Feng shui

Feng shui

pic=Fengshui Compass.jpg
Luopan Compass
vie=Phong thủy
tha=ฮวงจุ้ย ("Huang Jui")
j= fung1 seoi2

Feng shui (zh-tsp|t=風水|s=风水|p=fēng shuǐ; pronEng|ˈfəŋˌʃueɪ "fehng-shway" in English) is an ancient Chinese system of aesthetics believed to utilize the Laws of both heaven (astronomy) and earth (geography) to help one improve life by receiving positive Qi. [cite web | last = Marie, Tina | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = "Feng Shui Facts". | work = What is Feng Shui? | publisher = | date =2007 | url = http://www.fengshuifacts.org | format = | doi = | accessdate = ] The original designation for the discipline is "Kan Yu" (zh-tsp|t=堪輿|s=堪舆|p=kānyú; literally: "Tao of heaven and earth") [cite web | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Baidu Baike | work = Huai Nan Zi | publisher = | date = | url = http://baike.baidu.com/view/1401.htm | format = | doi = | accessdate = ] .

The words 'feng shui' literally translate as "wind-water"in English. This is a cultural shorthand taken from the following passage of the "Zhangshu" ("Book of Burial") by Guo Pu of the Jin Dynasty:

Qi rides the wind and scatters, but is retained when encountering water.cite web | last = Field | first = Stephen L. | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = "The Zhangshu, or Book of Burial". | work = | publisher = | date = | url = http://fengshuigate.com/zangshu.html | format = | doi = | accessdate = ]

Many modern enthusiasts claim that feng shui is the practice of arranging objects (such as furniture) to help people achieve their goals. More traditionally, feng shui is important in choosing a place to live and finding a burial site, along with agricultural planning.


Currently Yangshao and Hongshan cultures provide the earliest evidence for Feng Shui. Until the invention of the magnetic compass, apparently Feng Shui relied on astronomy to find correlations between humans and the universe. [Sun, X. (2000) Crossing the Boundaries between Heaven and Man: Astronomy in Ancient China. In H. Selin (ed.), "Astronomy Across Cultures: The History of Non-Western Astronomy." 423-454. Kluwer Academic.]

In 4000 BCE the doors of Banpo dwellings were aligned to the asterism "Yingshi" just after the winter solstice -- this sited the homes for solar gain. [David W. Pankenier. 'The Cosmo-Political Background of Heaven's Mandate.' "Early China" 20 (1995):121-176.] During the Zhou era, "Yingshi" was known as "Ding" and used to indicate the appropriate time to build a capital city, according to the "Shijing". The late Yangshao site at Dadiwan (c. 3500-3000 BCE) includes a palace-like building (F901) at the center. The building faces south and borders a large plaza. It is on a north-south axis with another building that apparently housed communal activities. The complex may have been used by regional communities. [Li Liu. "The Chinese Neolithic: Trajectories to Early States." Cambridge University Press (2004) 85-88.]

A grave at Puyang (c. 3000 BCE) that contains mosaics of the Dragon and Tiger asterisms and Beidou (the Big Dipper, Ladle or Bushel) is oriented along a north-south axis. [Zhentao Xu, David W. Pankenier, and Yaotiao Jiang. "East Asian Archaeoastronomy." 2000:2] The presence of both round and square shapes in the Puyang tomb, at Hongshan culture ceremonial centers and the late Longshan settlement at Lutaigang, [Li Liu. "The Chinese Neolithic: Trajectories to Early States." Cambridge University Press (2004) 248-249.] suggests that "gaitian" cosmography (heaven-round, earth-square) was present in Chinese society long before it appeared in the "Zhou Bi Suan Jing". [Sarah M. Nelson, Rachel A. Matson, Rachel M. Roberts, Chris Rock and Robert E. Stencel. (2006) "Archaeoastronomical Evidence for Wuism at the Hongshan Site of Niuheliang". Page 2.]

