Nighthawk wrote:Amida Buddha is a real Buddha otherwise the PL path would be pretty useless and there would be no reason to follow it.
That's pretty much it for me, too. Amida is a real Buddha. We non-Buddhas may not have a clear and complete vision of what a real Buddha is. Shin teaches that we can't know that
until, by the working of his grace, we realize Buddhahood in the PL. This is why we have the images of Dharmakara's quest, his instruction by an advanced Buddha, his becoming a bodhisattva and eventually Amida Buddha, as well as painting and statuary depicting him - these give our untransformed, samsaric, human perceptual apparatus something to understand about Amida even in this life. But the invisible Amida is a real Buddha, a transcendent
"being". As such, he is "the Really Real", and as such his working is, in Shinran's words, "inconceivable" for us on this side of the mundane-transcendent divide. He is, however, and at the same time, fully present and fully available in the Nembutsu. He is both "Person" and "Power".
And, of course, he is also "Symbol" in a similar way to Jesus in Christianity. Few Christians would deny that Jesus is a transcendent Person and Power, and they also would not deny that Jesus is a potent symbol as well - prince of peace, good shepherd, light of the world, etc., who is mystically present in the believer's soul.
I think that a similar categorization can be applied to Amida as well: "He" is a real, transcendent Buddha, who is also present in the adherent's heart, by his own arrangement and by his own providence.