Thursday, November 19, 2009

I need feng shui cures? Are you kidding me?

According to some Western feng shui guru, they claimed that the sha chi or poison arrow (a building corner form another building) pointing at your home or office can be easily cured by using a mirror (6" mirror for small arrows, and 12" mirrors for big arrows to be exact) to deflect the strong energy away. They also claimed that It is so powerful that it can even deflect circular driveways, cemeteries, funeral homes, noisy neighbors, trash dumps etc. away from you....:-)
Let us look at the above photograph of a typical landscape of Hong Kong. If according to the Western feng shui guru, then a lot of people will be in serious trouble because there are so many corners from the buildings pointing at each other. However, contrary to what they are saying, a lot of the local people  are multimillionaire, because of the value of their property! Furthermore, it will be very interesting to see a war of mirrors pointing at each other if they follows the advice of the Western feng shui guru.....:-)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Authentic Feng Shui Way

"To disbelieve is not disapprove, to believe is not to prove "

If you talk to the non-believers, feng shui is an ancient Chinese “superstition”. They do not believe hanging a wind chime and a new arrangement of furniture will improve the fortune. While on the other hand, those who practicing feng shui will swear to you that it really works and their life has improved after applying feng shui guidelines to enhance their environment.
The foundation concept of feng shui is based on the "Book of Changes" or I Ching, the Taoist belief of yin and yang, Lo-Shu numbers, the principles of Five Elements, Pa Kua and the Flying Stars calculations etc., all combined to form a sophisticated philosophy of our relationship with the universe. Therefore, if someone did not buy into these concepts, then feng shui can be deemed as a superstition or belief that has no scientific grounds as the most important element of feng shui which is "chi", can not be seen or measured.
In my personal experience, I believe that feng shui is a form of Chinese metaphysics, existed a few thousand years ago. It is the experience and study into what types of things there are in the world and what relations these things bear to one another. Unlike science, its phenomena cannot be measurable through experimental studies; rather it has to be experience through our inner minds. Therefore, to believe or disbelieve in feng shui is all up to one’s personal decision.
If someone already living in a steady and comfortable environment, it is not advisable to pick up feng shui. The reason is once you believe in feng shui and follows the advice from the feng shui guru, then there will be a lot of “do's” and “don’t's” to be followed; consciously in the mind there will be worries and concerns which will affect the daily life. However, if one really adopt feng shui and even willing to hire an expert to make sure everything is fine in the house, there is no reason to criticize or discourage this kind of practice. The most important thing in life is to achieve the peace of mind which is the Tao of feng shui - to live in harmony with the environment.
Remember, feng shui cannot bring you everything you want; it still needs your own efforts to achieve your goals! Interestingly, in his book “Joey Yap’s Pure Feng Shui”, Joey Yap has the following insight:
“Feng shui constitutes only 33 percent of the equation for success in life-the earth luck factor. Your capacity of success, in whatever area you want, is also dictated to the extent of 33 percent by what is known as your destiny code-this is the heaven luck factor. And your own efforts (perseverance, patience, persistence, hard work, determination etc.)-the man luck factor-account for 33 percent of the outcome as well. So, while feng shui is important, it is not the be-all and end-all.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Feng Shui in the Modern World

