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The Failure to Execute Kobayakawa Hideaki, and the Fall of the Toyotomi

History shows us that we should not play things halfway.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi was Undisputed Ruler of Japan. He had brought all the Japanese generals under his loyalty, set an extremely durable and efficient legal structure, and had achieved more than anyone in Japanese history - rising from a peasant servant to the height of command.

Unsatisfied with the fastest and largest ascent in all of Japanese history, Hideyoshi wanted to conquer all of Korea and China. In the year 1597, he launched the Second Korean Campaign.

In the most desperate times, strong cultures produce great heroes - and Korean Grand Admiral Yi Sun-Sin rose to the challenge, shattering the Japanese naval forces and cutting the supply lines. The Japanese forces pinned down in Korea had land superiority, solid defensive fortifications, and better artillery. But the Ming China/Joseon Korean alliance was winning the gradual war of attrition after establishing naval superiority.

Toyotomi had won basically every engagement he'd fought in throughout history. A scuffling defeat here and there, but he had seemed blessed by the gods themselves. He was, naturally, furious at the inability of his forces to conquer Korea.

From anger to understanding

On Inner teacher

"People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar." Thich Nhat Hahn.

Me: Dear beloved teacher, you said that we never respond the same way to the same situation twice, but I find myself repeating some patterns of behavior over and over again, even when I do not like the outcomes. The most difficult of these habits is responding with anger. I do not like the feeling of being angry and I know that it does not improve my relationships, but similar situations seem to perturb me every time. Why does this happen? Why is it so difficult for me to change this response?

Teacher: Dear student, if you are repeating patterns of behavior that harm you and your relationships, it is because you are not able to receive the insight that will help you transform them. To change any habit, you must be able to clearly and convincingly tell yourself why you want to transform it. And once you have a good reason to transform it, you must give yourself a suitable alternative. If you simply focus on stopping yourself from repeating the habit, you will not succeed, because you cannot fight yourself and win. You can only train yourself to respond in a way that you believe is better.

Anger can be a particularly difficult habit to break because the generation of anger blocks us from receiving insight. Anger is an indication that you perceive a threat to your well-being. Anger is just an expression of fear. In a the state of fear, your mind reverts to a primitive state where you are solely focused on survival. You have only two choices, you can run or you can fight, neither of which is usually the appropriate course of action.

What do we hope to achieve by generating anger? We seek to control the people and situations around us in an attempt to prevent future occurrences of the stimulus that we believe created the anger within us. The question you should ask yourself is, why does this particular stimulus perturb me? What do I fear losing? Did this stimulus threaten my ego? What beliefs and identities do I have associated with my ego? Did I misunderstand the situation? These are the insights you require to avoid similar perturbations in the future. But because we do not have sufficient tools to survive our own anger, we focus all our energies on controlling our surroundings rather than transforming ourselves.

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