Category Archives: Blog

Tea and Wine

At first glance, tea and wine seem very different. Wine is made and stored as a liquid; tea is made and stored in the form of dried leaves. Wine is best aged while tea can be drunk fresh. Wine is served cold or at room temperature in a glass; tea is usually served hot in a ceramic cup. The temperature at which wine served is critical; tea can be served over a great range of temperature without losing its flavor. However, if we look at the art of wine tasting and compare it to the art of tea tasting, there are interesting similarities.

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Money, the Ultimate Testing Tool for Relationships

I was the youngest son among eight siblings (5 boys, 3 girls). In my childhood in Taiwan, my family was relatively well off. That was right after World War II. There were food shortages after the war. But we were fortunate because we had a big farm and hired many farm workers. So, we had plenty to eat.

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Apple, the FBI, and the Five Element Theory

The FBI’s war against Apple’s strong iPhone encryption has recently been much discussed in the United States. The FBI ruled that Apple must help to see what’s on an iPhone that belonged to one of the shooters involved in the mass killings in San Bernadino, California.

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Chi Energy in Tai Chi Movement

Chi Energy in Tai Chi Movement

Body, Chi and Mind are the three essentials in Tai Chi and other internal or healing arts.

Chinese medicine says: The Mind leads the Chi and the Chi leads the Blood.  Our mind aspect can transcend personal limitations. Our Chi energy can nourish our physical and emotional health. Our movements can manifest as physical beauty.

Dr. Hsu will present these often neglected, though essential aspects of Tai Chi practice.   His presentation will guide you through the practice whilst applying the principles of Mind and Chi energy to the movements.

This workshop is appropriate for all levels of tai chi practitioners or those who wish to learn to apply these principles.

Time: Saturday October 25, 2014

2 – 4 PM

Place: Mercer Island Community & Event Center

8236 SE 24th Street, Mercer Island, WA

Suggested Donation: $20:00

Dr Shan-tung Hsu began teaching Tai Chi locally in 1971. He was one of the first to introduce Tai Chi to the Pacific NW. He was the inspiration for founding the Five Willow Tai Chi Association. Dr. Hsu has been a committee member of the International Medical Qigong Association. He is the former publisher of World Qigong magazine.  He has lectured on Chi energy and design globally for the past 30 years.

For further information contact: Diane Exeriede, 425-452-5581

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2014 – The Horse Year

The Year of Stable Luck

2014 Year of the Horse greeting cardThe Snake is leaving, but before it leaves, it wants to show its power by swinging its tail so people will remember it.  This can be seen through the floods and cold spells in Europe; cold spells and droughts in the United States; the passing of respected people, like Nelson Mandela.  And now the Horse Year is arriving.

The Year of the Horse will reflect the gentle, mild temperament of the horse.  Natural events will be calmer and less extreme.  There will still be political ups and downs, but they will be smoother and less haphazard.  The economic situation is in a holding pattern in Europe.  While the United States seems to be ready for a recovery, no real recovery should be expected. The economic growth will mostly be in Asia.

There will be some surprising lucky breaks in situations that have seemed unsolvable, like the Korean and Iranian situations.  The situation in Ukraine has been intensifying for the last two months. If people can hold on, there may be a continuation of the Orange Revolution in the form of a Soft Revolution, a transformation that does not involve any major disruptions.

This will also be the twenty-fourth year of the Blue Mountain Feng Shui Institute. From the beginning, the BlueMountain emphasis has been on natural principles, and on Feng Shui as a manifestation of natural principles.  The other emphasis is chi, the formative energy of nature.  The focus was therefore at first, on environmental design.  But chi and natural principles by their very nature are not restricted to one area of activity:  they penetrate every kind of activity, since no activities are outside of nature.  Over the past few years, we have explored the ways in which chi and natural principles work in other fields as well, especially health, communication, and personal cultivation.  The emphasis of focus has gradually shifted from environmental design to the wider range of applications of energy and natural principles, and to understanding how they can be applied in any field.

For this reason, the Blue Mountain Feng Shui Institute will become the Blue Mountain Institute, and the focus will be the spectrum of applications of chi energy and natural principles.  Environmental design will continue to be one focus.  Another focus will be on the direct, simple application of natural principles to health.  The third focus will be the application of natural principles to communication and personal growth.

The long-awaited book, Form Defines Energy, after many revisions, is scheduled to be published in May of 2014.  In addition, the Institute is developing a series of short videos on Feng Shui subjects, to be posted on YouTube and on our web site.

On the personal level, this will be a very auspicious year for people born in the years of the Dog and Tiger.  For people born in the Horse year, too, this will be a year of very positive change.  People born in the year of the Rat may have some challenges.  People born in the years of the Rabbit and Ox can expect some difficulties, and the need to work harder.  However, this particular Year of the Horse is a lucky one. So, even those who can expect challenges will find the challenges easier to overcome.  People born in other years will find that their lives will tend to increase stability, and they will be able to advance bravely and calmly through the year.  Everyone will find the year better than expected.  This is a year of stable luck.  As we go forward through the year, we will experience gentle progress.

