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Ming Vibes

Sunday, January 1, 2006
By: Joey Yap

Feng shui students take a walk in the mountains of China to learn about the country's unique landform feng shui

We were visiting the 13 tombs of the Ming emperors and their empresses in Changping county, about 50km from Beijing .

It was Day 5 of the excursion series and the students' first “audit” of the day began with the magnificent tomb of Emperor Yong Le, the third emperor of the Dynasty.

The tomb is known as Changling.

Although Yong Le was the son of Zhu Yuan Zhang, the founder of the Ming Dynasty, his father did not pick him to be the next ruler.

He eventually returned to Nanjing to seize the throne from his nephew and ascend the Dragon Throne as the third Emperor.

Yong Le, who moved the capital to Beijing and began constructing the Forbidden City , is said to be one of the greatest administrators and skilled generals of all the Ming Emperors.

The tomb is set against a charismatic, majestic mountain, known as the Tianshou Mountains .

The students picked up the Chastity Fire shape that were formed by the mountains, as well as the flags and drum shape ( qi goo feng ) mountains as the bus entered the tomb complex.

A few students picked up on the wind gap in the mountains but they were not quite sure what to make of it.

The students were encouraged to apply what they had learnt so they could present their assessment on why they feel the tomb of Yong Le is good (or bad).

After they had given their inputs, I provided them with the answers they were looking for.

“The feng shui of the tomb of Emperor Yong Le was indeed excellent but for different reasons,” I elaborated.

“Firstly, the Green Dragon ( zua sha ) on the left of the tomb is a special formation Green Dragon, known as the Rainbow Dragon Dipping Water reaching out to the river.

“The range of mountains on the left extends far down towards the Ming Tomb Reservoir in the distance.

“There is also a unique ‘Rising Phoenix' formation on a specific location of the Left Embrace, exactly at a special Xuan Kong Da Gua direction, ensuring a lasting empire and outstanding greatness.

“The zua sha is also higher and longer than the you sha , providing empowerment to the male leaders in the family.”

The wind gap ( li feng yao ), I pointed out, was not too worrying because it is a gap that is higher than the tomb and so, sha qi does not strike the tomb.

I also made sure they took note of the excellent water formation in the front of the tomb, indicating that at least four generations will benefit from the good feng shui of the tomb.

This, I told them, can be confirmed by studying the history of the Ming Dynasty.

Patching the dragon  

The next tomb we visited was that of the fourth emperor, Zhu Gao Chi in Xian Ling next, a small and simple tomb.

It was closed to the public and the best way to evaluate the feng shui of the tomb was by walking around the perimeter.

Zhu's reign was short – he was nine months on the Dragon Throne when he died.

As this was the fifth day of the series, many of the students had become quite proficient in recognizing the luan tou (landform feng shui ).

Those students who took the trouble to walk all the way around the perimeter to observe the dragon vein were awarded with the answers they were seeking.

The tomb utilizes the same mountain range as the Changling tomb but because the Changling tomb was at a dragon palace( long lou ) mountain that produces many veins, this particular tomb was able to secure a good dragon vein.

“It is important, that each emperor finds a good tomb for himself,” I explained.

“This is known as ‘patching the dragon' – ensuring the continuity of the dynasty by continually invigorating the descendants with good and powerful qi in the Yin house.”

The next tomb, that of Xuan Zong, proved to be an interesting test of the students' skills.

The students had a good opportunity to observe the Dragon veins that the tomb tapped into.

But the question here was not about finding dragon veins anymore but whether the feng shui of this tomb was good.

This question of mine seemed to throw the students off a little. Everything seemed right, but was it?

“The tomb suffers from one key defect, the zua sha is much too close to the tomb,” I explained.

“This formation is called ya pi sha . This results in the qi being squeezed.”

The mountains are also bony and hard, indicating aggressive qi being concentrated and pumped in the direction of the tomb. There is also a low wind gap.

As far as feng shui is concerned history, confirms that Jing Ling is not a sound tomb.

The emperors that follows Xuan Zong had less than smooth reigns.

The reign of Xuan Zong's son, Ying Zong, was interrupted when he was kidnapped by the Mongols, and the throne was assumed by another. Ying Zong was able to return and regain the throne.

But, because the tomb of Yong Le had excellent feng shui, the dynasty was able to persevere and perpetuate.

It's not a beauty contest

Of all the Ming Tombs, only one has ever been excavated. And this was the location of our final visit for the day – the tomb of Emperor Shen Zong, called Ding Ling.

With an underground palace where the coffins of the emperor and his empresses were placed, along with valuables, it is one of the most extravagant tomb in the Ming tomb complex.

After studying landforms the first four days, most of the students immediately picked up on the fact that the table mountain in the distance was too high.

While a few harbored doubts about the dragon vein, there was still some uncertainty whether or not the feng shui was good.

They were still digesting in the information from the precious Ming tomb and looked at the surrounding landform with an even more critical eye.

Two of my more senior students hinted at the likelihood that the tomb was affected by sha qi.

I explained that although the area had a good embrace, no one had bothered to qualify the embrace.

Yes, there was an embrace around the tomb but the mountains, instead of curving in sentimentally to protect the tomb, were in fact, merciless and moving outward, opening the tomb to the aggressive qi.

There was also a large wind gap that sent the qi hurtling towards the center of the tomb, like “a punch to the heart”. The structure of the mountains around the Ding Ling tomb was in fact, a ‘Dragon and Tiger Separating Formation'.

“Even the vein must be qualified,” I explained further.

By the time Shen Zong died and was buried, the Ming tombs were over-crowded and the veins exhausted.

The only thing that remained for the tombs to tap were what I like to call “leftover veins”.

What should the emperors have done instead? They should have ‘patched the dragon' by looking for new mountains and new veins to tap into instead of recycling the same old vein and exhausting the energies.

While the reign of Shen Zong was a prosperous period for the Ming Dynasty, the emperors that followed did badly, with short reigns and disasters plaguing the country.

The powerful feng shui of Yong Le was simply not enough to see the dynasty past its 16 th emperor.

With such poor feng shui and ‘a dragon that was not patched properly and sufficiently', the end arrived soon.

There was a full-scale rebellion that marked the end of the Ming Dynasty and the rise of the Qing Dynasty.

What then was the moral of this story for the students on the Mastery Excursion Series?

A beautiful area and seemingly beautiful mountains, sometimes hides a bad spot.

And I reminded the students of a line in the ancient classics; “Fake landforms always look good, but truly powerful landforms are usually hidden by Heaven.”




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