But recently I was talking to someone and he commented that your inner child can’t be your true Buddha nature because your inner child is naive. He may be unburdened by what he has yet to learn, but he is naive, and therefore can’t be true Buddha nature.
I meditated on this question and came to the following realization. In line with the teachings of Zen Master Bankei as related in the book, The Unborn, we are born with our unborn Buddha mind totally realized and formed. It is thus all-knowing.
Which indeed makes sense since Buddha mind does not learn through experience. That is how the ego-mind learns. And that is why the poem “Affirming Faith in Mind” says that when the mind is one with the way and true faith pervades the mind, “all’s self-revealing, void, and clear without exerting power of mind.” Buddha mind is intuitive or instinctive; it knows without the use of thought.
It is often said of very young children that they instinctively know who they can trust. That is a facility that is not a function of their experience. That is a function of their unborn Buddha mind which is fully formed and all-knowing.
A child’s naivete shows when their ego mind is engaged, such when a child is enticed by candy or other things it desires. In the classic way of ego-mind, the child will go where the sweet is offered if it has not yet learned not to trust strangers.
This statement does not contradict the former statement about a child’s instinctive knowledge regarding whom to trust. Instead it says that, as with adults, when the ego mind arises, it often makes no difference what Buddha mind says; if its roots have not been watered, it’s voice is overwhelmed by the stronger power of desire.
So I return to visualize my true Buddha nature as that toddler.