Cosmography that bears a striking resemblance to modern Feng Shui devices and formulas was found on a jade unearthed at Hanshan and dated around 3000 BCE. The design is linked by archaeologist Li Xueqin to the "liuren" astrolabe, "zhinan zhen", and Luopan. [Chen Jiujin and Zhang Jingguo. 'Hanshan chutu yupian tuxing shikao,' "Wenwu" 4, 1989:15]

Beginning with palatial structures at Erlitou, [Li Liu. "The Chinese Neolithic: Trajectories to Early States." Cambridge University Press (2004) 230-237.] all capital cities of China followed rules of Feng Shui for their design and layout. These rules were codified during the Zhou era in the "Kaogong ji" (zh-ts|t=考工記|s=考工记; "Manual of Crafts"). Rules for builders were codified in the carpenter's manual "Lu ban jing" (zh-ts|t=魯班經|s=鲁班经; "Lu ban's manuscript"). Graves and tombs also followed rules of Feng Shui, from Puyang to Mawangdui and beyond. From the earliest records, it seems that the rules for the structures of the graves and dwellings were the same.

Early instruments and techniques

The history of feng shui covers 3,500+ years [Aihe Wang. "Cosmology and Political Culture in Early China." 2000:55] before the invention of the magnetic compass. Its origins are in astronomy. [Feng Shi. Zhongguo zhaoqi xingxiangtu yanjiu. "Zhiran kexueshi yanjiu," 2 (1990).] Some current techniques can be traced to Neolithic China, [Aihe Wang. "Cosmology and Political Culture in Early China." 2000:54-55] while others were added later (most notably the Han dynasty, the Tang, the Song, and the Ming). [Cheng Jian Jun and Adriana Fernandes-Gonçalves. "Chinese Feng Shui Compass: Step by Step Guide." 1998:21]

The astronomical history of Feng Shui is evident in the development of instruments and techniques. According to the "Zhouli" the original Feng Shui instrument may have been a gnomon. Chinese used circumpolar stars to determine the north-south axis of settlements. This technique explains why Shang palaces at Xiaotun lie 10° east of due north. In some cases, as Paul Wheatley observed, ["The Pivot of the Four Quarters" (1971:46)] they bisected the angle between the directions of the rising and setting sun to find north. This technique provided the more precise alignments of the Shang walls at Yanshi and Zhengzhou.

The oldest examples of instruments used for feng shui are "liuren" astrolabes. These consist of a lacquered, two-sided board with astronomical sightlines. Liuren astrolabes have been unearthed from tombs that date between 278 BCE and 209 BCE. They show the cord-hook diagram and some models include the magic square of three. They were commonly used to chart the motion of Taiyi through the nine palaces. [Yin Difei. "Xi-Han Ruyinhou mu chutu de zhanpan he tianwen yiqi." "Kaogu" 1978.5, 338-43; Yan Dunjie, "Guanyu Xi-Han chuqi de shipan he zhanpan." "Kaogu" 1978.5, 334-37.] The markings are virtually unchanged from the astrolabe to the first magnetic compasses. [Marc Kalinowski. 'The "Xingde" Texts from Mawangdui.' "Early China." 23-24 (1998-99):125-202.]

The magnetic compass was invented for Feng Shui [Wallace H. Campbell. "Earth Magnetism: A Guided Tour Through Magnetic Fields." Academic Press, 2001.] and has been in use since its invention. Traditional Feng Shui instrumentation consists of the Luopan or the earlier south-pointing spoon "(zhinan zhen)" -- though a conventional compass could suffice if one understood the differences. A Feng Shui ruler (a later invention) may also be employed.

Foundation theories

The goal of feng shui as practiced today is to situate the human built environment on spots with good qi. The "perfect spot" is a location and an axis in time. Some areas are not suitable for human settlement and should be left in their natural state.

Qi (ch'i)

Qi is a difficult word to translate and is usually left untranslated. Literally the word means "air". In martial arts "qi" refers to internal or physical energy.

In New Age interpretations of Feng Shui, "qi" typically is synonymous with "energy" (sometimes interpreted as willpower and initiative, but more commonly as "life force"). A more traditional explanation of qi as it relates to Feng Shui would consider a holistic understanding of local microclimates, the orientation of the structure, its age, and its interaction with the surrounding environment from the slope of the land to the vegetation and soil quality.

