Buddha nature is also referred to as Buddha-dhātu, a Sanskrit word meaning ‘Buddha Element’ or ‘Buddha Principle.’ It is the seed potential for enlightenment that all beings possess. This enlightenment reveals the true nature of all beings as Buddha nature.
It is the ground of your being and the inherent nature of all manifest things. Knowledge of Buddha nature is your birthright because it is 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 grows.
“The Buddha nature [is] identical with transcendental reality. The unity of the Buddha with everything that exists.” – Master Hsing Yun, Being Good: Buddhist Ethics for Everyday Life
Buddha nature is pure consciousness and is the realisation of the non-self, or emptiness. No-thing, no thought, but the witness of all things and thoughts. It is effortlessly aware, clear and spacious.
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
Everyone can become a Buddha. Even you!
See also: Three Marks of Existence