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The Meaning of "Feng Shui"
The words "feng " and "shui" mean "wind" and "water", but Dr. Edgar Sung tell us that these words have not always stood on their own as they do today. These two words come from an ancient and very popular poem that was created to describe the ideal landscape for a site:
The wind is mild. The sun is warm. The water is clear. The vegetation, lush.
This was such a popular poem that as time passed people began to abbreviate it, so that when referring to the poem and richness of it"s meaning they called it simply "wind water" or "Feng Shui".
What is Feng Shui? What does it really mean?
What is Feng Shui?
We all know what discomfort is, whether we classify it as illness, edginess that cannot be explained, or just plain bad luck. We can find it anywhere - in our homes, offices, workplaces, with ourselves or in relation to one another. And we all have one thing in common; we yearn to find relief, a loveliness, a sense of flow, balance and good health.
Feng Shui (fung shway) is an ancient Chinese art and science which has been involved with the study of the relationship between Heaven, Man and Earth for over 3,000 years. Actually, Feng Shui itself is the study of the movement of Ch'i as well as the 'Chinese Art of Placement'. An interesting description of Ch'i is the idea of a vein of positive and negative energy, constantly moving and trading positions with itself, an activity which is the result of the theory of Yin and Yang. This energy courses through the earth, holding the earth together like a web. This grid of energy is where all Life derives its power. An invisible substance, Ch'i is a force which nonetheless has palpable and observable manifestations. It is thought of as not only the basis of activity - it is the activity itself. It expresses itself both in and around our Selves, permeating all life.
It is this pulse of life, the Life Force that students of Feng Shui observe and study, seeking to uncover the mysteries of the movement of Ch'i. The study of Feng Shui has many parts, but it is presented here for the sake of simplicity as having two basic parts.
Feng Shui per se is the study of the movement of Ch'i and the Chinese Art of Placement. Externally this involves studying the Ch'i of the Outer House - the flow energy of the state, county, city, neighborhood and plot of land in order to understand where to best place the structure or structures. Or, if the structure is already in place, it is the study of how to best enhance the property and the relation to its surroundings by manipulating the energetics of the land around the structure(s) in special ways. This includes landscape, and can involve the placement of a water feature, bell, flag or other objects.
Internally, issues of placement involve the relationship of the flow of chi throughout the Inner House, the inside of the structure. It is this part that refers to the placement of furniture, stove, bed, bathrooms, machines and so on. Certain objects also can be used very effectively to adjust of the flow of chi inside the home, office or workplace. This is also where feng shui adjustments and cures are used when a person desires personal transformation - stronger health, love, a new career, fame, wealth and prosperity and so forth.
This point of view can also be looked at by observing the chi of the individual or individuals which are be affected by the structure they spend time in, both at work and at home. This affects an individual's internal Ch'i as well as their external Ch'i. There are many external indications which reveal internal problems affecting an individual. How they feel and how they appear to be are two sides of the same coin - if you know how to read the signs correctly.
Feng Shui is also accompanied by the study of a whole group of special subjects referred to as Chinese Astrology which we will discuss a little later.
Differences between the Compass Schools and the BTB or BlackHat School
Feng Shui 'Schools'
Naturally there are many aspects which go into the study of the movement of Ch'i. And unfortunately for the beginning student, there are several schools that address these aspects which is the cause of lots of confusion for Westerners today when approaching the study of Feng Shui. For simplicity these schools can be broken down into two approaches.
Compass School Feng Shui
'Compass School' Feng Shui is based upon on ancient systems and observations, and is dependent upon the practiced use of a magnetic compass. A special Chinese compass designed hundreds of years ago is available which have many rings of charts each dedicated to a certain study, to make the information logical and accessible. This compass is called a luo pan. As far as homes and buildings are concerned, readings are taken standing at the front door looking out, and deal with the relationship between the structure and the degrees of the compass reading at varience with the direction North. Each degree has an exact judgement of afflictions, positive or negative. The luo pan, or compass, is such a marvelous instrument, a work of genius having many concentric rings with calculations to help in figuring a variety readings, and need information for correct calculations having to do with Birth date and place of the individual requesting help, and are in turn representative of a whole host of issues, most of which are classified as 'astrological' in nature. There are many people who question whether these judgements having to do with direction are valid since they were devised a couple of thousand years ago, considering that due North is different now than it was back then. The only way to find out is to try it for yourself and see what you think.
BTB Feng Shui
BTB Feng Shui (BlackHat Tantric Buddhism) is a new name to the subject of Feng Shui. The name is new, but it is based on the same traditional material of the compass school except that it does not rely on the luo pan as an instrument of directional positive-or- negative information. The charts needed to calculate all of the astrological information is derived from The Ten Thousand Years Book, which has finally been translated into English. BTB Feng Shui combines the essential and undeniable involvement of the culture's ancient wisdom teachings of Taoism, Yin/Yang Theory, I Ching, Confusianism, holistic healing, Feng Shui, Theory of Ch'i, folkloric studies, and Bön, the ancient indigenous spiritual traditions of Tibet. BTB Feng Shui was developed by Grandmaster Professor Lin Yun, the founder and supreme leader of the contemporary BlackHat Tantric Buddhism at its fourth stage.
BlackHat refers to the color of hat worn by Tibetan Monks of the Bön Tradition. Each group of Tibetan Buddhists have their own color of hat to identify their group, or sect. The Dalai Lama, for instance, belongs to the Galugpa sect, hence he wears a Yellow Hat. The word 'Tantric' refers to a range of esoteric sacred Bon/Buddhist practices.
Both the Compass schools and the BTB School rely upon similar techniques of Feng Shui adjustments and cures.
Both major schools of study also include the study of many astrological systems that help reveal the ingredients of the 'Man' part of the Heaven, Man and Earth equation. Issues reliant upon birth year, month, day and hour are scrutinized with amazingly predictive results. These studies include Four Pillars, Nine Star Ki, Eight Mansions, Flying Star and Purple Star. These studies alone can be tremendously helpful in the over-all feng shui of an individual's situation. Put them together with the understanding of the movement of Ch'i from an internal and external point of view, and you have an extremely powerful and helpful discipline.
Both schools of thought use the wisdom of the Form School to interpret the shape, meaning and geomancy of the land itself. Ancient rules come into play having to do with the study of the nature of the ch'i of the land itself - shape of mountains, sense of plains, wind, dryness, moisture, water and its movement. This study is very detailed and rich in a depth of logic and understanding that only years of sensitive study can reveal.
The Importance of a Teacher
The study and practice of Feng Shui is so deep, so vast, that it is a study for the lifetime. You can read books till the cows come home, but you can never truly learn the mysteries, logic and wisdom of the ancient treasures of knowledge of Feng Shui (or any wisdom teachings) unless they are presented to you in person through your Teacher. No matter what approach one learns in the study of Feng Shui, it is essential for each student to develop a deep gratitude and appreciation for the patience and kindness of our teachers, and to acknowledge them at every opportunity, giving them credit for all that have learned.