From all the years of pursuing my interest in feng shui, it never ceased to amaze me with the growing of its acceptance and popularity to so many people and big corporations in different parts of the world. Some example of famous believers often mentioned are Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Richard Branson, Madonna and Boy George etc., and also the Bank of England and major UK real estate agents/developers like Hamptons and Wimpey homes. Recently, the Los Angeles Zoo paid $4,500 to a non-Asian feng shui expert to ensure three endangered gold monkeys on loan from China can have a strong life force (ch’i) in the enclosure. As in the most Asian of mainland American regions, California State Assemblyman, Leland Y. Lee has introduced a resolution that urges the Californian Building Standards Commission to adopt standards and the use of feng shui principles by the planning agencies, building departments and design review boards. Last but not least, in 2005, Disney acknowledged feng shui as an important part of Chinese culture by shifting the main gate to Hong Kong Disneyland by twelve degrees in their building plan, among many other actions suggested by the master planner or architecture and design at Walt Disney Imagineering, Wing Chao.
With my background in Architecture, together with lifelong research and personal interest, I approached feng shui with an open and questioned mind. Indeed, I can see most of the essential points of feng shui can be transformed into the Western planning and design of physical environments without any difficulties. In fact, most of its practices have a basic in common sense. Professionals like town planners, architects, interior designers and landscape gardeners can all use this ancient technique as the guide lines to design their projects. An extreme example is an architect in Australia who designed a house without any corners as per his client's feng shui master to make sure that it had perfect ch’i or "positive energy" which is the most important component of feng shui, to flow freely in the house. Also, in Indonesia, an university lecturer had written an article in Indonesia’s biggest newspaper, advocating feng shui as a guiding principle to Indonesia’s future architecture. There are also other institutions like Singapore Polytechnic and the New York College of Health Professions, where many students (including engineers and interior designers) take courses on feng shui every year and go to become feng shui consultants.
Feng shui has also widely adopted in interior design profession in the Western world. An interesting example is a McDonald’s fast food restaurant in Hacienda Heights, California, which was redesigned using the feng shui principles and ideas, in which customers are responding positively with comments like “relaxing”, “open” and “don’t feel any pressure”. Therefore, it is not surprising that Alex Stark, who is a graduate at Yale in architecture, has used mainly feng shui concepts and ideas to design all his commercial shops and offices and with great success.
However, in recent years, we have witnessed the development of feng shui in the Western world is in the stage of an explosion of different theories and practices of feng shui especially among non-Asians, who has created a chaos of conflicting interpretation of ideas and techniques. One can easily find many feng shui books and numerous Web sites offering consultation service and  "quick" trainings by the so-called masters.
A ludicrous example of which I believe did not have much ground on traditional feng shui principles is a new version of feng shui called “feng che” (literally means “wind” and “vehicle”) had emerged and gain ground in LA. They deal primarily with the ch’i of the vehicle by telling people how to “dress-up” the vehicle (like putting a tiny fish tank attached to the rear windows etc.) to tap the positive ch’i. Interestingly, it also advising people to avoid the number of four-way intersections (which generate negative ch’i), in driving from one’s home to the office. Meanwhile, the desire of the believers to drive to and from the office via winding roads with a minimum of sharp angles has contributed to the massive traffic jams reported on Laurel Canyon Boulevard, Mulholland Drive and the Bel Air portion of Sunset Boulevard! I suspect there were some people all smiling as the consultant fee is a whopping US$500-$700 per hour!
Besides the bizarre form of feng shui used in vehicles, some “experts” think it also works for pets! There is another variation of feng shui called “fur shui” which claims will create harmony between pets, and some owners are willing to rearrange their lives so the lives of their pets are in balance! If this is not enough, how about a feng shui “make over”? Yamaguchi, in his new book “Feng Shui Beauty”, believes you can feng shui yourself. According to him, feng shui beauty is reading people’s energy by accessing which of the feng shui “elements” best described his or her characters and reflecting that on the outside by beauty make-up.
Understandably, it is with this kind of “intuitive” approach to feng shui by some that prompted numerous negative comments and accusations from the “critics” and non-believers. Terms like “failures of feng shui”, “architecture acupuncture”, “new age scam”, “corrupted art” and "McFengshui" etc. appeared in a lot of blog sites and even in some television shows like the “Bullshit” documentary. In view of this, recently there is a move by some feng shui schools toward certification programs to ensure quality among their practitioners. Consequently, feng shui associations are springing up all over the world; continuous education is being stressed to recent graduates, and advanced certification requirements at some institutions are regularly “raising the ceiling” on quality.
However there is far to go, because feng shui is an ancient art which is complicated even to the Chinese practicing professionals. It requires many years of dedicated study of Taoism, a profound knowledge of the classical Chinese texts like I-Ching,( 易經)“Book of Changes”, Kaogong ji (考工記)“Manual of Crafts”, and Rules for builders codified in the carpenter’s manual Lu ban jing (魯班經), before one can set out as feng shui practitioner.
To conclude, I like to quote what Douglas Adams presented in his speech at Digital Biota 2 Cambridge U.K., 1998 about feng shui:
“…So, my argument is that as we become more and more scientifically literate, it's worth remembering that the fictions with which we previously populated our world may have some function that it's worth trying to understand and preserve the essential components of, rather than throwing out the baby with the bath water; because even though we may not accept the reasons given for them being here in the first place, it may well be that there are good practical reasons for them, or something like them, to be there. I suspect that as we move further and further into the field of digital or artificial life we will find more and more unexpected properties begin to emerge out of what we see happening and that this is a precise parallel to the entities we create around ourselves to inform and shape our lives and enable us to work and live together…”

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Yin and Yang

According to the I Ching, or the Book of Changes, the Chinese believe there are two cosmic forces, Yin and Yang, two opposing yet complementary energies that shape the universe and everything in it. It can also express as “polarity” which is similar to a bipolar magnetic field. That is, it is of two parts: one creating an exertion and one receiving the exertion.

