Buddhism is trying to say that in each of us has a 'true nature' but it is obscured by a dense mantle of concepts and worldly mental activity which leads us astray such that we never actually know what this nature is.
Being caught up in this dense mantle of concepts and worldly mental activity is the condition of non-knowledge or avidya. As should be obvious, our true nature is hidden from us, completely, which means its perception cannot arise. For how can true reality arise in a world of illusion which we cling to?
To remedy this, Buddhism wants us to penetrate through the world of illusion which includes our mantle of concepts and worldly mental activity. This would culminate in the direct gnosis of our true nature or similarly, mystic intuition. But the vast majority of human beings have not done so nor do they care to do so for a number of reasons.
Many people I have observed over the recent years, while interested in Zen Buddhism or just plain Buddhism are not where I was in the 1960s when existential questioning was not uncommon which opened the door to religion or philosophy and in my case Zen.
I dare say that was a time that was short lived and soon to become psychologized which then led to the ideology of cultural Marxism which taught us to look at the world through the lens of oppressor and oppressed and with that we shall find the root cause of our suffering. It had no need for existential questioning. This is a far cry from Buddhism.
I am rather pessimistic about this generation which wants, it seems, to go in the direction I rejected in the 1960s. I still see Communist ideology and its various forms as inadequate to the human spirit which tells us almost nothing about ourselves. However, there is a price to pay for going in this direction. The internal locus of control begins to disappear in which, as a consequence, outside forces are to blame for everything.