What I’m about to say may be quite shocking to some people, perhaps even to many Buddhists. And because it is shocking, and true, I’m going to say it. Please grab something if you feel the least bit unsteady.
Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are not clones from a mold.
They aren’t drones. They don’t look identical or sound identical or have the same sorts of things to say or think or teach or do. In the Flower Adornment Sutra, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are distinguished from each other by being “styled” in wildly disparate aspects. One may be skilled in demonstrating the dharma via mastering the smells of the world, another by great magical powers, another by greatly unusual forms of making music, and it just gets weirder and weirder from there.
The reason this very special sutra demonstrates the importance of the unique is because each Buddha and Bodhisattva gets to be what they are by virtue of (not despite) their unique circumstances of delusion. Without them, they could never have attained any level of realization of the Way at all. So, your delusion is enlightenment, unrealized. And when it is realized, there you have a special “style” of enlightenment–that is, yours. You might even call it your Bodhisattva “flavor”.
The Supreme Gourmet appreciates all styles and flavors in context of what they are for those who have them. However you look at it, we’re all moving towards the same goal, though all of us originate from a separate point and many of us will take numerous detours along the way, sometimes, even seeming to go backward. We’re all moving towards wearing the big chef’s hat, though by the time we wear the hat, we won’t be “us” any longer. We will be beyond who we are, which still includes who we were. Kind of a good deal.
Whatever your style, it matters that it is yours and uniquely what you feel as you. Without this “home” within, we can’t find the Way. Our personal style is the Way.
So my question today is: What’s your style?