Day 5 Faith in Self, Faith in Method, Faith in Dharma (page 226-227)

The sun may turn cold and the moon may turn hot.

But the demons cannot destroy the true teaching.

When an elephant marches gloriously forward,

How can a praying mantis bar its way? 

We should have confidence in the Dharma, and we should be willing to do anything to protect it, even though there may be external forces trying to keep us from our practice. External forces may be powerful enough to cool the sun and heat the moon, but determined practitioners do not let them interfere with their practice. Here, on this retreat, we have only hot weather, sirens and firecrackers to distract us. They should not be problems. If you are ready to give up your life for the Dharma, if even the fearsome iron wheel cannot deter you, how can any external force disturb your practice?

The sudden enlightenment teaching is indestructible. Outer path practitioners and Buddhists of the gradual teaching may claim there is no such thing as sudden enlightenment, but criticism cannot destroy the Mahayana sudden enlightenment teaching. External forces that attempt to undermine sudden enlightenment teaching or fetter a determined practitioner are comparable to a praying mantis trying to bar the passage of a marching elephant.

There is a story behind this analogy, dating back to the Spring and Autumn Period of China, several centuries before Christ. A king, riding in a chariot, noticed a praying mantis standing on its hind legs trying to block the wheel of his vehicle. He said, “How can such a small creature stop my chariot? It has no idea how powerless it is.” Outer path and Hinayana practitioners may snipe at Ch’an teachings, but they are not even remotely capable of overthrowing Ch’an Dharma.

— The Sword of Wisdom by Master Sheng-Yen (page 226-227)

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