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Basic Principles Of Feng Shui

Thursday, April 11, 2002
By: Joey Yap

Feng Shui means different things to different people nowadays. It went from 'scarce resources' on the subject, to a massive ‘abundant’ (and confusing) number of resources, almost overnight, in the market today.

For the last 5 years, I've been traveling extensively around the world, teaching professional Feng Shui courses, speaking at various events and conducting many consultations. One of the main 'questions' of beginning enthusiasts we've come to notice is... their dilemma in defining 'what exactly is FENG SHUI?'

Is it an art of harmonizing the forces around our living environment? Is it superstition? It is about arranging furniture and decorating the house? Or is it some sort of a 'fad'?

We meet so many people around the world and most of them ask this question in a different way. One of the main reasons I've decided to release my own website is to act as a simple guide to the beginning enthusiasts of Feng Shui.

In the next few sections you will find a series of articles just like this one. Nothing really profound though, I consider it 'basic guide' for the layman. The main objective here is to introduce the fundamentals of Classical Feng Shui, the various schools of thought and how Feng Shui is applied.

One of reasons I took so much time to write these articles was to show beginning enthusiasts and those looking to practice Feng Shui that, Classical Feng Shui is neither difficult to learn or practice. Its theories are logical and very fascinating. But it does take a certain investment in time and commitment. I would like for you also to see that there’s more to Feng Shui than meets the eye.

Firstly let me start by saying Feng Shui is a form of Chinese metaphysical science. Feng Shui, originally known as 'Kan Yu', is an art of locating and positioning graves (Yin Houses) and buildings (Yang Houses) so that the environment's natural energies (Qi) support the endeavors of the residents.

The literal translation of Feng Shui is "Wind" and "Water".

Feng Shui started off thousands of years ago as simple environmental science helping commoners locate good soil for vegetation and protecting against the natural disasters of the environment like frost and floods. As man grew more sophisticated and the standards of living and education improved, their needs for good fortune, fertility, recognition, power and other desires subsequently grew. Feng Shui theories too evolved and became more sophisticated, working alongside the principles of the Tao. (China was very much influenced by philosophy of the Tao and Confucianism, so it was natural for Feng Shui to take its roots from this ideology and to seek ‘harmony’ with the ‘natural way’ of the Earth.)

In response to the growing needs of mankind, philosophers undertook their research and subsequently made new findings; adding to the existing theories of Feng Shui to meet these new lifestyle changes. Feng Shui continueds to evolve and grow; by the time it reached the Tang Dynasty (about a thousand years ago), Feng Shui was at its prime.

Unfortunately, greed and unspoken rivalry got the better of the Feng Shui masters in the old days and most of the valuable knowledge then was kept hidden; labeled as 'close guarded' secrets or the 'secrets of Heaven'.

Due to the many different interpretations and approaches, Feng Shui took the form of many different schools. Every school did their own research and explored new concepts based on their own study of the principles of Yi Jing and the Tao. As the centuries went by, Masters accumulated their findings and experience and passed them on to their disciples and so forth…the lineage continueds.

With the help of genuine Feng Shui Masters and the knowledge from the old classics, practitioners today can once again unlock the ancient wisdom.

The main core of Feng Shui converges on the subject of 'Qi' or life-force, life giving energies that permeates the universe we live in. Simply put, Qi can be in the form of matter or energy, visible or invisible, tangible or intangible or partially in between both forms. Qi affects the way we live, our thoughts, health, actions, decisions, emotions and ultimately our destiny.

The distribution of Qi through physical landforms and buildings varies according to the factors of time and space. Different people have their own unique reception to different forms of Qi. How Qi affects us in our living environment, is communally called 'Earth Luck'.

To ascertain the quality of Qi, two main techniques of Feng Shui are usually employed. The first is the observation of Landforms and the second technique is through the more sophisticated, 'formula based' calculations.

Mathematics, a form of numerology was widely used by the Chinese sages. With this knowledge, they came up with a complex system of coding information based on the patterns of synchronism in events and time with reference to direction, location and people. Like many scientists today, Chinese sages believed in the power of numbers and that these were the 'key' to unlocking the 'Tao' (way of the nature) and all its infinite wisdom. Classical Feng Shui theories are thus based on these numerical codes.

Classical Landform Feng Shui is based on observation and the careful examination of certain special configurations of mountains ranges and water courses. Formula based Classical Feng Shui focused on sophisticated theories to calculate the different influences of Qi. Landform and Formula based Classical Feng Shui reference the location, formation, direction and residents as a criteria for their calculations. Both techniques of Feng Shui need to be applied for any assessment to be accurate.

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