Feng Shui in the Far East Essays and Papers

This essay has a total of 2796 words and 12 pages.

Feng Shui in the Far East

Feng Shui has been practiced in China for centuries. Throughout ancient China,

masters of Feng Shui "were highly respected meteorologists, astronomers, and other

scientists and who were charged with sustaining the good fortune and prosperity of the

royal court. It has been guardedly passed down the generations through very specific

lineages" (Feng Shui Advisors). It was widely practiced in modern-day China until the

Cultural Revolution when Chairman Mao utilized mass force to destroy those with different
ideas (Craze 9). It has evolved to be both a science and/or an art, depending on whose
opinion is being given or taken. The science comes from the calculations and methodology
used to analyze the space/site that one lives or works in. Some consider it an art because
there are many aspects to it, and, ultimately, it is up to the person living/working in
the space to determine whether it "feels right" for him/her. Chuen states, "It is an
analytical system developed, not by one person, but by a centuries-old cumulative
tradition based on meticulous observation and experimentation" (8). Feng Shui is also
described as an "art of arranging one's life in accordance with the forces of the
universe," and it "stretches back over at least 7000 years and probably far further"
(Chuen 14). Feng Shui literally stands for wind and water: two of the most basic forms of
life's energy. "Without air we die within seconds." "While we can live weeks without food,
without water we soon perish" (Chuen 14).

The I Ching, or "Book of Changes" is an ancient Chinese divination manual and book of
wisdom. It is a sacred text that ancestors of ancient China received through their
meditative and spiritual practices. Made up of eight trigrams, or gua (kua) and sixty-four
hexagrams (combinations of two trigrams) the symbols of the I Ching are known for its
oracular qualities (Chuen 24). Each of the eight trigrams, or gua (kua) is associated with
an element and a set of specific qualities, polarities, colors, etc. The I Ching, combined
with the five elements theory, form the foundation of many Chinese arts, including martial
arts, medicine, music, and of course Feng Shui. The I Ching is important to Feng Shui
because it contains the "64 hexagrams [that] are important as they combine the eight house
directions with the eight enrichments to arrive at 64 different readings for home
arrangements" (Craze 50).

There are many different aspects to Feng Shui, making it very difficult to understand;
however, there are a few basic elements of Feng Shui that one can easily understand and
incorporate into his/her life. There are three types of Feng Shui. First there is Compass
or Lo P'an Feng Shui. "This approach relies heavily on the use of a traditional Feng Shui
compass, called a ‘lo p'an'." "The compass consists of 64 rings," and is used "to
determine whether your house is ‘right' for you" (Craze 10). The second type is
Directional or Pah Kwa Feng Shui. "This type of Feng Shui makes use of the direction your
house faces to derive information, as well as dividing the house into eight areas, or
enrichments¾the ‘pah kwa' (sometimes spelled ‘bagua')¾that govern every area of your
life, including relationships, family, career, and health" (Craze 11). The third type is
Intuitive or Yin Yang Feng Shui. "This school of Feng Shui deals with the way energy flows
in and around your home and how you fit in with that energy" (Craze 11).

The purpose of this paper is to explain some basic principles of Feng Shui while showing
how the topic is relevant to the geography of Asia. Since there are numerous principles to
Feng Shui, I have researched and will explain some of the very basics of it. For example,
what ch'i is, the eight remedies, the four compass directions and what they represent, the
five elements and what they represent, the eight types of ch'i (cosmic life force/energy)
and their effects, the four/five symbolic animals, and how to apply all of this to one's
home. Even within these topics, there are contradicting beliefs and practices, so I will
explain it the way it was described by the majority of the people I researched.

