What Is Feng Shui? by Wyming P. Sun

***image1***“Feng Shui — is that about interior decorating?” “Feng Shui — that’s the superstition about wind chimes and mirrors, isn’t it?” “Feng Shui — so where is my wealth corner?” all of these ideas come from a short cut method that was invented in 1986 and bears the name of a tradition that died out centuries ago.

So why do we call it Feng Shui and what is Feng Shui about? Feng Shui is about chi. Chi is the name of something in the air that comprises the difference between fresh air and stale air. In modern Chinese, Chi is often translated as air. I remember talking about Chi Gong with a teacher from China who said, “I studied with a master when I was a boy, and I can still feel the air in my body.”

There can be fresh chi or stale chi in the air depending on whether you are near a gardener a garbage dump. Most books in English will tell you that Feng Shui in Chinese means “wind and water” — but what does “wind and water” have to do with how you arrange your house?

Feng Shui was first used as the name of this discipline in the fourth century by the great Master Guo Pu. He wrote a book called TSANG SHU, in which he said “Chi, the energy of nature, rides on the wind and stops at the edge of water.”

Last year I analyzed a house that was owned by a divorcee who lived there with her teenage son. She was having trouble with her job, with her memory, and her teenage son was having trouble in school.

The house was a typical ranch style house. When I walked out into the back yard, I looked up and saw the Eiffel tower. Her neighbor was a ham radio operator and had built a thirty-five foot radio antenna right next to the wall separating their back yards. I turned to the lady and said, “Have you been having bad dreams?” Then it all came out — how she had spent her money for fifteen years going to a psychiatrist.

At night she would have vivid, color, three-dimensional experiences of aliens forcing her into their spacecraft and lifting her high, high above the earth and making her bend and twist like a contortionist so they could do experiments with her. She thought she was going crazy. She went to UFP support groups.

I said to her, “That isn’t you. It’s that radio antenna.” The expression of surprise and relief on her face was indescribable. I said, “Why don’t you let me spend this time helping you to find a good house? It isn’t that hard to do.” This is what my ancestors would have done. The great master Jiang Da Hong in the sixteenth century said, humorously, “If something is tall enough to hit the roof of your house, what is that good for? You already know it isn’t good.”

My new friend had reasons why she didn’t want to do this — “My job is nearby, my son’s school is nearby. “Could you just help me fix this one?” So I placed the beds and the desk, the computer and the piano — all the pieces of furniture where they spent a lot of time. Then I said, “I want you to put the tallest trees you can afford between your bedroom and the antenna, right next to the wall.”

I didn’t mention water because I didn’t have the habit then that I have now of asking for the birth information before the audit so that I could calculate which directions would be safe for someone of that body type. Water can make you well very fast, and it can also make you sick very fast. You need to make sure you are on the fresh air side of it.

I saw her a week later at a party at our mutual friends’ house. “How is everything?”

“Well, I am remembering better. I’m doing better at my job and my son is doing better in school.”

“What about the dreams?” When I do a piece of work, if there is something more that is needed, I want to know.

“Well, I am sleeping more, but I still have the dreams. I am not so frightened as I was.”

I said, “Get the biggest fountain or the biggest fish pond you can afford and put it in a straight line between your bedroom and the antenna, right next to the wall.” I had measured the angle when I was there and had check that it would be safe to put water there.

She did. And that night the dreams stopped.

None of my ancestors had to deal with radio antennas. But Guo Pu in the fourth century had laid down the principle, “Chi rides on the wind and stops at the edge of water.” This is true of fresh chi as well as stale chi. Think of it. We have a lot of metal in the human body. The hemoglobin in human blood contains a lot of iron. If someone took a magnet and pulled all my iron one way and another while I was asleep, I would think that someone was forcing me to bend and twist against my will.

Some western scholars think that the discipline of Feng Shui only goes back to the fourth century because the term is not used before Guo Pu’s book. Actually the art is much older. It is mentioned in older literature — under different names.

***image2***In the Han Dynasty (200 BCE) it was called Kan Yu — “The canopy of the sky, the chariot of the earth.” This name can also be taken as an injunction, “Look up and observe the sky, look down and observe the earth.” This is what you do in a Feng Shui analysis. You observe if the people are getting a balance of sky energy versus earth energy.

In even older literature this discipline is called Di Li. In modern Chinese, this means geography. In ancient use, it means something like “geomorphology” — to use a college term. When the wind blows sand against a rock and sculpts it, that is Di Li. When a river silts up its bed and diverts to another, that is Di Li — how the land changes shape as time passes. It would be reasonable to ask how old Feng Shui is.

According to archaeology, it is four thousand eight hundred years. There was a tomb opened up in the late 1970’s where the head of the deceased was toward the north. The wall of the tomb around the head was circular, symbolizing the influence of the sky or the spiritual world. The foot of the tomb was square, symbolizing the support of the environment. To the right, which was the west,

there was a mosaic in cowry shells of a tiger, symbolizing the wind from the west. T o the east, in cowry shells, there was a mosaic of a dragon, symbolizing the rain from the east. Over the sarcophagus there was a cloth embroidered with the seven stars of the Big Dipper plus the left and right guardian stars.

Four thousand eight hundred years ago it was practiced much as it is today. But why are there different schools and how do we know which ones are real?

To be continued next month.

© Wyming P. Sun 2005

You can reach Wyming to ask questions or to schedule an appointment by e-mailing him at: housemagic2000@yahoo.com.

Holistic New York Feng Shui Masters Training The New York Open Center offers a professional certificate program in the ancient art of Feng Shui.

Feng Shui The Indian Feng Shui Author, Tania Ahsan gives an overview and case study on Vasstu Shastra — India’s ancient version of Feng Shui.

by Wyming P. Sun
Wyming P. Sun, classical Feng Shui consultant, is the son of a native born Chinese gentleman and an American lady. He has practiced classical Feng Shui professionally for almost ten years and has been the indoor pupil of a Taiwan master for the past two.