"To examine one’s face one has only to look in a clear mirror, and to understand the rise and fall of a nation’s fortunes, there is no mirror more revealing than that provided by the Buddhist teachings.
When one examines the various Mahayana sutras such as the Benevolent Kings Sutra, Golden Light Sutra, Sovereign Kings Sutra, Protection Sutra, Nirvana Sutra, and Lotus Sutra, one sees that there are cases in which, by adhering to Buddhist teachings, a nation may prosper and its people enjoy long life, and others in which, while likewise adhering to Buddhist teachings, the nation is brought to ruin and its people’s lives are cut short. It is comparable to the case of water, which is capable of floating a boat, but is also capable of capsizing it. Or it is like the five kinds of grain, which at times nourish human life but at other times may injure it.
Little waves and a slight wind can hardly do harm to a large ship, but high waves and strong winds can easily overturn a small ship. Similarly, slight irregularities in the secular rule of the sovereign are like little waves and a slight wind and can do little harm to a great nation or a great man. But errors in the application of the Buddhist teachings, like high waves and strong winds that overturn a small ship, can without doubt bring about the destruction of the nation."