The yin and yang accomplish changes in the universe through the five materials agents or “elements” in feng shui (metal, wood, water, fire and earth/soil), which produce one another and overcome one another. In general, all phenomena can be understood using yin-yang and the five agents. For example, under yang are the principles of male, the sun, creation, heat, light, Heaven and so on; while under ying are the principles of female, the moon, completion, cold, darkness etc. Each of these opposites produces the other: Heaven creates the ideas of things under yang; the earth produces their material forms under yin, and vice versa. This production of yin and yang and yang and yin occurs cyclically and constantly. Together yin and yang constitute a balance whole known as Tao – or “the Way” – the eternal principle of heaven and earth in harmony.

Thus, achieving good feng shui results has much to do with balancing the yin and yang elements in our environments. Lillian Too, a feng shui consultant, in her book, “The Complete Illustrated Guide to Feng Shui” make a telling point:

"Because the intangible forces that determine environment balance are continually changing, practitioners of feng shui must constantly alert to the alternations – whether they are man-made or caused by natural phenomena… it requires constant adaptation, and a true feng shui practitioner will be constantly alert to the need for change."

In recent times, the air pollution problems that contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer have shows that the world has lost its balance of yin and yang. More environmental problems have cropped up of late. For instance, the polar ice caps are melting faster, the world’s forest is being depleted; pollution is spreading fast, a lot of species of animal life are on the brink of extinction. In short, all this shows that the force of nature are often no longer in harmony with the presence of Earth’s most destructive occupant, which is the severe weather changes in different parts of the world. Furthermore, the pollution problem in modern industrialization had affected the forces of air and water (which are the masters of change); therefore, it is only natural for the elements to spread these contaminants with the changes that they bring.

In his book “The Way to Harmony Feng Shui”, Albert Low illustrated that:

"In feng shui, it is said that to disturb the Heavens and Earth, and to throw them out of harmony with the natural order of things, is like pushing the living Dragon down a steep, high cliff. If the powerful Dragon decided to fight back, Man must be very careful with his next move, because the angry creature would surely unleash a terrible vengeance on the offenders."

With the main emphasis on keeping the yin and yang in harmony with our environment, I think to a certain extent, we can label feng shui as the oldest form of “environmental science” or “green science”!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Feng Shui Parallels With Western Science

The main objective of Feng Shui is to harness ch’i, which is invisible and apparently all around us. Parallels can be drawn between ch’i and various forms of energy described in Western science where energy fields are investigated using various instruments. Compasses, for instance, are sensitive to magnetic fields. Feng shui masters also use compasses. Professor Max Knoll suggested in 1951 lecture that ch’i is a form of solar radiation. Compasses reflect local geomagnetism which includes geomagnetic induced currents caused by space weather.

Feng Shui hold that the heavens influence life on Earth. This coincide with the study of space weather which indicated that it can have profound effects on technology (GPS, power grids, pipelines, communication and navigation systems), and the internal orienting faculties of birds and other creatures. There is some evidence that suicide rates in Kirovsk, Russia, fluctuate along with the geomagnetic field. If we look at feng shui practice, the feng shui masters also advised against living too near to transmission lines and towers, but explain the reason as being the likelihood of being affected by the shar ch’i.  As in Cesano, Italy, the Vatican says it has been reducing electromagnetic emission form its broadcast antennas due to its link to an inordinately high level of child leukemia in the area.

In urban landscape, feng shui practitioners considerd streets are little like rivers. Under this logic, it is not safe to live in a house situated at the top of a T-junction where a long, straight road aiming at the house, the reason is that the straight road will generate the shar ch’i which will cause harm to the occupants. To a certain extent, this make sense as when a vehicle traveling along the straight road might, if it did not brake or turn adequately, will end up in the property. This is well justified in the incident happened recently in Toronto, Canada, where two vehicles sail through an intersection and slammed into the same house within three weeks! Is this a coincidence or not? 

Friday, March 13, 2009

Is Feng Shui For You

[“氣乘風則散, 界水則止.” 古人聚之使不散, 行之使有止, 故謂之風水.] -郭璞 [葬經]

“Ch’i rides the wind and scatters, but is retained when encountering water.”
The words feng shui literally translate as "wind-water" in English. This is the cultural shorthand taken from the above passage of the Zhangshu (Book of Burial) by Guo Pu of the Jin Dynasty.
This sentence form one of the ancient classic text basically summed up the essence of feng shui: To capture the vital ch’i (氣) which is the energy and the life force that pervades human existence.
In the ancient times, feng shui practice can be divided into two categories: a) to locate the auspicious sites of grave for the dead, b) auspicious habitable dwellings for the living, both using similar ideas and principles. In general, there are two different school of thought, the Form School (巒頭) which primarily dealing with the formation of the hills and mountains and the direction of the watercourses and its relationship with the surrounding; and the Ba Gua or the Compass School (理氣), which emphasis on certain calculations, using the symbols of I Ching (易經) or “Book of Changes”, the Lo Shu numbers, the concept of the Five Elements and the 24 directions of the compass to determine the good or ill of the site.
In short, feng shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy of seeking and creating an environment that will nourish our homes and our lives. It is the combination of traditional theories, a few thousand years of tried and true methodologies and applications used by the Chinese to ensure that all things are in harmony with their surroundings.

