One day the Emperor of Courage and Happiness summoned his court.
The first to arrive was the General of Defense, followed by the General of Conquests, then the white haired Minister of Experience and lastly the young Minister of Initiatives.
They were asked to sit in a circle where the Emperor had placed five pillows at equal distance.
The Emperor spoke to his court:
“Dear counselors, I have thoroughly observed your endeavors and capacities and long reflected on the harmony of our empire.
The qualities that each of you possesses greatly surpass those of all the others combined, therefore you are all indispensable to the wellbeing of our great empire.
I have often noticed how your different natures have caused strong conflicts which have resulted in illnesses and suffering in all the regions. It is my wish that none of you ever prevail over the others. To that end I have assigned to each of you two rules.”
After a long pause he declared:
“You will give the fruits of your virtue to the one sitting at your left and you will control who sits at his left”
He then looked at his right and started addressing the General of Defense:
“You are our best defender, your virtue is your steadfastness. You will protect your Emperor and will watch over the General of Conquests.”
He then addressed the General of Conquests sitting at his left:
“You honor my courage with your endeavors, your ambition surpasses all fear and your gifts fill the treasure chests of the Minister of Experience. You will watch over the Minister of Initiatives. Your virtue is desire.”
He then spoke to the Minister of Experience:
“You will receive the goods of the conquests and you will keep our history as its true understanding soothes pain; you will watch over the General of Defense, your virtue is clear sightedness.”
When it was time to address the Minister of Initiatives, he explained: “You will consult Experience and you will give events a new impetus. You will treasure past mistakes in order to intuit future successes. You are to supply the plans to the General of Defense and to counsel the Emperor. Your virtue is Intuition.”
In so doing he gave a different power to each counselor instructing him to serve another counselor and watch over his work.
He himself sat at the table, not as a sign of humility, rather as a mother nourishes her child and the father teaches him, so that passion and discipline may support each other.
In fact he knew that:
Remembering pain engenders fear. The right amount of fear creates a defensive reaction, rage. Being able to defend one self engenders courage. Courage produces desire of conquests. Failed conquests cause pain.
Without fear courage would lead us to recklessness and death. Without desire fear would paralyze us. Without pain rage would blind us. Without rage desire would lead us to destruction. Without courage pain would prevail.
He was the first to understand (see) that attending to the wellbeing of one part only leads to the death of all, including the part itself, and that healing only derives from the harmony of different natures.
Each power would oversee and each treasure would be nourished so that this harmonious cycle might prosper without end, because each part was contributing to the whole and was receiving from it. After one thousand years his example has still not been understood.
This is the law of the five elements.