Thanks for your comments, Ryoto
Yeah, I am baffled by Shin practicers who deny Amida's reality. Of course, Amida is
a symbol, but it doesn't end there. Similarly, Jesus is a symbol (of God's love, compassion, wisdom, salvific power, etc.), but it doesn't end there. For most Christians, Jesus is - must be
- real in a "spiritually substantive" way that no metaphor or analogy can satisfy.
I suspect that, with the waning in the West of God as a Creator-Sky Father external to the world, some Shin folks want also to "de-deify" Amida.
Problem is, though, Amida is not in the first place a deity; not a creator; not an intervener in the physical universe(s). Amida is not God, or a god. The God of supernatural theism is being reduced to analogical/symbolic components, but this process cannot apply to Amida, since Amida is not God: rather, Amida is Buddha
As a Buddha, Amida does not carry the "flaws" said to be inherent in the Western creator-god (inept world-manager, unfair punisher, incompetent world-maintainer, vengeful, petty, clumsy cosmic judge, etc., etc.).
Since Amida is not God, he cannot be praised or blamed for the world's condition.
Since Amida is not God, he cannot be held up as a stern judge and "End Times" destroyer of worlds.
Since Amida is not God, he cannot be made responsible for the colossal, samsaric waste and pain of the evolutionary process. Amida - nor any other Buddha - can be the creator of samsara
Thus, the current Western critiques of God cannot be applied to Amida Buddha. It therefore follows that Shin folks, who should, with all other Buddhists, realize that a Buddha is not
God, ought also to realize that their
own particular Buddha, Amida Buddha, cannot be deconstructed along the lines of what is currently happening with the Western God. That's just common sense.
But an even deeper example of common sense - which is oddly and tragically missing from Shin deconstructionism - is the simple fact that Amida is a real Buddha, and that real salvation issues from the real "Working" of the real Amida. A symbol at best is only a finger pointing toward Amida. Deconstruct Amida down to a symbol-finger, and the so-called practicer is left with nothing but a narcissistic self-creation. What a lovely finger they have invented, gleaming with the sheen of modernism. What a lovely gesturing hand, referentially pointing to ... nothing. How sad that the real Amida has been exchanged for some kind of insentient "cosmic dharma process", and how sad that so many people seem to be buying into that error.