According to one writer on the subject, Stephen L. Field, one use for a Luopan is to detect the flow of qi. Field has written that he views feng shui as a form of divination that assesses the quality of the local environment and the effects of space weather, coining the term "qimancy" for the concept. [Stephen L. Field. 1998. [http://www.fengshuigate.com/qimancy.html Qimancy: The Art and Science of Fengshui. ] ]

Professor Max Knoll suggested in a 1951 lecture that qi is a form of solar radiation. [Max Knoll. "Transformations of Science in Our Age." In Joseph Campbell (ed.). "Man and Time." Princeton UP, 1957, 264-306.] Compasses reflect local geomagnetism which includes geomagnetically induced currents caused by space weather. [Lui, A.T.Y., Y. Zheng, Y. Zhang, H. Rème, M.W. Dunlop, G. Gustafsson, S.B. Mende, C. Mouikis, and L.M. Kistler, Cluster observation of plasma flow reversal in the magnetotail during a substorm, "Ann. Geophys.," 24, 2005-2013, 2006]

Beliefs from the Axial Age, feng shui among them, hold that the heavens influence life on Earth. This seems preposterous to many people, yet space weather exists and can have profound effects on technology (GPS, power grids, pipelines, communication and navigation systems, surveys), and the internal orienting faculties of birds and other creatures. [Moore, F. R. 1975. Influence of solar and geomagnetic stimuli on the migratory orientation of Herring Gull chicks. "Auk" 92:655-664.] [Moore, F. R. 1977. Geomagnetic disturbance and the orientation of nocturnally migrating birds. "Science" 196:684-686.] [Thomas Alerstam. Bird Migration Across a Strong Magnetic Anomaly." J. exp. Bml." 130, 63-86 (1987)] There is some evidence that suicide rates in Kirovsk, Russia, fluctuate along with the geomagnetic field. [Catherine Brahic. Does the Earth's magnetic field cause suicides? "New Scientist.com New Service", 24 April 2008] Atmospheric scientists have suggested that space weather creates fluctuations in market prices. [L.Pustil’nik, G. Yom Din, Influence of solar activity on the state of the wheat market in medieval England, "Solar Physics." 223, 335–356, 2004.] [L. Pustil’nik, G. Yom Din, Space climate manifestation in Earth prices – from Medieval England up to Modern U.S.A., "Solar Physics," 224, 473–481, 2004.]


Polarity is expressed in feng shui as Yin and Yang Theory. Polarity expressed through yin and yang is similar to a bipolar magnetic field. That is, it is of two parts: one creating an exertion and one receiving the exertion. Yang acting and yin receiving could be considered an early understanding of chirality. The development of Yin Yang Theory and its corollary, Five Phase Theory (Five Element Theory), have also been linked with astronomical observations of sunspots. [Sarah Allan. "The Shape of the Turtle: Myth, Art and Cosmos in Early China". 1991:31-32]

The so-called "elements" of feng shui (water, wood, fire, earth/soil, metal) are made of yin and yang in precise amounts (Greater wood has less yin than lesser wood, but not as much yin as water, and so forth). Earth is a buffer, or an equilibrium achieved when the polarities cancel each other. This explains why feng shui is said to be about balance.

Bagua (eight symbols)

Two diagrams known as bagua (or pa kua) loom large in feng shui, and both predate their mentions in the Yijing or I Ching. The Lo (River) Chart ("Luoshu", or Later Heaven Sequence) and the River Chart ("Hetu", or Early Heaven Sequence) are linked to astronomical events of the sixth millennium BCE, and with the Turtle Calendar from the time of Yao. [Deborah Lynn Porter. "From Deluge to Discourse." 1996:35-38] The Turtle Calendar of Yao (found in the "Yaodian" section of the "Shangshu" or 'Book of Documents') dates to 2300 BCE, plus or minus 250 years. [Sun and Kistemaker. "The Chinese Sky During the Han." 1997:15-18]

It seems clear from many sources that time, in the form of astronomy and calendars, is at the heart of feng shui.

In "Yaodian", the cardinal directions are determined by the marker-stars of the mega-constellations known as the Four Celestial Animals.