Literature Review
I have researched the topic of Feng Shui on the Internet and at the library. I also bought
two books about Feng Shui. One is Feng Shui Handbook: how to Create a Healthier Living and
Working Environment by Master Lam Kam Chuen. The other book is Feng Shui Made Easy: An
introduction to the basics of the ancient art of feng shui by Richard Craze. I watch
decorating shows almost every day, and they often contain segments on how to decorate
using Feng Shui. In our textbook Dragons and Tigers: A Geography of South, East and
Southeast Asia there is a small part dedicated to explaining the basics of Feng Shui. From
all of the above sources, I chose to explain the very basics of Feng Shui because, after
researching the topic, I found that there are very extensive principles regarding Feng

I have done my study by going to the library, searching the Internet, watching television
shows, reading my textbook (Dragons and Tigers) and I also bought two books

about Feng Shui. I analyzed all of the material I found on Feng Shui, and I presented the
problem and findings in this paper. There wasn't much information at the library, so I
went to the bookstore and bought the two books on Feng Shui. I compared and contrasted the
information in the two books, and most of it was the same; however, within the two books
there are contradictory statements about the number of symbolic animals there are.

I have watched several decorating show in the past few years that presented discussions
and basic tutorials on how to arrange one's home using some fundamental principles of Feng
Shui. This past acquaintance with the topic helped me better understand some of the
principles of Feng Shui. It also helped me grasp the principles that I was not familiar
with before.

I obtained information about Feng Shui from the Internet, and I compared that information
with that from the two books I bought. I also found some informative pictures on the
Internet that helped explain some of the principles of Feng Shui.

"East Asia has its own ‘geographic tradition'"¾Feng Shui (Weightman 228). Many
important sites and buildings in Asia were designed using the principles of Feng Shui.
Some of these buildings/sites include The Heavenly Altar in Beijing, The Taj Mahal, and
The Forbidden City. The Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank and The Bank of China are two modern
structures designed using Feng Shui principles. "The Hyatt Hotel in Singapore has reported
considerable upturn in business since it adapted its building to improve the feng shui"
(Craze 55). Many other buildings (and their grounds) in the Far East are designed using
Feng Shui principles because Feng Shui is such a large part of their culture. Since Feng
Shui originated in Asia, one cannot study the geography of Asia without discovering the
ancient art/science of Feng Shui.

Ch'i is the cosmic life force or positive energy that the principles of Feng Shui are
based on. "If the energy we receive is stagnant or unhealthy, it will affect us in a
detrimental way, and we will suffer from bad luck, loss of money, poor-quality
relationships, and ill-health" (Craze 6). We must "correct the flow of energy and make it
healthy again" (Craze 6). There are eight remedies that correspond to eight compass
directions that are used to correct bad ch'i. They are (1) light (South) which includes
mirrors and candles, (2) color (Northeast), (3) sound (Northwest) which includes wind
chimes, bells, or any other device that produces some type of sound, (4) life (Southeast)
which includes live plants and pets, (5) movement (North) including flags blowing in the
wind and flowing water, (6) functional objects (East) like televisions and computers, (7)
stillness (West) such as statues and ornaments, and (8) straight lines (Southwest) like
scrolls and swords (Craze 12-3). All of these remedies are associated with different
"enrichment areas where it functions best" (Craze 14).

The four Compass Directions are very important in Feng Shui. "West is an area of
unpredictability…I t contains warfare and strength, anger, suddenness, and potential
violence." "The ch'i from the west is unpredictable." "South represents luck…fame and
fortune, happiness, light, joy, and hope…and the ch'i that comes from the south is
invigorating." "North represents the hidden, mysterious, coldness, sleep, ritual, nurture,
and caring…and the ch'i from the north is protective and nurturing." East is an area of
"protection, culture, wisdom…and represents new growth, kindness, and learning…and the
ch'i from the east is expansive and mature" (Craze 16-7).

Yin and yang are very important elements in Feng Shui. Yin and yang "shouldn't be seen as
opposites, although they do have certain characteristics that might be taken that way: the
yang principle is known as the male principle, whereas the yin is the female. "However,
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