Shinran Shonin, like T’an-luan, saw Amida Buddha as a upaya-expression of the one Dharmakaya:According to Smartism, supreme reality, Brahman, transcends all of the various forms of personal deity…The Smarta Tradition accepts two concepts of Brahman, which are the saguna Brahman – the Brahman with attributes, and nirguna Brahman – the Brahman without attributes. The nirguna Brahman is the unchanging Reality, however, the saguna Brahman is posited as a means to realizing this nirguna Brahman. The concept of the saguna Brahman is considered in this tradition to be a useful symbolism… A Smarta may choose any saguna deity (istadevata) such as Vishnu, Shiva, Durga, Surya, Ganesha or any other, and this is viewed in Smarta Tradition as an interim step towards realizing the nirguna Brahman and its equivalence to one’s own Atman.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smarta_tr ... na_Brahman
The Dharmakaya and Nirvana are aspects of the same Ultimate Truth, and one could say that Nirvana is the ultimate experience of awakening to the Dharmakaya, or that Dharmakaya is the content of Nirvana.According to T’an-luan, all Buddhas, including Amida, have two bodies (aspects):
1. Dharmakaya of Dharma-nature (ultimate truth) and 2. Dharmakaya of Expediency (upaya, relative truth).
The first is the ultimate, unconditioned reality beyond form, which is equally shared by all Buddhas, while the second is the specific and particular manifestation of each Buddha for the sake of saving sentient beings.
The relation between the two is described as follows:
“From the Dharmakaya of Dharma-nature originates the Dharmakaya of Expediency; through the Dharmakaya of Expediency, the Dharmakaya of Dharma-nature is revealed. These two Dharmakayas are different, but inseparable; they are one but not the same.”…
“Unconditioned Dharmakaya is the body of Dharma-nature. Because Dharma-nature is Nirvanic, Dharmakaya is formless. Because it is formless, there is no form which it cannot manifest.”
http://amida-ji-retreat-temple-romania. ... a-and.html
Shinran, like T’an-luan and Shan-tao, understood the Pure Land as the realm of Nirvana. This is why Shinran described rebirth into the Pure Land as “the birth of non-birth,” just as the Buddha described Nirvana as “the unborn.”
Much like the Hindu scriptures distinguish between Brahman with attributes (relative truth) and Brahman without attributes (Ultimate Truth), the Tao Te Ching distinguishes between the nameless Tao and the Tao that can be named:
Rather than conflicting with each other, the named Tao and the nameless Tao spring from the same ultimate source. The Tao would be entirely unknowable to limited beings such as ourselves without the use of human language, however inadequate it might be.The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao;
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name;
this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.
Please compare the above quote from the Tao Te Ching to the following words of Shinran Shonin:
Amida Buddha and the formless Dharmakaya spring from the same source, but differ in name. Without the name and form of Amida Buddha, the Ultimate Truth of Dharma-body would be inaccessible to unenlightened beings like ourselves.The Supreme Buddha is formless, and because of being formless is called Suchness. The Buddha, when appearing with form, is not called the Supreme Nirvana. In order to make us realize that the true Buddha is formless, it is expressly called Amida Buddha; so I have been taught. Amida Buddha is the medium (relative truth) through which we are made to realize Suchness (Ultimate Truth).