what is Feng Shui

What is Feng Shui

Feng shui originates from imperial China 五术 (wu shu) 山医命相卜 covering 5 major aspects. Mountain, medicine, destiny, physiognomy and prediction. Feng shui is classify as physiognomy 相术. It has got nothing to do with religion or spirituality. It creates harmony between us and the physical habitat that we live or work in.

feng shui Form and qi

Vital Life Energy – Wind 生气 and Water 水

Guo Pu 郭璞 one of the major grand master of feng shui coined in Burial Classic as 乘生气也, 陰陽之气…古人聚之使不散, 行之使有止, 风水之法, 得水為上, 藏风次之.

The quote reveals 2 Key concepts, attract vital life energy 生气, entrap  藏风 and uses it. In addition it stresses on the greater importance of using water as an entrapment for 生气 energy. Thus the 2 terms of wind 风 (not in the literal sense) and water 水 – Feng Shui. Today practitioners added a touch of class by calling it metaphysics or geomancy or pseudoscience.

Internal & External Environment 

“Environment” are external and internal landforms. External landforms refer to the highs and lows of Earth’s physical surface terrain. Things like roads leading to your office or home. The lift and it’s walkway.

Internal Form refers to the structural layout like doors, kitchen, bedroom etc. The foundation concept of feng shui build upon how we manage and align the positive energy from our environment.

Classical feng shui

阳宅十书: 人之居处宜以大地山河为主,其来脉气势最大,关系人祸福最为切要。若大形不善,总内形得法,终不全吉。故论宅外形第一

The location where a person choose to build his house should depend on the surrounding mountains and river formation. In short feng shui examine first the “external environment”, like old stone age where human live in caves to protect themselves from rain, sun and wild animals. If external landforms are bad, there are limitations to how we could improve the energy within the house (internal environment).  

Two Main disciplines 

a. “Form school 峦头派 ” observation of the external environment includes terrain 形势 symbolism 形象 and form management 形法.

b. “Energy Management school 理气派” (a) 三元玄空 (b) 八宅 (c) 三元紫白 (d) 三合 (e) 翻卦 (f) 五行 (g) 玄空大卦 (h) 八卦 (i) 九星飞泊 (j) 奇门 (k) 阳宅三要 etc.

The list is not exhaustive, just to give you an idea of the breadth and depth of feng shui teachings. Different schools used different methodologies & formulas to provide solutions which could be confusing because sometime applications contradicts. 

Form management 峦头 

Origins of fengshui started with Form school studying burial ground terrain. Today we study modern landforms such as buildings, roads, MRTs, expressways, lifts, passageway etc

Forms can be interpreted as “mountain” or “water” and either found externally or internally. External are surroundings outside of your house e.g. trees, buildings, roads.

Internal landform refers to the structure of the house e.g. position of bedrooms, missing sectors, location of toilets etc. Any higher terrain relative to your house are considered as “mountains”. 

Energy management 理气

Classical feng shui wisdom believe in the existence of “qi” or invisible vital-life energy that permeates the universe. It is like bluetooth or wifi signals. 

There are numerous formula schools, the more popular and accurate one is San Yuan principle 三元玄空风水理气. Notice the wisdom of these 2 Chinese characters “理气 energy management” implies the use of 道理 facts and management of  管理 logic 论理.


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