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To beginners

From: syho (
Subject: To beginners 
Newsgroups: alt.chinese.fengshui
Date: 1998/11/10 

What is Feng Shui?

Feng Shui is literally translated as "Wind and Water", also is called Kan
Yu, Xuan Kong or Di Li. The term Kan Yu is literally translated as
"Regularity of Heaven and Ground." In extant historical literature, Huai Nan
Zi is the eldest writing that embodies the term Kan Yu. Kan means the
regularity of heaven, and Yu means the regularity of groung/earth. Shi Ji
embodies the term "Kan Yu Jia". Feng Shui is the general term. Zang Shu
mentions that Qi diffuse to everywhere with wind (Feng) and group around
water (Shui). Many Feng Shui masters believe that the term Feng Shui derives
from Zang Shu. Many Feng Shui masters literally translate Xuan Kong as "Time
and Space." The term Xuan Kong becomes popular when "Shen Shi Xuan Kong Xue"
made public, Shen Shi Xuan Kong Xue might be literally translated as "Shen's
Xuan Kong Study." Di Li means "Geography." 

Some masters interpret the word "Feng" as cold, chilly, and health-sapped
northern wind, or Mongolia winds, or an invisible stream of energy over
one's head like a wind. It is very strange that most Chinese Feng Shui
writings just only discuss with mountain and river, not wind and
water/river. We know that wind occurs because of horizontal and vertical
differences in atmospheric pressure, and the most common of local wind
systems are the sea and land breezes, mountain and valley breezes.
Accordingly, the word "Feng" of the term "Feng Shui" might indicates
"mountain". If the ancient term "Kan Yu" meant "regularity of heaven and
ground", then we have no reason to believe that "Feng" just only is
associated with cold nothern wind and treated northern wind as "Sha Qi."
Perhaps, we might consider that the ancient term "Kan Yu", Regularity of
Heaven and Ground, was the name of a study about the relation between the
motion of heaven and ground. If so, then the modern Feng Shui term "Kan Yu"
might give us a hint that Feng Shui study relates to the influence of the
relation between the motion of heaven and ground on a house/occupants, and
indicate that "Feng" might means "Qi".

A famous historical Feng Shui writing Qing Nang Xu says "In the age of Jin
Dynasty, Jing Chun (the other name of Guo Po's) passed down his Feng Shui
study." It is possible that Xuan Kong Feng Shui hypotheses developed fully
around the age of Jin Dynasty. Of course, we have no reason to believe that
just only Xuan Kong school of Feng Shui existed at that age, there were many
schools of Feng Shui that were based on different concepts. The excavation
Ri Shu, around the age of Qin Dynasty, has several paragraphs that tell
about the influence of the location of main door or surroundings of a house.
Those descriptions are very similar to some principles of Form school.

Some schools are based on "Form" concept mainly, and some are based on
metaphysics (Yi, Qi, ... etc.) mostly. Besides, some masters explained
famous Feng Shui masters' writings by their own idea while writings made
public, such as many masters interpret "Feng" with their own idea. That is
why so many factions of Feng Shui are generated. 

What is Qi?

"Qi" is the common concept, and is applicable to both classical schools of
Fung Shui. Some masters say that Qi is air, an invisible stream of energy,
cosmic radiation, spirit, the same Qi that flows through our body, cosmic
subtle energies, geomagnetic, invisible energies, life force, cosmic spirit,
cosmic breath, etc. It seems those "masters" collect all possible mysterious
substances to define Qi. Qi may be a kind of energy. Qi is indescribable and
subtle . No one is able to test their existence by advanced superior
scientific tools. In ancient Chinese view, Qi exist in the space between
Heaven and Ground, Qi cause periodic biological and climatic phenomena (as
bird migration, plant flowering, changes of natural inland scenery ), and
all creatures have different responses to different Qi. Further, they deemed
that terrain, the lay of the ground, or the appearance or look of mountain
shows us the different Qi of different region on the Ground such as
different astronomical phenomena associate with changes of those Qi. If so,
it is strange that why some masters attack Form School of Feng Shui both in
speech and in writing.

