Does religion have a role in Feng Shui?
This is a frequently asked question.
The answer is: No. Feng shui is not a religion nor has it ever followed any religious tradition or practice.
However, most religious groups do apply feng shui principles in building their temples and monasteries. Most Taoist and Buddhist temples in China are built on a site that nourishes spiritual energy.
Last November, I was invited by the headmaster of Yunjui Shan (雲居山Cloud Residing Mountain) ,in Jinagxi, China, to locate a proper site to build a new meditation and training center for the monastery. This Ch’an (zen) monastery, was established during the Tang dynasty and has over 1200 years of history. The headmaster was very much into feng shui and I found him also sensitive to the energy of the land. Since my suggestion was very much in accord with what he had in mind, he was very happy with my visit.
This past March, he once again asked me to help with the proper positioning of the gate for a new temple. High up in the mountain, in the rain and cold, the master walked so briskly through the woods and muddy ground, that I had to pay attention to keep up. Overall, it was a most interesting and rewarding experience.
From all the Buddhist and Taoist temples I have visited, I hardly find a temple without good feng shui. Although in general, the energy at such sites is more supportive of spiritual cultivation and may not necessarily support business or commerce.
Good feng shui for business requires a more mundane energy, which in general means sites are on low ground, such as cities close to bodies of water. Temples, on the other hand, are for spiritual cultivation, thus are mostly located on mountains or higher ground in a city.
Balance with the intended purpose is one of the key considerations of feng shui design.
The last two months, I have had the rare luxury of not adding more frequent flyer miles to my account by staying in Seattle to diligently work on two books; Feng Shui: Truths, Myths and Misconceptions and The Essence of Chinese Tea.
To give you a little taste of what’s to come, the story below is taken from my book The Essence of Chinese Tea. Hope you enjoy it!
Half of China
In 1972, President Nixon made his first visit to China, re-establishing diplomatic recognition between the United States and China. Chairman Mao presented President Nixon with 200 grams of Wuyi Dahongpao tea as a gift. Nixon was puzzled, and privately remarked that Chairman Mao’s gift seemed rather small for such a historical event. When Premier Zhou En-Lai heard this, he privately explained to Nixon that this kind of tea came from very special tea trees that were hundreds of years old. All six trees together produced only some 400 grams of tea per year. “So you see” said Zhou En-Lai “Chairman Mao has already given you half of China.”
I have been fascinated by crop circles for some years. However, once in a while, I believe there might be some created as a hoax. But because of the consistent neat and intricate patterns, created by UFOs or other mysterious forces or not, I find it is impossible to be the work of man. In the world of art design, how often does one encounter such unique and beautiful designs by humans? The crop patterns not only have been changing in size, from small to large, but the designs have developed from very simple, to extremely complicated in its detail. The recently appeared 250 meter by 60 meter jelly fish crop circle is most amazing! Form Defines Energy! I do believe the design represents some sacred meaning or message.
In this tough economic climate, it is a good opportunity to step back and re-evaluate our living situation and our lives in general. To help guide us, it makes good sense to start with the feng shui principles. But where do we start? Trying to implement the information taught by Master Hsu is not as easy as imagined. In a sense it’s like reading a self-help book. You read it and think you comprehend it, but changing your habits is never simple.
However, there are simple things we can start with in feng shui. I am working on my front yard. Is the path to my entrance clear without obstruction? Are we protected from the energy of the road? Does it look presentable? Do I need to prune a few trees, pull some weeds or trim the hedge? Stepping back and taking a fresh look at something you observe everyday may spark some new vision. Spring is here. Planting some cheerful flowers to greet everyone in the neighborhood is only a small step, but one that will bring a smile everyday.