The Path of Man was the title the Asako Henshin used to label their pursuits into enlightenment, divinity, and ascension.
The Path Edit
The Path of Man was not a physical path, but a spiritual one. Everyone walked it every day of their lives, but very few were aware that it even existed. Even these were not consciously aware of the Path. They sensed it as they would someone watching them, or as a forgotten memory, just out of the mind's grasp. These few knew that there was a driving force behind humanity and its progress, and that there was a reason for everything that happens.
The majority of Rokugan was unaware of the existence of the Path, though there were many who walk it. What most Rokugani believe was martial skill and specialized "techniques" taught in their dojo was actually their first step along the Path of Man, opening themselves to the power of their potential ascension. 
The main drawback to knowing the Path was that those who were aware of its presence could not rationalize idle inaction or foolish judgment. Those exposed to the Path rarely chosed to ignore anything , for if they did they might find themselves wandering off of the Path. From this end, some never returned. 
The Path and Mortal Man Edit
Mastery of the Path of Man granted its wielders power over their very nature. The true masters could alter a person's body -- his strengths and weaknesses -- as a potter could manipulate clay. A person could be made stronger or weaker, faster or slower, healthier or sickly. In three centuries, no one within the highest ranks of the henshin had died of natural causes. For those who had died of violence, a mournful loss for all of the Asako family, the fate of their killers had been swift and terminal.
Shiba's Gift Edit
In the year 43  Shiba visited Asako in the body of his son, Shiba Tsuzaki. Shiba told Asako what Shinsei gave to him, so that her family could guard the secret until it came time for humanity to learn it, the knowledge of the Path of Man. 
There were those who were instinctively and naturally aware of the Path, but most were not. Shiba's Gift to Asako was intended for those unable to naturally sense the Path. It was the ability to open human (or Kami) perceptions to the Path and its ways. 
The end goal of the Path was to circumvent the natural blocks placed on humanity to keep them from the power of the Fortunes. Though humanity was born limited, Shiba explained to Asako that other paths to divinity existed, and that the destiny of humanity was to eventually achieve apotheosis and became a race of Fortunes. With the knowledge of the Path and the awareness of the Mysteries that would spur her family onwards in their pursuit of divinity, Shiba left Asako with a great gift and a great burden.
The Emperor's Fortunes Edit
The Emperor of Rokugan had the power to posthumously declare Rokugani to be fortunes. The Asako saw this as an affront to the Path of Man, as well as a false Path. They believed they had circumvented and invalidated the emperor's control of deification. However, realizing that the emperor's word was still law, they wisely kept this information to themselves. 
Notable Quotes Edit
- "It is the nature of man to praise the sun's light, even as he turns away from its brightness." 
- Way of the Phoenix, pp. 42, 44-47.