East: the Bluegreen Dragon (Spring equinox) --- "Niao" (Bird), α Hydrae

South: the Red Bird (Summer solstice) --- "Huo" (Fire), α Scorpionis

West: the White Tiger (Autumn equinox) --- "Xu" (Emptiness, Void), α Aquarii, β Aquarii

North: the Dark (Mysterious) Turtle (Winter solstice) --- "Mao" (Hair), η Tauri (the Pleiades)

The bagua diagrams are also linked with the "sifang" (four directions) method of divination used during the Shang dynasty. [Aihe Wang. "Cosmology and Political Structure in Early China." 2000:107-128] The "sifang" is much older, however. It was used at Niuheliang, and figured large in Hongshan culture's astronomy. And it is this area of China that is linked to Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor, who allegedly invented the south-pointing spoon. [Sarah M. Nelson, Rachel A. Matson, Rachel M. Roberts, Chris Rock, and Robert E. Stencel. " [https://portfolio.du.edu/portfolio/getportfoliofile?uid=38863 Archaeoastronomical Evidence for Wuism at the Hongshan Site of Niuheliang] ." 2006]


A "school" or "stream" is a set of techniques or methods. The term should not be confused with an actual school -- there are many masters who run schools.

Some claim [cite web | last = Jacky Cheung Ngam Fung | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = "History of Feng Shui". | work =| publisher = | date =2007 | url =http://www.fengshui-liufa.com/history.html | format = | doi = | accessdate = ] that authentic masters impart their genuine knowledge only to selected students, such as relatives.

Modern techniques

Classical feng shui is typically associated with the following techniques. This is not a complete list; it is merely a list of the most common techniques. [Cheng Jian Jun and Adriana Fernandes-Gonçalves. "Chinese Feng Shui Compass Step by Step Guide." 1998:46-47]

* Bagua (relationship of the five phases or "wuxing")
* Five phases (wuxing relationships)
* Xuan Kong (time and space methods)
* Xuan Kong Fei Xing (Flying Stars methods of time and directions)
* Xuan Kong Da Gua ("Secret Decree" or 64 gua relationships)
* Xuan Kong Shui Fa (time and space water methods)
* Zi Bai (Purple-White Flying Stars methods)
* Ba Zhai (Eight Mansions)
* San Yuan Dragon Gate Eight Formation
* Major & Minor Wandering Stars
* San He Luan Dou (24 Mountains, Mountain-Water relationships)
* San He Shui Fa (water methods)
* Qimen Dunjia (Eight Doors and Nine Stars methods)
* Zi wei dou shu (Purple King, 24-star astrology)

Modern developments

One of the grievances mentioned when the anti-Western Boxer Rebellion erupted was that Westerners were violating the basic principles of Feng Shui in their construction of railroads and other conspicuous public structures throughout China. At the time, Westerners had little idea of, or interest in, such Chinese traditions. Since Richard Nixon journeyed to The People's Republic of China in 1972, feng shui has become somewhat of an industry.

It has been reinvented by New Age entrepreneurs for Western consumption. Feng shui speaks to the profound role of magic, mystery, and order in American life. [H. L. Goodall, Jr. Writing the American Ineffable, or the Mystery and Practice of Feng Shui in Everyday Life. "Qualitative Inquiry," 7:1, 3-20 (2001) ] The following list does not exhaust the modern varieties.

Black Sect -- also called Black Sect Tantric Buddhist, or BTB Feng Shui) [cite web | last = Crystal Chu | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = "His Holiness GrandmasterProfessor Thomas Lin Yun". | work = | publisher = | date = | url =http://www.yunlintemple.org/professor.htm | format = | doi = | accessdate = ] -- incorporated as a US [http://www.yunlintemple.org church] in 1984, with temples in California and New York. It was invented in the early 1980s by Thomas Lin Yun Rinpoche, who came to the US from Taiwan.

