For discussion of Buddha Dharma, including teachings common to all Buddhist schools, such as the Four Noble Truths, Dependent Origination, etc., that is not specific to Mahayana or Therevada
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" If a sage's teeth are knocked loose and he spits them out on the ground, it won't rain for three years.
Let's remember the story:
Dharma Master Shen Guang said, "Hey! What did you come here for? Don't you even know what Sutra lectures are all about? Where did you come from?"
"I came here from India."
"You come from India, and I am here explaining the Buddhist scriptures. Don't people explain Buddhist scriptures in India? You don't even seem to know."
Patriarch Bodhidharma replied, "The Sutra lectures in India explain the wordless true Sutra. The Sutra you lecture on here have words."
Dharma Master Shen Guang asked, "What is the wordless true Sutra?"
Patriarch Bodhidharma answered, "The Sutra I lecture is wordless. It is just a piece of blank paper. As to the Sutras you lecture, the inked areas are words, and the blank areas are paper. Why are you explaining them?"
Dharma Master Shen Guang replied, "I lecture on the Sutras to teach people how to end birth and death!"
Having Not Yet Ended Birth and Death, His Annoyance Turns to Rage
Patriarch Bodhidharma said, "Since you teach people how to end birth and death, tell me, how does one end birth and death? In the Sutra you are lecturing, the inked areas are words, and the blank areas are paper. What do you use to teach people how to end birth and death? Have you ended your own birth and death?"
Hearing that Dharma Master Shen Guang was speechless and thought to himself, "The things this Indian says are outlandish. Is he a manifestation of a demon king? Otherwise, how could he be slandering the Triple Jewel like that?" Thereupon, his annoyance turned to rage, and he lost his temper, "I'm going to try you out, you demon king!"
Wah! You see, his lectures caused flowers to rain down from the heavens and golden lotuses to well up from the earth, and still he lost his temper! That's why I said Buddhism seemed to exist in China, and yet it did not. What happened when he lost his temper? What happened when he got angry? He grabbed his weapon. What was it? His string of recitation beads. His beads weren't lightweight like these "stars and moon Bodhi" beads of mine. His recitation beads were made of iron! They were hard and durable. His recitation beads were designed to be a weapon to be used in case he encountered weird entities, demons, ghosts, wolves, reptiles, tigers, or panthers. He could conveniently grab his recitation beads and attack. This time, encountering Patriarch Bodhidharma, who had dared to challenge him so, his wrath was extreme, like a combination of tidal wave, avalanche, and earthquake. As he whipped out his beads, he snapped, "You are slandering the Dharma!" and cracked Patriarch Bodhidharma across the mouth.
He Swallows Them with the Blood
Patriarch Bodhidharma was caught unprepared because he never expected that Dharma Master Shen Guang would hit him. Although certified sages can penetrate others' thoughts, the Patriarch did not reflect in advance on what the Dharma Master might do. Although Patriarch Bodhidharma had some skill in the martial arts, he was caught off guard. It never occurred to him that the monk would make such a vicious attack, that being unable to reply, he would resort to brute force. As a result, the blow broke off two of Patriarch Bodhidharma's teeth.
What did Patriarch Boddhidharma do about the two broken teeth? Well, he was a sage, and there's a legend about the teeth of a patriarch--a certified sage--and what happens if they get broken and he spits them out onto the ground. It's said that if a sage's teeth are knocked loose and he spits them out on the ground, it won't rain for three years.
Patriarch Bodhidharma thought, "Ai! If it doesn't rain for three years, just imagine how many people will starve! I have come to China to save beings, not to kill them!" And so Patriarch Bodhidharma did not let his teeth fall to the ground. Instead, he swallowed them, just as if he were eating a pancake. Well, pancakes aren't that hard--it was more like eating a bone! He swallowed them and made his exit.
THEREFORE, IN CHINA, THERE IS A SAYING THAT CAME FROM THAT INCIDENT, "IF SOMEONE KNOCKS OUT THE TEETH OF AN ARHAT, THE ARHAT SWALLOWS THEM"
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