help. Suddenly, in her mind’s eye, she saw two sets of footprints side-by-side on a sandy pathway.

Immediately, her spirits lifted because she interpreted this to mean that Amida Buddha was with her and was walking beside her. Then the picture changed…

She now saw the footprints located in a vast desert wilderness, and instead of two sets of footprints, there was only one. Why was Amida no longer beside her?

As despair settled back over her, she began to cry. Then the inner voice of Amida Buddha softly spoke and said, “I have not left you. The one set of footprints is mine. You see, I am carrying you through the wilderness.“

(I paraphrased this common story as a Buddhist version.)

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Original poem here: Footprints In The Sand - Poem by Mary Stevenson : Pearls Of Wisdom

Do you believe that Amida Buddha is like a personal God?

There is no creator in Buddhism, since the universe has always existed in some form, and there’s no “judge” other than the law of karma.

Amida Buddha is symbolic of the Dharmakaya or the Buddha-nature in all things, rather than a personal god. This can be found in The Essential Shinran by Rev. Alfred Bloom:

Now lets compare this to what the Buddha is more likely to have said:

By oneself is evil done;
by oneself is one defiled.
By oneself is evil left undone;
by oneself is one made pure.
Purity and impurity depend on oneself;
no one can purify another.

and

  1. Walking upon this path you will make an end of suffering. Having discovered how to pull out the thorn of lust, I make known the path.
  2. You yourselves must strive; the Buddhas only point the way. Those meditative ones who tread the path are released from the bonds of Mara.

*from Dhammapada

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We can make other paraphrases too:

Nibbāna
which is like heaven
hallowed be that name
may that kingdom come
in this life as in parinibbāna
may I have the sustenance in this day to achieve it
may my transgressions not grow roots
and the transgressions of others not come to fruition
may I not be lead into temptation
may I be delivered from (my) evil.

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So Amida Buddha to you is just a symbol, and not an actual presence or entity?

Amida is the abiding presence of Buddha-nature in all things and beings. Many Zen and Tibetan priests/teachers have taught just this.

I assume you are making a point with humor?

Cultural appropriation seems like greed and extreme attachment to a sense of identity, to me; that would mean they are far from harmless, to one 's life, to others, to Sangha, to Dhamma…

That was not cultural appropriation, thank you very much.

@Coemgenu No, sorry, it was not; i included a more general comment in post started by a reply. Yours was humorous to me, but a fair extrapolation of reusing Mary Stevenson’s story and other Christian stories in attempt to attract people to Buddhism. (Which i think is not a good idea.)

No offense intended, please accept my apology.

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No offence given, none taken.

I didn’t see it as an attempt to bring some to Buddhism, I just saw it as a retelling of a story.

Also right, i overstepped by assuming/guessing the intention of the OP. Sorry, @Kensho . I spent too many years around proselytizing Christians, some of whom would do or use anything in efforts to convert others. I projected from old experience.

I’m just going to be quiet now!

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You don’t have to be quiet here. You can keep posting if you want. We were just sharing divergent opinions.

All things? How is the potential for enlightenment ( Buddha-nature ) present in rocks and water and such?

“Abiding presence” sounds like some sort of essence.