Liu Bei (Xuande)

The Xuande Emperor (Chinese; pinyin: Xuāndédì; 16 March 1399 31 January 1435), personal name Zhu Zhanji, was the fifth emperor of the Ming dynasty of China, ruling from 1425 to 1435. His era name “Xuande” means “Proclamation of Virtue”

Veteran and seasoned fighters “of old” are first convinced of a win, but then bolster their high spirit with opportunistic attacks (Ch.4, Par.1). Despite their evident capabilities, without a solid and right strategy, there is bound to be a fall. Therefore without a full comprehension of the enemy, the good fighter is able to assume an advantageous disposition through judicious precautions (Ch.4, Par.3). None of these characteristics seem truer than the character of Liu Bei, the calm young man of full potential that was viewed to carry his bloodline piety on his shoulders. He was simply different, yet braced for the future as “the man of distinction that would come forth from his family” (Ch.1, Par.31)

Liu Bei was the prince’s son, a young man in the royal bloodline that was long forgotten and reduced to a straw sandal and woven grass mat seller. But even though, he was not the ordinary poverty stricken fellow with a desperate sigh to rediscover his ancestral roots, nor was he worrisome of the manner in which familiar economics took a turn for the worse. He was a man of education, reputed to have traveled wide to seek knowledge and therefore his calm-yet fervently confident-demeanor was a high contrast only fully exemplified in the war zones. Keen to decipher the environment and the theme of the moment, while mastering the art of opportunity, he was the perfect enthusiastic fellow to counter the yellow scarf movement.

The character of Liu Bei is seemingly below its potential and only brought alive at the beaconing of Zhang Fei, yet another high spirited and visionary fellow with a grandiose mission to recapture tranquility in the land and serve the people. Such a burning ambition was made perfect at Han’s call at a time when the Zhangs assumed magnificence and adorned themselves bombastic titles that could only be likened to gods. It appeared that Han was ailing and therefore needed a savior who could only ave met the “Saint Hermit of the Southern Land” (Ch.1, Par.15). In sigh at the rapidly deteriorating peace in the land, Liu Bei’s longtime thirst to ride an entrepreneurial fulfillment was drawing to a deep gratification come in the form of one  Zhang Fei. He provided the initial capital for these free self-styled war generals who reinvetned themselves to serve the higher purpose of defending Han against the paranoia of the Zhang brothers. Indeed Liu Bei was accorded the person of chief, in the sight of Zhang Fei. With the runaway felon Guan Yu now turned to an elite path, the three became sworn brothers to the death.

The propositions and dispositions of Liu Beu were outrightly informed and embalmed in deep wisdom as is requisite of a war veteran.  Sūnzǐ’s notes upfront of the arbitrary role assumed (by default) by leader of armies (Ch.2, Par.18) that calls for a mastery of the five grand elements that guide war (Ch.1, Par.3) amidst other considerations. He demonstrated a mastery of strategy (Ch.1, Par.64), wielding of temperance (Ch.1, Par.57), giving due authority (Ch.2, Par.2) among other reputable characteristics. It becomes clear in Liu Bei’s war enthusiasm that even though the fervent seeking of peace is a necessary affair that not only him and his two sworn brothers are highly spirited to achieve, but for the greater Han Dynasty as well, the rules of war engagement to achieve this goal would be misinformed if they were to remain steady with no room for dynamism. He recognizes that indeed there are times to confidently engage from the front end and confront the enemy right in front of you (Ch.1, Par.57),  there are times to flee from the enemy if it is strategic (Ch.2, Par.10) and there are times to capture the enemy than to angrily destroy them (Ch.2, Par.17) as Sūnzǐ would agree (Ch.3, Par.11; Ch.3, Par.2).

Liu Bei is a young man of confidence right from the start that he derives from a definite entrepreneurial pose that he has been incubating for some time (Ch.1, Par.29). He becomes a leader through the pooling of minds with like-minded fellows and intensively employs the capital of wisdom to decisively win wars against fanatical uprisings that have threatened Han. He is man who understand the value of temperance and the necessity of authority and chain of command even though one may disagree with authority (Ch.2, Par.2). To him, peace assumes a rather queer meaning of alignment with authority and taming of the enemy rather than conquering of the enemy. According to  Sūnzǐ (Ch.3, Par.3), Liu Bei would be crowned as a the war veteran proper; a general who placed the people’s interest first before the need to exercise this weapons and lush out at foes, and the event that the foes were captured, their lives would be preserved to reinforce the dynasty. His humble beginnings never defined the destiny he had in mind. Indeed his vision of being the son of heaven with the mulberry tree as his chariot (Ch.1, Par.31), was just around the corner.