Asuras at the Helm
Somewhere I have a list of Chinese Emperors, and what position or status they had achieved in a past life that gave them enough merit to become the Emperor of China. I sat down with Master Nan and asked him who was this guy, and who was that Emperor. All he would tell me was "heavenly merit," meaning he was previously a heavenly denizen, or "Bodhisattva," or "Asura."
The asuras were always in charge, it seems, when there was lots of killing going on. I remember that only one Emperor was called a "mo-guei," which is the Chinese word for a demon, and the vast majority of rulers were just people who had done enough good deeds to receive a heavenly rebirth and then later, they still retained the merit for enjoying the rulership of a country. They weren’t necessary smart or talented or wise, but simply had accumulated enough good deeds over many lives to finally become a King or Emperor. Bodhisattvas who assumed the leadership helm were rare in this bunch of past Emperors, and if I remember correctly he did identify one Buddha or so.
What I realized from this list is that the country gets the ruler it deserves. Because of the fate or karma of a nation, whoever is to produce that fortune is the one who will attain to the leadership helm. If the nation is to rise, a nation gets a leader who will make it so. If it is destined to fall, it gets a leader who will make it so.
The leader a nation gets is tied in to the karma of the nation, and the karma of a nation is produced by the actions of the nation and its people. As the Old Testament of the Bible rightly records time and again, to change the fate of a nation, a people must repent of their ill ways and return to what is right and just. I speak of how to change one personal fate in White Fat Cow, but here we are speaking of the fate of a group of people or nation. To change the fate of a nation, the best factor to work on is to uplift the national culture. It’s something I touch on briefly in Socrates and the Path to Enlightenment.
The secret I-Ching historical prediction books found in the Beijing Palace have accurately predicted the rise and fall of Chinese dynasties hundreds of years ahead of time because of the fixity of the underlying karma. There is a consequence for the activities of a nation — whether famine, war, plague, pestilence or prosperity production — and there is a timing to when that can manifest. That’s why prophets can predict things in the future in the first place … all because of the existence of underlying karma.
One of these books, a page shown below, is what I call the "Chinese Nostradamus," and I have often wished it translated to show people that these prediction techniques were far more accurate than the wishy-washy Nostradamus writings of the west. Whoever translates this into English will make a tidy fortune because people will be impressed by its accuracy and want to buy it. Incidentally, this book too shows there is no such thing as a Armageddon or nearby end of the world as Rapturists dream of because it will continue thousands and thousands of years on into the future. So many predictions left to go, and this is just one book of many with an accurate track record of centuries with predictions also going centuries forward.
As an aside, the Holy Books of countless traditions continuously assert the continuity of the world far into the future so the religious fixation on just one of these books (and an interpretation that may or may not even be accurate) while ignoring the accurate track record of others is indicative of wisdomlessness. To be guided in public policy making because of one’s or another’s interpretation of these things is also foolishness. Unfortunately, many of our leaders today are actually selecting policies with this idea of Armageddon in the back of their minds to justify policies that would never be justified otherwise.
As one of the lessons of history that Master Nan stresses time and again, a leader who forges policy based on religious views will always weaken the nation…witness Tibet, the Arab nations and so forth. Yes there is cause and effect for what you do in terms of strategy, but don’t attach religious significance to your policy and efforts (other than for the appearance or manufacture of national consent). If policy makers are operating with secret religious ideas in the back of their mind, rather than the pragmatics of real politik and strategic power maneuvering, they are bound to produce errors. This is something we are seeing today on many national fronts. While a leader should actively cultivate themselves according to whatever religious tradition they choose, it is foolishness to bring religious views into decision making that risks the survival or well-being of the nation. If religion becomes the guiding principle behind policy, then the nation always becomes internally weak and open to invasive destruction or manipulation.