The history of feng shui used by the church doesn't match documentary or archaeological evidence, or what is known of the history of Tantrism in China. [Chou Yi-liang. Tantrism in China. "Harvard J. of Asiatic Studies," 8:3/4 (Mar., 1945), 241-332] It relies on "transcendental" methods, the concept of clutter as metaphor for life circumstances, and the use of affirmations or "intentions" (what some deride as "happy talk") [Wu, Emily Shao-Fan. 2003. "Fengshui plus Buddhism equals what?: an initial analysis of Black Sect Tantric Buddhism in the United States." Thesis (M.A.)--Boston University, 2003.] to achieve results. The BTB bagua was developed by Lin Yun. Each of the eight sectors that were once aligned to compass points now represent a particular area of one's life.

Shen Dao -- invented in the late 1970s by Harrison G. Kyng -- found a home in the UK. Kyng's invention uses Five Element Theory for medical purposes along with building assessment, and is supposed to help someone achieve greater physical and environmental benefits. The compass that Kyng developed incorporates many New Age concepts, including the idea of harmonics.

Feng Shui compasses and geomagnetism

An overview of claims is offered below.

Claim: The stability of Magnetic North is critical for the accuracy of divining your fortune with a compass.Fact|date=October 2008 In physics the convention is that the end of a dipole magnet where the magnetic field flows out is the "north" pole of the magnet, and the "south" pole of the magnet is where the field flows in. The geomagnetic field flows out of the geographic South Pole, and runs back into the geographic North Pole -- so "geomagnetic" north is actually at the "geographic" South Pole. The convention is to call the pole in Canada the North Magnetic Pole. "The Chinese always place south at the top of the compass but North is still magnetic North." [Lillian Too (1996). "Feng Shui: How to Apply the Secrets of Chinese Wisdom for Health, Wealth and Happiness", p. 23.] The fact that all geomagnetic poles wander has not prevented compasses from being useful. [http://www.howstuffworks.com/compass.htm] For example, compasses are installed in cars, [ [http://www.safety-devices.com/digital_compass.htm Automobile Compasses] ] ships, [ [http://www.nautical-products.com/navigational-compass.html Navigational Compasses] ] and oil rigs. [David Bray. "Oilfield Seamanship Series, Volume 9: Dynamic Positioning", 2nd Ed. (2003)]

All Chinese compasses point to geographic south (thus the literal translations "pointing-south needle" and "pointing-south spoon"). A Luopan is used to determine the orientation of structures or the angle of something in relation to a structure.

Claim: Magnetic North and True North (the Earth’s axis) are not the same.Fact|date=October 2008 A Luopan compensates for this. On a Luopan the Human Plate Central Needle was added during the Tang dynasty to measure declination and this has been updated as necessary. During the southern Song dynasty the Heaven Plate Seam Needle was added for magnetic deviation and also updated as necessary. The Earth Plate Correct Needle indicates current geomagnetic conditions.

As Joseph Needham remarked in a lecture, "When speaking of magnetism and of the magnetic compass … in China people were worrying about the nature of the declination (why the needle does not usually point exactly to the north) before Europeans had even heard about the polarity." Declination was discovered, says Needham, because "geomancers had been attending most carefully to the positions of their needles.”

Claim: The solar wind vibrates the magnetic pole, moving magnetic north. If you use magnetic north to determine where to put your furniture, the degrees are not critical, the overall direction is. However, if you use magnetic north to find a site location the reading will not be accurate.Fact|date=October 2008 The convention is to call the pole in Canada the North Magnetic Pole.

The solar wind (a stream of hydrogen and helium nuclei) fluctuates during the Sun's rotation, with high-and low-speed streams creating high-pressure and low-pressure fronts that contribute to space weather, which sometimes hits the Earth's magnetic field to produce storms in the Earth's magnetosphere. [NASA-Marshall Solar Physics: "The Solar Wind" http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/SolarWind.shtml] Space weather fronts are like weather fronts on Earth. Space weather fronts generate interplanetary 'weather' such as aurora and magnetic storms, which can interrupt radio and satellite communications. [European Space Agency: "Ulysses sees differences in solar wind at high, low latitudes." [http://www.esa.int/esaCP/Pr_11_1995_i_EN.html Information Notes] 6 June 1995] Space weather has led to better early warning mechanisms, [ [http://www.spaceweather.com Space Weather.com] ] not to abandonment of affected technologies.

