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Your First Feng Shui Luo Pan

Wednesday, June 2, 1999
By: Joey Yap

The Chinese were the first people to develop the compass about 4000 years ago. It was said that the very first compass was found in the times of the Yellow Emperor (about 25th Century BC). According to popular legend, the LuoPan was presented to the Yellow Emperor by the Goddess of the Nine Heavens to assist him in his heroic battle against the evil wizard's clan.

Over the centuries, the LuoPan has been reformed, redefined and altered according to new discoveries in land and directional theories by the respective dynasties' Kan Yu Experts ( today called Feng Shui Masters). The LuoPan have since then became an indispensable tool for the Ancient Chinese Art of Feng Shui.

The Definitive Tool for ALL FENG SHUI

Practices In the practice and study of authentic Feng Shui, the LuoPan is a requisite tool. For centuries Feng Shui Masters have researched, experimented and studied the meanings encrypted in the various types of LuoPans. Many have found that the significance embodied in the writings of the LuoPan to be highly profound and fascinating. Every degree and every character engraved on the heaven dial (the round moveable plate of the LuoPan) to be very intricately and accurately designed and carries with it the secrets of Chinese Art of Feng Shui.

Feng Shui, literally means wind and water. Many people knew that Water represents Wealth in Feng Shui. But not many know what the Wind represents!

The WIND in Feng Shui represents direction.For Feng Shui to be effective, the need of studying the forces of water and directional influences is of paramount importance. Every direction, even down to a single degree around your LuoPan can play significant and profound effects on the Feng Shui of a particular location.

Before selecting your LuoPan, first ask yourself, WHICH system of traditional Feng Shui do you advocate? There are many schools and or systems of Feng Shui. In general there are 2 categories of authentic Chinese Feng Shui:

1. San Yuan School (3 Cycles System)
2. San He School ( 3 Combination System)

Fey Xing (Flying Stars) or Xuan Kong (Time and Space) can be classified under the SAN YUAN School. Pa-Chai (Eight Mansions), Sui-Long (Water Dragons), San Long (Mountain Dragons) and environmental Feng Shui are subsets of the San He system of Feng Shui. These are traditional authentic Feng Shui systems. Which system do you practice?

The Rings

There are various numbers of rings around a LuoPan. Depending on which school or which system the LuoPan is designed for, the LuoPan can be made up of as few as seven (basic rings) to up to a number of thirty-six rings!

Every ring carries with it a specific theory in the application of Feng Shui. Different Feng Shui systems may have different meanings given to a particular level of a LuoPan. Depending on which system you advocate, the LuoPan can help the Feng Shui practitioner measure, locate, calculate and even predict the natural earth energies both directional and locational in a particular area.

Today we can find two standardized types of LuoPan. They are the SanYuan LuoPan and the SanHup LuoPan. It is quite easy to differentiate the two types of Luopans.

SANYUAN LUOPAN: Can be easily distinguished with the presence of the 64 Hexagrams of the I-Ching. The San Yuan LuoPan is also generally called the Jiang Pan (named after the founder of San Yuan Feng Shui : Great Grand Master Jiang Da Hong's).

SANHUP LUOPAN: Can be recognized by the presence of 3 distinctive rings of the 24 Mountains. The San Hup Luo Pan is also commonly known as the Yang Kung Pan (named after the first Feng Shui Grand Master Yang Yun Song' of the Tang Dynasty)

And there is the third standardized type of LuoPan which is really a combination of SanYuan and SanHup. It is called the Zhung Hup LuoPan. Designed primarily for those who like to advocate both systems of Traditional Feng Shui.

The 8-Point Rule for Selecting Your LuoPan

1. Quality of the Needle

The needle MUST be able to align accurately on TOP of the RED line at the bottom of the Heaven Pool (the round compass piece in the middle). The needle MUST be able to align accurately BELOW the AXIS CROSS (the intercrossing nylon strings). It should not even be a slight deviation of .01mm away from the above lines.

2. Heaven Pool's Red Line

The Double Dots MUST be pointing to the "Rat" (Direct North 0o ) direction while the point should be pointing the "Horse" (Direct South 180o) direction.