In conclusion, after the turmoil of the Dragon and Snake years, things will be calmer.  But horses are brave, and charge forward, so there will be progress and change.  The essence of working with the Horse Year is to approach things gently, and with a quality of low-key humility.  Then it will be possible to maintain a balance between the Yin and Yang aspects of the year, and navigate through its challenges with skill and serenity.

Shan-Tung Hsu

Flag of Ukraine

map of Ukraine

The recent unrest in Ukraine over its president Viktor Yanukovish backing out of a trade deal with the European Union, prompted one of my students in Kiev, to ask me about the national flag of Ukraine. How does the flag of Ukraine reflect the fate of the country? The flag is composed two equal sized blue and yellow bands. Originally, yellow on the top, now it is reversed and blue sits on top. Does this make any difference?

As we know, any successful company in the world has a good logo; such as, Apple computer, Facebook, Google, Nike, Mercedes Benz, and Twitter, to name a few. Likewise, any strong country in the world has a good flag design.

The most common national flag design is the combination of colored bands in either a horizontal pattern (German, Russia, and Netherlands) or vertical pattern (France, and Italy). Flags could also have different design patterns such as the flag of USA, England, China and Japan.

Good design is reflected by the color combination and the form of the pattern. For the flag with color bands, ideally it should have a three-color combination such as the flags of Germany (black, red, yellow), France and Russia (blue, white, red), and Italy (green, white, red). If there are only two colors, it should have three bands such as the Austrian and Canadian flags. Three (either color or band) represents a Yang number with more dynamic energy. Two (color and band) is a yin number. It is static and has less momentum such as flags of Libya, Monaco, Poland, and Indonesia. (Indonesia, in spite of its largest population and big territory, does not play any important role in the world stage).

Ukraine’s national flag of blue and yellow was officially adopted for the first time in 1918 by a short lived Ukraine People’s Republic and then was restored in 1992. There were times when yellow was on the top and blue was on the bottom. There are some who argue that maybe it’s better to have yellow on top instead of blue. The real issue is that it has two-colors and two-bands. Both are Yin in number (even number), and the lack of Yang energy from the numerology in the flag reflects stagnation, conflict, and indecision for the fate of the country.

Good design follows Natural Laws; Yin Yang Theory and Five Element Theory. From the Five Element theory point of view, Blue (Wood element) and Yellow (Earth element) are in direct conflict. What is more, even though Wood controls Earth, the light blue is a weak Wood, which means it does not have a strong control over Earth. This reflects stagnation and indecision. Also, from a Yin-Yang theory point of view, Blue is a yin color, Yellow is a neutral color, thus the flag energy also leans more toward yin. The flag of strong and rich countries such as USA, China, Russia, Japan, German, France, Italy, Netherland, and Canada all have the color red, the Yang color, in their national flag.

Ideally, Ukraine should add a Yang element in its flag. This can be done by simply adding a red band to the flag. If there is a concern of being too similar with other countries, it can also consider inserting an emblem, of which reflects the historical and cultural identity in the center of flag to bridge the Blue and Yellow colors. But make the blue, a darker blue for strength.

To change a national flag is not an easy task. It will require much national debate. However, all manifestations begin with a simple thought of a simple person. Time will come when people’s energy will change, to a stronger energy and inspire the change of the flag, for the better future of the country.

Shan-Tung Hsu, Ph. D.
Blue Mountain Institute
Seattle, Washington USA

A Country of Miracles

There is a country with a land size of 35,900 Km square, 0.37 % of USA. It has a population of 23 million (7.35% USA). This country has no oil, iron, coal, gold, or mineral deposit, nor does it have any other noticeable natural resources.
Yet this country has accomplished:

GDP per capita: $37,000 (USA $49.800)
Foreign Reserve: 408 billion. It ranks No. 6 in the world, next to China, Japan, European Union, Saudi Arabia, and Russia.

Electronic Industry: rank No. 4
Steel industry: No. 4
Petro-chemical Industry: No.4
Import/export Volume: No. 12
Mass transit quality: No.5
Literacy rate: > 96%
Health Care service quality: No. 5

National Health Insurance is administrated by the Ministry of Health, and has a population coverage of 100%. The average premium is around $30 per month and there is easy access to very good health care service. Its per capita health expenditure is $750 (less than 1/10 of USA)
Literacy rate: >96%
The cost of water, electricity, gasoline, school tuition, tax rate are among the lowest in the world.
Political system: Democratic, with strong opposition political party.
Religious/worship areas: one for every 1,500 of the population.
It’s amazing! Isn’t it?
So, what is this country?
–Taiwan (Republic of China)
Pay a visit to this beautiful island. Enjoy the picturesque landscape, friendly people, most abundant variety of fruit and vegetables, and the best of Chinese food.
Shan-Tung Hsu
Blue Mountain Feng Shui Institute