The Geological Survey of Canada [http://gsc.nrcan.gc.ca/geomag/nmp/where_nmp_e.php Geomagnetism Where is the North Magnetic Pole?] has now determined that the location of the North magnetic pole is now moving more than 40 km per year. The Geological Survey of Canada [http://gsc.nrcan.gc.ca/geomag/nmp/daily_mvt_nmp_e.php Geomagetism Daily Movement of the North Magnetic Pole] has also determined that the North magnetic pole is in constant motion on any give day and may be displaced by as much as 80km or more. Geomagnetic storms are responsible for these constantly occurring fluctuations in the location of the North Magnetic Pole. ["Different Schools of Feng Shui" [http://www.artofplacement.com/FengShuiSchools.htm | Feng Shui Schools] . ]

A magnetic compass is comprised of a magnetized needle balanced on a pivot point. No matter where you are the magnetic needle will point to the current location of the North Magnetic Pole. [http://www.howstuffworks.com/compass.htm How Compasses Work] This answers the question asked by so many students, “Why do I get different compass readings from the same location?


Victorian-era commentators on feng shui were generally ethnocentric, and as such skeptical and derogatory of what they knew of feng shui. [Andrew L. March. 'An Appreciation of Chinese Geomancy' in "The Journal of Asian Studies", Vol. 27, No. 2. (February 1968), pp. 253-267.]

In 1896 at a meeting of the Educational Association of China, Rev. P.W. Pitcher railed at the "rottenness of the whole scheme of Chinese architecture," and urged fellow missionaries "to erect unabashedly Western edifices of several stories and with towering spires in order to destroy nonsense about "fung-shuy"." [Jeffrey W. Cody. Striking a Harmonious Chord: Foreign Missionaries and Chinese-style Buildings, 1911-1949. "Architronic". 5:3 (ISSN 1066-6516)]

Some modern Christians have a similar opinion of feng shui. [Mah, Y.-B. Living in Harmony with One's Environment: A Christian Response to Feng Shui. "Asia J. of Theology." 2004, 18; Part 2, pp 340-361.]

It is entirely inconsistent with Christianity to believe that harmony and balance result from the manipulation and channeling of nonphysical forces or energies, or that such can be done by means of the proper placement of physical objects. Such techniques, in fact, belong to the world of sorcery. [Marcia Montenegro. Feng Shui" New Dimensions in Design. "Christian Research Journal." 26:1 (2003)]

Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, feng shui has been officially deemed as a "feudalistic superstitious practice" and a "social evil" according to the state's atheistic Communist ideology and discouraged or even outright banned at times [Chang Liang (pseudoym), 14 January 2005, "What Does Superstitious Belief of 'Feng Shui' Among School Students Reveal?" http://zjc.zjol.com.cn/05zjc/system/2005/01/14/003828695.shtml] [Tao Shilong, 3 April 2006, "The Crooked Evil of 'Feng Shui' Is Corrupting The Minds of Chinese People" http://blog.csdn.net/taoshilong/archive/2006/04/03/649650.aspx] .

Persecution was the most severe during the Cultural Revolution, when feng shui was classified as a custom under the so-called Four Olds to be wiped out. Feng shui practitioners were beaten and abused by Red Guards and their works burned. After the death of Mao Zedong and the end of the Cultural Revolution, the official attitude became more tolerant but restrictions on feng shui practice are still in place in today's China. It is illegal in the PRC today to register feng shui consultation as a business and similarly advertising feng shui practice is banned, and there have been frequent crackdowns on feng shui practitioners on the grounds of "promoting feudalistic superstitions" such as one in Qingdao in early 2006 when the city's business and industrial administration office shut down an art gallery converted into a feng shui practice [Chen Xintang "Art Gallery Shut by the Municipality's Business and Industrial Department After Converting to 'Feng Shui' Consultation Office" Banduo Daoxi Bao, Qingdao, January 19, 2006 http://gwzz.blogbus.com/logs/2006/01/1854093.html ] . Communist officials who had consulted feng shui were sacked and expelled from the Communist Party [BBC, 9 March 2001, "'Feng Shui Superstitions' Troubles Chinese Authorities" http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/chinese/news/newsid_1210000/12108792.stm] .

