Sunday, March 30, 2008

Is FengShui Superstition?


Contemporary FengShui has been given a lot of publicity, and public debate as to what it is and how to classify it still rages on. There are people who consider FengShui as an art, and some consider it as a Science, and some take the middle position and consider it both an Art and a Science. Whatever position anyone may take, the indisputable fact remains: Qi will affect anyone and everyone, irrespective of their beliefs; and FengShui will continue to evolve irrespective of whether it is a Science or an Art.

On the surface, in FengShui study and practice, there is no superstition whatsoever. But the word ‘superstition’ has multiple meanings and it would be debate material for some, if they want to argue about it. But in this discourse I will not try to debate on the different notion of ‘superstition’ and would rather let the reader decide whichever to believe.

Let us now look at a perspective of FengShui that is sometimes brought up in forums -- Is FengShui Magic or Miracle?

Now can we define FengShui as Magic or Miracle? Well why not? If and if a Fengshui Master could harness the invisible Qi to correct an adverse household situation, would that be a form of “magic” or “miracle”? He is taking “something from nowhere” -- something not seen by naked eyes, something not understood by the uninitiated, something that is ‘not real’ to the non-believers – would that be defined as “magic” or “miracle”? FengShui has never been proven “scientifically” in the context of contemporary mainstream definition of Science. Therefore is Fengshui superstition too?

Well, when we are talking about harnessing Qi, something that is intangible and mysterious, we might as well be talking about the emptiness, the void as in the cosmic universe. Or the concept of Emptiness as in Buddhism, whereby everything can be as seen in conventional reality, the flesh and bones of a person, but in the ultimate reality, that person is “Empty” or “Void” of inherent existence. That person cannot exist all by himself. That person can only exist dependant on a myriad of factors.

That “Void” is something so mysterious and so hard to grasp or comprehended by our simple human minds. This ‘void’ could have in it a myriad of things going on that our naked eyes cannot see. And, this “Void”, is being called by the many ancient Masters of Fengshui and Metaphysics, the Xuan Kong 玄空.

It is an indescribable ‘place’ or ‘space’ whichever you like to call it. It is in the Void where things happen, where Qi moves and flows, where different Qi marries to produce ShengQi生 气 or Sha, and where the invisible hands of the power of the Cosmic Universe manipulates.

These ancient masters knew that there is something there, that when the harnessing of Qi is done correctly, beneficial things can happen. They knew it works, based on the Metaphysical formulas passed down from generation to generation. Even contemporary Masters and practitioners, those who have experimented and researched FengShui formulas, and found that it works, are also “feeling” the existence of the “Void”, but, for whatever reasons, many could not or would not talk about it in detail.

As for me, after studying FengShui, practicing it and doing research on it also knew that the Xuan Kong does exist. But people like us who are just mere mortals could only get a whiff of it and be satisfied that we have the conviction to believe in its existence. The Mysterious Void or Xuan Kong, is surely an attractive destination for many who would like to really experience the Truth.

It is a very difficult task to describe Xuan Kong with mere words, much more difficult to describe it in a short chapter like this. There are books on the concept of Emptiness (or in Fengshui terms Xuan Kong) in Buddhism that has somethng like hundreds of pages, and even after reading the whole book, there is no guarantee that the reader can really understand and experience or realize the Emptiness. Therefore I will also leave it to the readers to explore and research themselves into this subject of Xuan Kong.

Is believing in the Void or Emptiness superstition?

This too, I am going to leave it to the readers to come to their own conclusion as to whether believing in the Void or Emptiness and on the whole, FengShui, is superstition or not. What remains is for the many who appreciate it, who are learning it and are practicing it, to hold an open and logical mind and ponder over its significance.

Let us move on to other things, like – the conflicting opinion that certain placement methods as advocated by some FengShui practitioners, especially the New Age FengShui schools, are deemed as superstition.

Purists and Classical FengShui practitioners disagree that the placement of items such as a Chai Shen statue or a Three Legged Frog figurine can change an adverse FengShui situation to a better one.

If we base FengShui purely on the perspective of it being “the manipulation of the environment to produce beneficial Sheng Qi”, then would the placement of, for example, a Chai Shen figurine, be enough to produce Sheng Qi? Can it, by sitting in a certain sector as advocated by certain Masters, produce Sheng Qi? Is there a reaction within XuanKong produced by the presence of the said figurine in a certain sector of the house?

Logically, it could not generate Sheng Qi at all, but what it could produce is most probably only an aesthetic perception!! These placement methods while being quite illogical from the standpoint of Sheng Qi generation, is in actual fact, bordering on the superstitious.

There is no way a figurine, by itself, can react with the Qi flow of the sector where it is placed. The only possibility is that the material of the figurine, especially if it is made up singly of any of the 5 elements, may have some reaction with the Qi flow to produce either Sheng Qi or Sha.

This concept comes from the theory of the ‘5 elements’ generation and control cycles’. For example in Xuan Kong FengShui, if a certain sector has an abundance of Earth Qi that could be malevolent, then, placing a substantial amount of metal in that very sector could deplete the malevolent Qi and balance the Qi factor.