That aside, this thousand year old page on the future of China refers to the 1980’s when three children (they weren’t sages by any means) named Lee (Lee Tung Hui of Taiwan, Li Peng of China, and Li Kuan Yew of Singapore) started playing around with money, opening up the Chinese market to economic progress. Resultingly, it also records that the people’s greedy behavior would become animal-like because of the abandonment of ethics in the grab for money and profit. Having lived through it, seems like a good description of this time period to me.
The Bodhisattvas that became rulers of China typically set the standards and laid the foundations for hundreds of years of peace and prosperity in the nation. Paradoxically, they were the ones most opposed for their reforms, renovations, rectifications and reorderings, but the ones that did the most good. Most opposed … most good done. Most hated and criticized (by the establishment, of course), but most accomplished in turning around the nation for the better.
You see, a Bodhisattva will not assume a leadership role in government in order to enjoy the status and position, but only to work. They will only choose to use up their merit in being born as a king to help prevent a further national decline than what is bound to be, or they will arrive at the bottom of a bad fortune period to help the nation finally transition upwards.
…At the top of yang to prevent a bigger decline than what is due to happen, and at the bottom on a yin period to make sure that yin is transformed into yang and good foundations are laid for the advance.
Sages operate the same way, although they do appear to reiterate and solidify a positive development in culture.
Those with heavenly merit left over who became Chinese rulers typically enjoyed their reigns and promoted a mixture of good and bad policies. Typically, historians loved them because they ruled at a time when everything ran well, which was part of their good fortune enjoyments.
Bodhisattvas never choose to be born into a time to enjoy things and thus waste or squander their merit, but to work the struggle to change the bad to the good. These guys were born to enjoy the fruits of their past merit accumulations. So of course, people romanticize their lives whereas the hard work, and hence criticism for the changes made that lead to the heavenly lives of glory, are made by the Bodhisattvas.
As to the angry gods or asuras, when these were in power the country was always fighting. Arrogant, egotistical, not too intelligent and mafia-like, you didn’t want to live in the country when it was run by an asura. All they know how to do is insist they are the all knowing king under heaven, that they are heavenly anointed and always correct, that their way is the right way, that THEIR strategy for the national good is correct (and they make sure they profit by it, for sure). They used all sorts of national slogans and righteous sounding words but they were essentially just big Mafia bosses, playing the part of a saint on the outside but fighting, fighting, fighting… killing, killing, killing. This is the way that asuras know best.
They rendered destruction on countless fronts and produced a tremendous level of bad karma for their nation that would one day have to be paid. You cannot escape karmic consequences; you may be on the top today but when the situation turns, your enemies will seize that chance to get even. So create policy carefully in order not to offend. When you are designing policies and strategies with wisdom, you must take this long view into mind. Just insisting you are right, bullying others and pounding your fists on the table are wonderful theatrics, but they do not insure the safe and sound future of a nation which is in one’s care as a leader. That is what national leaders are charged with protecting. Woe to the ancients when asuras assumed power.
Asuras reborn into power are the men who destroyed countries. They were lovers of brute force but most of all and worse of all, promoters of inelegant , ineffectual and misguided strategy. That is the "sin" or worse "crime" of bad leadership — they were not smart enough or qualified enough to choose the right strategies for national peace, prosperity, predominance and preeminence. Had they followed the teachings of Kuan Tzu, which is the leadership style most appropriate for today, they could have gone down in history as benefactors. Instead, today people still curse their names even though during their reigns these kings would hear nothing against them. It’s easy to shut up the opposition when you are king because there are all sorts of reasons you can invent — and who can challenge YOU as you’re the king and the rules are yours — to silence the wisdom that goes against your will.
What’s interesting is that Master Nan also always said…some 50 years ago … that the US only had 50 years of good fortune left being the leader of the world. Of course the US would not disappear, but would fall in importance over time to become a nation like Great Britain — important, but only of secondary status. I have often written about and lectured about the world supremacy cycles, and what it takes to get on top and stay on top, and this "prediction" is not so far fetched.
