It is all right to say that Other-power does everything by itself. We just let it accomplish its work. Nevertheless, we must become conscious of Other-power doing its work in us. Unless we are conscious of Amida's doing work in us, we shall never be saved. We can never be sure of the fact that we are born in the Pure Land and have attained our enlightenment. To acquire this consciousness, we must exhaust our efforts. Amida may be standing and beckoning us to come to the Other Shore, but we cannot see Amida until we have done all we can do. Self-power is not what is really needed to cross the stream of birth and death, but Amida will extend his helping hand only when we realize that our self-power is of no account.
Since we cannot achieve the end of our endeavors on the path of enlightenment, Amida's help must be recognized. We must become conscious of it. In fact, recognition comes only after we have strained all our efforts in crossing the stream by ourselves. We realize the inefficacy of self-power only when we try to make use of it and are made aware of its worthlessness. Other-power is all important, but this truth is known only by those who have striven by means of self-power to attempt the impossible.
The realization of the worthlessness of self-power may also be Amida's work. In fact it is, but until we achieve self-awareness we do not realize that Amida has been handling all this for us and in us. Therefore, striving is a prerequisite of any realization. Spiritually speaking, everything is finally from Amida, but we must always remember that we are relative beings. As such, we cannot understand things unless we first try to do our best on this plane of relativity. Crossing from the relative plane to the absolute plane of Other-power may be logically impossible, but it appears to be impossible only before we have tried everything on this plane.
May this benefit all we self-power strainers! How wonderful that there's another option when we feel stuck at a dead end, surrounded by our countless toys of self-power that time and time again have proven useless.