China is a good place to start. And a Chinese Ziggurat is as good a place in China as any.
When we discuss an emperor, it's not a significant one like Josh, it's a really old one like China’s first Emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi. Ya see, the emperor was an intercedent between heaven and earth. If you wanted favor with the gods, you had to be O.K. with the emperor.
Sound familiar? Besides, what are all those steps and levels about, anyway?
Now and Then, you get a clue.
1) People who crave power invoke god(s)
2) People who crave power sell the god(s), often forcefully.
3) Real god(s) don't need people who crave power to do their bidding.
4) Real god(s) have a sense of humor.
5) Real god(s) are laughing at you right now!
6) Same oil, different snake. How brazen can they be?
7) Beggars teach: "It is good to give!"
In my next posting, I will explain how an 'intercedent between heaven and earth' would become a sort of a "big bridge builder" or Pontificus Maximus and a czar would morph into papa (the Bishop of Rome, and no ordinary bishop either), and other various and sundry "bridge cults" (while avoiding the bridge to complete bankruptcy). One of papa's titles, Pontifex Maximus, is done-said to mean "supreme bridge builder". This title was formerly held by the pre-Xtian Mithraic high priest of Rome - who ruled the temple on Vatican Hill.
In Buddhism, there is no such intercedent. Every Buddhist 'authority' can never become more than 'an ordinary monk.' Each person holds the key to their own awakening. Don't ask a janitor to unlock your door when he has neither key nor clue.