Buddha nature is your true nature. This may be hard to believe at times, but even a tiny glimpse of reality during awakening will reveal the truth of it. Enlightenment reveals the true nature of all beings as Buddha nature.
It’s also called Buddha-dhātu, which means ‘Buddha Element’ or ‘Buddha Principle.’ This is the seed potential for enlightenment that all sentient beings possess, so Buddha nature is the ground of your being and the inherent nature of all manifest things.
In Being Good: Buddhist Ethics for Everyday Life, Master Hsing Yun explains:
“The Buddha nature [is] identical with transcendental reality. The unity of the Buddha with everything that exists.”
Buddha nature is pure consciousness and the realisation of the non-self, or emptiness. No-thing and no thought, but the witness of all things and thoughts. It is effortlessly aware, clear and spacious. Luminous emptiness or bodhicitta.
Everything arises from this luminous empty ground of being. Buddha nature is the true nature of reality and Being. The entire universe is an expression of Buddha nature.
“Therefore, the very impermanency of grass and tree, thicket and forest is the Buddha nature. The very impermanency of men and things, body and mind, is the Buddha nature. Nature and lands, mountain and rivers, are impermanent because they are the Buddha nature. Supreme and complete enlightenment, because it is impermanent, is the Buddha nature.” – Heinrich Dumoulin, Zen Buddhism, Vol. 2: A History
Knowledge of Buddha nature is your birthright because it’s who you are at the most fundamental level. All beings possess it in seed form, which blossoms into awareness with practise. As you build compassion and wisdom, so your realisation of Buddha nature will grow.
Everyone can be a Buddha. Even you!
See also: Three Marks of Existence