As a famous saying goes, "God has not granted the boon of perpetuity to any state or nation." Another famous book: "Empires waxed and waned, states cleave asunder and coalesce." You see, changes in ranks of supremacy happen all the time. They can happen in this very lifetime of yours if your leaders promote short sighted policies out of ignorance. They happen in terms of a nation’s educational preparedness of its citizen, its health care rankings, GNP and all sorts of other factors. How easy it is to lose the leadership helm of the world if one practices foolish polices meant to help, but destroy. It’s all a lack of strategic wisdom, which is why I wrote my book on Kuan Tzu, the strategic mastermind forerunner of Sun Tzu.
To see how this happens, there’s a great video by Hans Rosling on how things have already changed in the developing world. These are changes that have happened and you will continue to see such transitions in YOUR LIFETIME:
Thinking it through, for the loss of US position and prestige to happen, of course, the US would in some way (whether elected or not elected) have to inherit the type of leadership that would produce that sort of result. And it would have to start promulgating policies that alienate the world and weaken its leadership position, all designed, however, with the view to actually promoting the US…or so the ignorant would think.
Just because one has a position of power and predominance or pre-eminance, do not think that means you are not following ignorant ways. Groupthink has destroyed many corporations grown arrogant, and it is only in studying the principles of history, governing and real politik achieved through Taoist type activities that one can remain in control while seemingly doing nothing, alienating no one, and welcomed by all. It is just a lack of leadership wisdom when rulers chose poor policies over good ones, which is why I tell people to study Kuan Tzu once again to make these matters clear. Asuras at the helm arrogantly chose to fight and destroy. How much more elegant, effective and admirable are the invisible policies of Bodhisattvas at the helm.
In Chinese history, there are plenty of stories and films of stupid emperors being surrounded by their one or two favorite eunuchs, closing their ears to the sound advice of wise advisors and the commonsense pleas of the nation. History portrays them as stupid and self-absorbed, listening to no one else other than yes-men manipulators out for their on power and profit. History portrays these Chinese rulers, though some Roman Emperors have been painted similarly, as blinded by ignorance, self-confidence and by taking the fact that they were King as meaning more than it did.
Self-deception. Ignorant self-deception. Even the excuses they used to continue following their failed policies were ignorant self-deception. Asuras are like this - they just insist they are right and try to grab from others rather than create good fortune.
If someone offered honest but contrary advice to what the favored eunuchs were saying, Chinese history shows that off would go their heads, or quick would come the dismissals, jail cells, financial ruin and attacks on the do-gooder’s reputation….including attacks on their families. So nothing could be done while the nation continued to sink and an asura was in charge. A common means of discrediting honest officials and citizens would be to say they were part of a plot to overthrow the emperor or empire. That’s the sort of thing you expect when a country is headed for ruin. It was an excuse that assumed many forms and was used to kill all sorts of good citizens.
I don’t want to go into the strategies my own nation should follow to secure the necessary oil, transportation routes and economic assets for its continued prosperity or ascendancy. That’s far too complex for a blog, and these strategies should only be revealed in closed door sessions anyway … and to lions rather than sheep because openly discussing them dilutes their power in the sense of a Poker player tipping his hand and thus weakening his position.
What I want to say is that the rules and principles for bringing a nation to a state of prosperity, and then ascendancy, and then preeminence, can be found in Kuan Tzu’s writings rather than Sun Tzu or the writings of any other sage, including Lao Tzu. If you wish to become the leader of a country, or corporation or organization, and learn how to manage it and its citizens, then Kuan Tzu’s methods are the ones appropriate for today’s world of monetary, military and economic policies. Sun Tzu was merely an intelligent tactician…brilliant but just intelligent. Kuan Tzu, his forerunner, was a supreme wisdom uber-strategist whose policies united nations without friction and conquered nations without fighting.
And so I wrote the only book available today on how to become the leader of a nation, and how to make your state, or corporation, or country or organization into a superpower, and how to become THE pre-eminent individual in the land even when you cannot obtain the top position.
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