“I’ve lost my horse! Where’s my horse?!” you ask everyone whilst you’re riding on the horse.
This is an analogy for our Buddha Nature. We think that we’ve lost it, so we go around everywhere in the world to search for it and ask everyone else where we can find it.
This is like the search for enlightenment. We think that enlightenment is “out there” in the world of the senses.
But it’s our Buddha Nature that gives us our awareness. It is the Buddho, the “One who knows” – that which is aware – inside of us. It is the knower – that which knows.
So we are USING our awareness right this moment – so we’re using our Buddha Nature right this moment. But we don’t realize it. In the Shurangama Sutra, the Buddha says that we use our own Buddha Nature to the end of our days and yet remain unaware of it.
So what is this awareness that we have? What is that which is aware?
If we ask others, to help us find our awareness – they can point physically here and there and everywhere in the world – but it wouldn’t be our awareness. It would just be an “object of” awareness – something upon which the awareness lands upon – much like how light lands upon a surface and gets reflected to our eyes. Our awareness is like that light.