Yin-yang hypothesis derives from the revolutions of the sun and moon, day
and night, cold and warmth. In ancient people's philosophical thinking, four
seasons do not form without the replacement of day and night, the
revolutions of the sun and moon. At the day winter solstice, the shadow of
gnomon of sundial beomes longest, and the day is the year's shortest, and
the low temperatures associated with winter. At the day summer solstice, the
shadow of gnomon becomes shortest, and the day is the year's longest, and
the the high temperatures associated with summer. Ancient people created Yin
and Yang hypothesis to concretize the idea of the above-mentioned phenomena.
It is a simple and natural hypothesis. Furthermore, Yin-yang hypothesis is
extended to explain the relation between two relative oppositeness natures,
e.g. movement and rest, brightness and darkness, male and female, etc.
Ancient Chinese philosophers extended the concept of Yin-Yang hypothesis to
explain how did the universe come into being, and named the state of
nonexistence of anything as Wu Ji. In Yin-yang hypothesis, the best is the
balance of Yin and Yang. 

Some masters say that Feng Shui theories/principles root in Yi Jing, but
they are unable to give us any evidance. It is unbelievable that some Feng
Shui masters say the combination of Yin and Yang is Tai Ji. The actual
meaning of the term Tai Ji which is mentioned in Yi Jing/I Ching is "axis."
"Axis" (Tai Ji) creates two appearances (Liang Yi, Yin and Yang), and two
appearances creates four emblematic symbols or images (Si Xiang, four
seasons). Tai Ji does not mean the North Pole or Northstar because ancient
people knew nothing about "South Pole". It seems those masters know nothing
about Yi and Yi Jing. It is doubtful that some masters say a place near a
kindergarden or school lack the balance of Yin and Yang because of the
kindergarden or school fill with Yang Qi during the day and Yin Qi during
the night. If all creatures have different reponses to different Qi, it is
difficult to understand how come those school children learn and play
happily at kindergarden/school, a place lack balance of Yin and Yang, and
how come so many crack professionals gather at colleges and universities. 

Elders translated Wu Xing/Wu Hsing hypothesis as "Five-elements" because of
five elements are the content of Wu Xing hypothesis, an immutable cycle.
Five elements are the five basic components of the physical universe: wood,
fire, earth, metal, and water. These elements were believed to create,
destroy and succeed one another in an immutable cycle. Some masters say that
it is futile to try to seperate the Chinese character "Xing" from the term
"Wu Xing" and explain the single term "Xing" separately. Xing means "path",
"Wu Xing" means "Five paths." I found the meaning of the term "Xing" in Kang
Xi Zi Dian, a very famous and popular Chinese dictionary, by good luck.
Ancient people associated the distinguishing features of five elements with
periodic phenomena, and used the five basic components of the universe to
concretize the concept of seasonal changes. Plants germinate and continue to
grow during spring period of the year therefore wood becomes the symbolism
of the distinguishing feature of spring. Fire is the symbolism of the warmth
temperatures during summer period of the year. Autumn is harvesting of
crops, and sickle is used for harvesting. During autumn, Yin Qi causes
plants' leaves to wither and fall as a sickle cuts cereals. During winter,
water will freeze and become hard (stronger). About the "earth", I keep it
in secret, some masters say it promotes curiosity and stimulates learning.
Obviously, Productive/Creative/Enhancing Cycle derives from periodic
seasonal phenomena. Accordingly, it may be seen that the death of an element
raises the existence of next e five elements. For
example: The Productive Sequence; water nourished plants, wood makes fire,
wood burnt into ashes, earth is the source of ore, metal melted into liquid.
Ancient people also used five terms to describe the relational
characteristics between the dominant element and other elements. They are
Sheng, Wang, Shuai, Si and Sha. Further, ancient people extended the concept
of Wu Xing/Five Elements hypothesis and correlated it with musical tones,
bodily organs, etc. The Wu Xing hypothesis serve as a broad explanatory
principle in Chinese culture. I doubt that some masters only learn the
knowledge about Five-elements hypothesis from books so they can not explain
it clearly to student.

Do you doubt that why some masters just only tell you those cylces without
any fundamental knowledge about those cycles? Regrettably, some masters
probably think that westerners is hard to catch the concept of Qi, Yin-yang
and Five-elements so masters just only use terms Sheng Qi and Sha Qi to
explain the relational characteristics between the dominant element and
other elements for westerner's convenience. Do you think so, western is hard
to catch the above concept? I don't think so.

Perhaps, you all beginners firstly need to do more research and check out
books from library before you spend your money to buy those expensive high
quality "toilet paper."


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