There is a legend that tells of a famous Academy, now lost in the mountains of an Eastern Province. Founded some two and a half millennia ago by an immensely successful Patriarch, Yen Tzu, the School attracted the interest of great leaders, merchants, and individuals, from all over the ancient world; earnestly seeking the secrets of a new alchemy proven to deliver prosperity and well-being. Possibly a member of the inner circle of Taoist Sages, Yen Tzu would have been fully versed in the Metaphysical Wisdom of the Ancients. His paradoxical philosophy, therefore, would have certainly followed the way of self-mastery through individual inner understanding.
Over several generations the School’s acclaim grew through word of mouth, as each student, enlightened by their understanding of this new thinking, graduated. Such a level of understanding was certainly instrumental in Yen Tzu becoming Ancient China’s first commercial billionaire; though such success inevitably attracted the attention of an aspiring Emperor.
History records that in the year 213BCE almost all remnants of this ancient teaching were destroyed by the first Emperor of what we now consider to be geographical China:the ruthless Qin Shi Huang, famous for the army of life-size Terracotta Warriors guarding his mausoleum; unearthed in Lintong County, Shaanxi.
Viewing such teaching as a threat to the divine rule he had decreed, he was convinced that by destroying it no-one would question or usurp his dictatorship. Pursuing this policy to control society’s thinking, his brutal Prime Minister, Li Ssu, ordered countless sages to be executed and their places of learning to be burned to the ground.
In an attempt to save them from destruction, valuable scrolls and texts were hidden in hollowed walls, a time-honoured custom utilised by numerous cultures over the ages. History records that the Qin Dynasty lasted only during his lifetime, a mere forty-one years; a vivid reminder that motives seeking manipulation and control are always short-lived. Unwittingly, Qin had destroyed the very wisdom that could have been his greatest strength as a leader.