Feng Shui is the Chinese System of Land Management. It refers to the whole environment that we humans live in: it relates to the room that we are in, the property, the district, the town, the country, the continent. It also relates to the built environment (buildings, houses, roads, canals), land (hill, mountains, valleys, plains, fields), flowing water (streams, rivers), still water (ponds, lakes) and air (wind, rain) that is around us. More importantly, the planets, sun, moon and the continual movement of time.
Feng Shui is a trivial name and is derived from “Kan Yu” which means the “Management of the Land or Environment”.
Since early 1990 when the West became aware of Feng Shui mainly through the introduction of the book “Feng Shui: Ancient Chinese Wisdom on Arranging a Harmonious Living Environment” by Sarah Rossbach.
There have different interpretations of the use of feng shui. These interpretations have come from three sourcebooks.
The books being
- Feng Shui by Sarah Rossbach
- Applied Pa-Kua and Lo Shu Feng Shui by Lillian Too
- Feng Shui: The Ancient Wisdom of Harmonious Living in Modern Times by Eva Wong.
There are four different groups.
- Modern Western Feng Shui
This is based on the teaching of Lin Yun (as featured in Sarah Rossbach’s book). There are quite a few additional interpretations and new interpretations of the environment. It provides an excellent income to teachers and practitioners as long as they can move with the changes in the market. They are usually based around “auspicious” areas within the property.
- Classical Feng Shui
These not only rely on Lillian Too’s and Eva Wong’s books about also the ancient text of the classical Chinese scholars. The teaching is on formulae and defines auspicious areas within the interiors of the property. Some practitioners also call this Traditional Feng Shui.
- Miscellaneous Types
This is when writers and authors attribute feng shui to anything. For example: “The placement of the yellow sofa here is good feng shui.” Or “drinking herbal tea slowly on the sofa is good feng shui.” There is no reasoning behind this statement, but it happens and gives the serious practice of feng shui a bad name.
- Traditional Chinese Feng Shui
This is the time-honoured lineage-based practice of feng shui. This is where the practitioner directly handles the energy in the environment and does not use formulae. Like all practices in Chinese Metaphysics, it is holistic and considers the whole environment – exteriors, interiors of the property and the people involved. Chinese Metaphysics is about the movement of energy in different mediums – for example – the human body in medicine or martial arts.
The practice knowledge is kept within a closed group, and the knowledge is passed down from one generation to the next. This time-honoured method has been used for centuries. The characteristics of this method are described below.
Traditional Chinese Feng Shui
The main purpose for training new students is for the “Master” to pass on the practice methods to the next generations. The aim is to continue the good name of the lineage but also, to get the new students to be better practitioners of Feng Shui than the “Master”.
- There is a rigorous selection of students. This selection is based on whether he will be a good student and responsible practitioner. It is not about the student’s financial resources.
- The training programme last ten years.
- The knowledge is passed down verbally with key points stored within rhyming couplets.
- The students are trained and work with the “Master” on current projects.
The term “Master” is a sign of respect from the student.
Differences of Traditional Chinese Feng Shui and Classical Feng Shui.
Traditional Chinese Feng Shui
- This is a lineage-based system for practitioners. It uses a proven and unified or integrated system where the principal mechanism is energy. This method involves the physical handling of this medium (environment) which is the central tenet of Chinese Metaphysics.
- It is about the flow of energy. It is about gathering the energy in the exteriors and husbanding it into the property. Once in the property, it is about the distribution of the energy throughout the property.
- The established methods have been proven in use over centuries.
- It is highly flexible, active and scalable. It can be used from a small house to a large city.
- For an established feng shui consultant, a lineage holder, to pass down the lineage, trains a small group of students for about ten years. This includes teaching, training, practicals and supervised work experience.
- Practitioners have ethical and practice standards. The names of clients are kept confidential.
Classical Feng Shui
- The principal method is to measure the compass direction of the door and then divide the interiors into auspicious and inauspicious areas
- The method only works on interiors
- It is passive, and there is no work on the gathering of energy in the external environment.
- It is taught by teachers who usually do not have practical experience. The information taught is based on ancient texts.
- The origins and the interpretations of these ancient texts are debated upon.
- The test of the students understanding of the teachings is usually written tests.
Abstract: The term Feng Shui is used inappropriately or in a different context. This post defines the types of feng shui that is used today.