3. Accuracy of Axis Cross (the nylon strings)

The Cross MUST be able to cross the CARNIDAL AXIS directly at 0o, 90o, 180o and 270o of the Heaven Dial. There should not even be a slight deviation, or it renders the LuoPan totally useless.

4. Quality of the Heaven Dial Every character, trigram and number MUST be printed or carved with great clarity.

Must be easy to read. Some words or characters may be blurred in the process of stamping, always double check. The dial should be steady and smooth when turned. It should not be too smooth or too tight.

5. Squareness of the Earth Base and a Spirit Level

The LuoPan must have the Square Base. It is used to take measurements by matching it parallel to the wall or door of a house/building. It must come with a Spirit Level for accuracy of reading.

6. Material Quality

What is the LuoPan made of? Poly-Electric wood, normal wood or Recycled Wood? It DOES make a HUGE difference. Poly-Electric wood can withstand temperatures of up to 140o C. Recycled Wood or normal wood are the cheap renditions found in most Chinese roadside stalls.

7. Measurements and Sizes

* - LuoPans MUST come with accurate markings of the EXACT 360o .
* - LuoPans come ONLY in the following standardized sizes:

i. 2"8
ii. 3"4
iii. 4"2
iv. 5"2
v. 6"2
vi. 7"2
vii. 8"6
viii. 1ft 2"

* - The standard size Traditional Feng Shui Masters uses are the 8"6 types. The smaller ones like the 2"8 - 4"2 are mainly for convenience use. The smaller the LuoPan gets, the easier it is to make mistakes. Thus it is only when one is very experience should one use a small LuoPan for a professional Feng Shui audit. For the beginners, start by using a 5"2 or 6"2. Professional Feng Shui practitioners should always use a 8"6.

8. Beauty

If all the above 7 points are met, the last point is the Beauty test. Some LuoPans are good but they look highly unattractive. Or they may feel rough and fidgety to be held. When choosing a LuoPan, treat it like choosing a beautiful quality garment at a designer store. Not only must it have high quality, but it should also have the right feel (i.e. fabric, smoothness and look). Your LuoPan must even be good enough to be used as a decorative Feng Shui item. It is not unusual for Feng Shui Masters to display their LuoPans glamorously in their homes. Some have a sense of pride, others have a feeling of peace when they display their LuoPans as decorative pieces. It is true that many Feng Shui masters today are avid LuoPan collectors. Others believed that the LuoPan could ward off evil spirits because it embodies the secret of the I-ching which we all know, is the secret of the Feng Shui Ba Gua. This is however folklore and Feng Shui Symbolism, believing or not believing is up to the reader.

A quality LuoPan should weigh around 1.3 to 1.5kg. The Heaven Dial (the Round Plate) should be easily turnable with a slight firm and steady feel. Nowadays good LuoPans are scarce to find. Unknowing vendors in the west have been victims of many unscrupulous businessmen in China, selling them cheap and tacky imitations of a real Feng Shui Luopan. Be VERY careful of the LuoPan that you chose to purchase. Make sure it comes with the 6 essential components (mentioned above) and are made of exceptional quality (poly-electric wood).

This article serves the purposes to educate the masses and unveil the truth about what really is a quality Chinese LuoPan. Like any other quality goods, LuoPans today come in different brand names. Be sure to select a reliable maker for long-term usage. No doubt, higher end makers are dearer in price, but the quality surpasses the test of time and weather conditions. Buying a LuoPan is like buying a car. Do you want a BMW or Hyundai? Well, you pay only for the quality, accuracy and most of all durability.

Like a stethoscope to a Doctor, the LuoPan is to a Feng Shui Practitioner. For those who are serious in the practice of Feng Shui, I urge you to search for a good 8"6 LuoPan. Having your LuoPan is your first step to Feng Shui Mastery. For the beginners, as guide, go for a medium San Yuan LuoPan that comes in the sizes of 5"2 or 6"2.

For more on Lou Pan details, please click here.
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