Partly because of the Cultural Revolution, in today's PRC less than one-third of the population believe in feng shui, and the proportion of believers among young urban PRC Chinese is said to be much less than 5% ["Debate on Feng Shui" http://www.yuce49.com/showjs.asp?js_id=45] . Among all the ethnic Chinese communities the PRC has the least number of feng shui believers in proportion to the general population. Learning feng shui is considered taboo in today's China. ["Beware of Scams Among the Genuine Feng Shui Practitioners" http://jiugu861sohu.blog.sohu.com/58913151.html] Nevertheless, it is reported that feng shui has gained adherents among Communist Party officials according to a BBC Chinese news commentary in 2006. [Jiang Xun, "From Voodoo Dolls to Feng Shui Superstitions", BBC Chinese service, 11 April 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/chinese/trad/hi/newsid_4870000/newsid_4872500/4872542.stm] , and since the beginning of Chinese economic reforms the number of feng shui practitioners are increasing. A number of Chinese academics permitted to research on the subject of feng shui are anthropologists or architects by trade, studying the history of feng shui or historical feng shui theories behind the design of heritage buildings, such as Cao Dafeng, the Vice-President of Fudan University [Cao Dafeng http://www.fudan.edu.cn/new_genview/now_caidafeng.htm] , and Liu Shenghuan of Tongji University.

Feng Shui practitioners have been skeptical of claims and methods in the "cultural supermarket." [Jane Mulcock. Creativity and Politics in the Cultural Supermarket: synthesizing indigenous identities for the r-evolution of spirit. "Continuum". 15:2. July 2001, 169-185.] Mark Johnson ["Reality Testing in Feng Shui." "Qi" Journal. Spring 1997] made a telling point:

This present state of affairs is ludicrous and confusing. Do we really believe that mirrors and flutes are going to change people's tendencies in any lasting and meaningful way? ... There is a lot of investigation that needs to be done or we will all go down the tubes because of our inability to match our exaggerated claims with lasting changes.

A travelogue-type article from the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry explained feng shui initially as "a commonsense alignment of structures to conform to the shape of the land, an idea shared by any sensible architect in a land fraught with typhoons and torrential rains." However, after reading two books (one by field researcher Ole Bruun), the writer's conclusion was that feng shui "is more of a mystical belief in cosmic harmony." [Monty Vierra. Harried by "Hellions" in Taiwan. "Sceptical Briefs" newsletter, March 1997.]

Penn & Teller did an episode of their television show "Bullshit!" that featured several Feng Shui practitioners in the US, and was highly critical of the inconsistent (and frequently odd) advice. In the show, the entertainers argue that if Feng Shui is a science (as someWho|date=October 2008 claim), it should feature a consistent method. [ Penn and Teller Bullshit! Season 1, Episode 7 Feng Shui / Bottled Water (Aired March 7, 2003)]

Current research

A growing body of research exists on the traditional forms of feng shui used and taught in Asia.

Landscape ecologists find traditional feng shui an interesting study. [Bo-Chul Whang and Myung-Woo Lee. Landscape ecology planning principles in Korean Feng-Shui, Bi-bo woodlands and ponds. "J. Landscape and Ecological Engineering." 2:2, November, 2006. 147-162.] In many cases, the only remaining patches of old forest in Asia are "feng shui woods," which strongly suggests the "healthy homes," [Qigao Chen, Ya Feng, Gonglu Wang. Healthy Buildings Have Existed in China Since Ancient Times. "Indoor and Built Environment," 6:3, 179-187 (1997)] sustainability [Stephen Siu-Yiu Lau, Renato Garcia, Ying-Qing Ou, Man-Mo Kwok, Ying Zhang, Shao Jie Shen, Hitomi Namba. Sustainable design in its simplest form: Lessons from the living villages of Fujian rammed earth houses. Structural Survey. 2005, 23:5, 371-385] and environmental components of "ancient" feng shui techniques should not be easily dismissed. [Xue Ying Zhuang, Richard T. Corlett. Forest and Forest Succession in Hong Kong, China." J. of Tropical Ecology," 13:6 (Nov., 1997), 857] [Marafa, L. M. Integrating Natural and Cultural Heritage: the advantage of feng shui landscape resources. "Intl. J. Heritage Studies." 2003, 9: Part 4, 307-324]

