Sword and serpent: the failure of many the path of the serpent leads to nirvana. It goes from material to spiritual, manifest to unmanifest. It is the path self-realization, and introspection. The path of the sword leads to new Jerusalem. It's hilt is in nirvana, it's tip in samsara. It is the path of divine manifestation.
the problem western religions are of the path of the sword. But here in Buddhism many follow the path of the serpent, they seek to leave samsara and manifestation to arrive at nirvana. This is wrong, for the buddha dwells in both samsara, and nirvana. We must walk in the middle path, between the path of the serpent, and the path of the sword. The enlightened individual dwells in samsara, and nirvana. There must be a union between manifest, and unmanifest. There must be balance, yin, and yang.