According to an ancient Chinese proverb “一命,二運,三風水, 四積陰得, 五讀書” - which means the astrological order of factors that affect one's fortune is fate, luck, feng shui, good deeds and lastly, education. According to the Chinese, apart from the influence of good feng shui, hard works and good deeds are also required to be successful in life. To a certain extent, this is quite true. I believed that feng shui will not help you to win the lottery and it is not magic. Therefore, it is amazed to see so many "masters" claimed that fortune and fame will come in abundance if you follow their advice! 
There is another Chinese proverb saying that “福人住福地” which literally means that a lucky person will always able to find an auspicious house to live even though he does not believe or practice feng shui. In truth, if you are now in good wealth, healthy and living in a comfortable home, you don't need feng shui, because you have already achieved its ultimate goal: living harmonious with the natural order.
Very often, it is the rich and famous who can afford to hire expensive feng shui “experts” and the expense of the massive altering of architecture or design, and even the moving from place to place that is sometimes will cost a fortune. Therefore, some people who can’t afford all these expenses start to lost faith in feng shui, saying that it is only a game for the rich. Nonetheless, I believe if you can approach feng shui with an attitude of open mind, and the desire to improve the quality of your life, you can still well on your way to some rewarding feng shui experience without being rich or famous!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Virtual Worlds Feng Shui

I want to share this wonderful clip of "Virtual World Feng Shui" with you all. Sit back and enjoy!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Feng Shui For Bad Times

During these economic downturns, nothing seems right for many of us. We all know that feng shui will not prevents banks and big coporations from collasping, but it will surely provide us the necessary positive energy and motivation to face the difficult times ahead of us. For instance, you can try the followings:

1. Try to clean up the clutters in your house. Especially in your front entrance, kitchen and master bedroom. Make sure you get rid of all old electronic appliances or equipments. Spend less time on your cell phone or computer. Too much fire elements around you is not desirable in 2009.

2. You needs a lot of metals elements to improve your luck in 2009. For example, wear a gold chain or bracelet or use more decorating items made of gold, silver, copper, brass etc., in your house.

3. Try to have your working desk or computer desk at home/ office facing South-East if you are born in the spring and summer months, and facing North-West when you are born in the autumn or winter months. These are the auspicious sectors/orientation that you want to enhance using the principles of Ba-gua.

4. Put something you consider that is lucky to you on the left hand side of the working desk. If possible, a Chinese bamboo plant is even better.

In bad times, I believe we must have the determination to make "changes" or adjustments to our current state in order to cope with the difficult situations; and feng shui can surely motivate us to make sound "changes" to our environment. You want to give it a try?

Well, if this is not enough for you, here are the suggestions from Jennifer Ellen Frank, a feng shui consultant in New York City:

#1-Place a mirror at the entrance of your home to pull in chi for opportunity for those who live there. If you have stairs flowing straight to the front door, your money leaves very quickly. Slow this down with pictures along the wall and plants at the bottom of the steps.

#2-Keep your kitchen clean and uncluttered. If you can set up the stove so the cook can see the door. If the stove is already in place, put a mirror behind the stove. That way four burners become eight for multiplication of wealth.

#3-Repair all leaks in the kitchen and bathrooms to prevent money from going down the drain. By the same logic, and males family members take note, keep the toilet lid down to prevent money from being flushed away.

#4-Use the colors purple, red and green to support prosperity energy. Enhance this energy with the placement of a still life of a mountain and water.

#5-Pull that old lava lamp out of storage or purchase a new one. The undulating motions, or for that matter anything electronic or moving, help keep money circulating in your life.

#6-Get a fountain and/or goldfish. These represent the flowing of money to you.

#7-Display symbols of wealth around your home. Money and gold objects, even coins will do. If you can locate one, put out a gold Chinese Money Frog. This is a three-legged statue of a frog or toad with a coin in its mouth.

#8-Frame and hang up a picture of a million dollar bill. You can get a fake one online and that's okay. The symbol, even "Monopoly" game money provides visual reference for circulating prosperity.

#9-Also, cut out pictures of luxury items from magazines. Try a Porsche, an amazing country house, and a yacht. These represent the aspiration of "having it all" and are magnets for positive energy.

#10-Put a jade plant on the table. The jade plant is the Chinese version of a money tree.

Good luck!