Environmental scientists and landscape architects have researched traditional feng shui and its methodologies. [Chen, B. X. and Nakama, Y. A summary of research history on Chinese Feng-shui and application of Feng-shui principles to environmental issues. "Kyusyu J. For. Res." 57. 297-301 (2004).] [Xu, Jun. 2003. A framework for site analysis with emphasis on feng shui and contemporary environmental design principles. Blacksburg, Va: University Libraries, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. ]

Architectural schools study the principles as they applied to ancient vernacular architecture. [Park, C.-P. Furukawa, N. Yamada, M. A Study on the Spatial Composition of Folk Houses and Village in Taiwan for the Geomancy (Feng-Shui)." J. Arch. Institute of Korea". 1996, 12:9, 129-140.] [Xu, P. Feng-Shui Models Structured Traditional Beijing Courtyard Houses. "J. Architectural and Planning Research." 1998, 15:4, 271-282.] [Hwangbo, A. B. An Alternative Tradition in Architecture: Conceptions in Feng Shui and Its Continuous Tradition. "J. Architectural and Planning Research." 2002, 19:2, pp 110-130.] .

Geographers have analyzed the techniques and methods to help locate historical sites in Victoria, Canada, [Chuen-Yan David Lai. A Feng Shui Model as a Location Index. "Annals of the Association of American Geographer"s 64 (4), 506–513.] and archaeological sites in the American Southwest, concluding that ancient Native Americans considered astronomy and landscape features. [Xu, P. Feng-shui as Clue: Identifying Ancient Indian Landscape Setting Patterns in the American Southwest. "Landscape Journal." 1997, 16:2, 174-190.]

Whether it is data on comparisons to scientific models, or the design and siting of buildings, [Lu, Hui-Chen. 2002. "A Comparative analysis between western-based environmental design and feng-shui for housing sites." Thesis (M.S.). California Polytechnic State University, 2002.] graduate and undergraduate students have been accumulating solid evidence on what researchers call the "exclusive Chinese cultural achievement and experience in architecture" [Su-Ju Lu; Peter Blundell Jones. House design by surname in Feng Shui. "J. of Architecture." 5:4 December 2000, 355-367.] that is feng shui.

See also

* Chinese spiritual world concepts
* Environmentalism
* Environmental psychology
* Environmental metaphysics
* Interior design
* Kau Cim
* New Age
* Physiognomy
* Vastu Shastra
* Yantra


External links

* [http://www.masteryfengshui.com The American School of Classical Feng Shui]

Further reading

Academic works

*Ole Bruun. “Fengshui and the Chinese Perception of Nature,” in "Asian Perceptions of Nature: A Critical Approach," eds. Ole Bruun and Arne Kalland (Surrey: Curzon, 1995) 173–88
*Ole Bruun. "Fengshui in China: Geomantic Divination between State Orthodoxy and Popular Religion." Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2003.
*Ole Bruun. "An Introduction to Feng Shui." Cambridge University Press, 2008.
*Yoon, Hong-key. "Culture of Fengshui in Korea: An Exploration of East Asian Geomancy", Lexington Books, 2006.
*Magnetic alignment in grazing and resting cattle and deer, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published ahead of print August 25, 2008, doi:10.1073/pnas.0803650105

New Age variants

*Wu, Baolin, "Lighting the Eye of the Dragon: Inner Secrets of Taoist Feng Shui", St. Martin's Press, 2000.
*Bender, Tom, "Building with the Breath of Life: Working with Chi Energy in Our Homes and Communities" Fire River Press, 2000.
*Drews, Norbert, "Feng Shui Essentials" [http://www.fengsh.de/fengshui-essentials.int.html] , 2000.
*Bender, Tom, "The Physics of Qi". DVD. Fire River Press, 2007.

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