The Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year 2023 (also known as Spring Festival in China) ushers in the Year of the Rabbit on January 22. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 radically changed the world.
Chi, the very essence of the universe, manifests in three aspects: as matter, as energy, and as information.
In China, the idea of Chi-Energy permeates everyday living. Without the word Chi (氣) many common Chinese phrases
could not exist.
Wholesome form reflects unity. “Form defines energy” is the fundamental concept of Form School Feng Shui. Wholesome form means there is an unity, not broken or fragmented form. Wholesome form provides wholesome energy.
Master Hsu is practicing Tai Chi in the snowy morning in China, Guangping, Hebei province, on Dec. 15, 2019. It is the brithplace of Yang Luchan (1799–1872), influential teacher of the internal style martial art Tai Chi Chuan (Taiji Quan), the founder of Yang-style Tai Chi Chuan:
In Seattle, an American architect friend complained to me.
“This Feng Shui is really killing me!”
“What’s the matter?” I asked.
He explained that a client from Hong Kong had commissioned him to design a house – and insisted that, for the sake of good Feng Shui, the door had to face south. But on that particular piece of land it made no sense to have the main door facing south.
Pu Yu (普雨法師) was the 133rd head master of Yungquan (“Bubbling Spring”) Temple on Gu Shan (“Drum Mountain”) in Fuzhou, China. Established in the Tang dynasty, this monastery has over 1,200 years of history. I formally became his disciple in the late 1970s, just a few years after the end of the Cultural Revolution. At that time, due to the long suppression of religion in China, the temple had few monks and hardly any visitors. As a result, I was able to enjoy quite a bit of time with Master Pu Yu during my stay.
Once I visited him in his private room while he was making tea, and he handed me a cup of steaming brew. The cups in the monastery were bigger than the tea cups usually seen in homes. It was a Song dynasty design, with a soft celadon glaze. I bowed, accepted it with both hands, and carefully took the first sip.
This was a special oolong tea known as “rock tea,” which has a bittersweet taste but a robust aroma with a hint of smoke in its flavor. While we had tea, I asked, “Master, what exactly is Zen mind?”
He smiled, but went on talking about tea.
After a while, when I had nearly finished my cup, I was about to repeat my question. He looked at my nearly empty cup, looked at me directly, and said very quietly, “So, do you remember?”
I was puzzled.
After a short moment, I asked, “Remember? Remember what?”
“Didn’t you just ask me about Zen mind?” he replied.
I tried to figure out what he meant, but was still confused.
“Do you remember the very moment you took the first sip?” he asked, looking right into my eyes.
After pausing briefly, he continued, “Do you remember that moment? Before you could tell whether the tea was hot or warm? Before you could differentiate smell from taste? Before you could tell what kind of tea it was? Do you remember that moment?”
As soon as I heard Master Pu Yu’s words, I understood: that moment is the state of Zen mind.
I looked at him and smiled in silence. He nodded and smiled back. It was but a brief moment; yet I have retained this memory for decades.
The foundation of Zen teaching is this: no matter where we are or what we are doing, we must fully live at that moment.
So, do you remember?
On April 12, 2006 Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, formally announced Google’s business name in China; 谷歌 (Guge)。During recent months there has been a soap opera played out between the Chinese government and Google, over which Google made the decision to move its operation to Hong Kong. Then on April 3, 2010, Google decided to discontinue using its Chinese company name and replaced it with “Google in China”. The Chinese name, Guge, was used for just under 4 years.
A name as well as logo represents the information level of a company, for everything in the universe has matter, qi-energy, and information attributes. Therefore, all successful companies have a good logo and name. When Google’s Chinese name was chosen and announced four years ago, I was very surprised and commented it was not a good sign for Google’s operation in China. Google could have easily chosen a better name. I wondered who was behind this naming? Doesn’t Google have better talent in its Chinese team to foresee the future difficulty by using this name? I was puzzled.
The Chinese word Gu means Valley, Ge means Song or Singing. To sing and to have the energy extended, to have the song heard in a big way, one should stand on high ground, on top of a mountain or on top of the Great Wall, not in a valley. A valley means one is confined and trapped.
Things always begin on the information level, moves to the qi-energy level and than on to physical manifestation. What happened today for Google was already determined when it chose its Chinese name four years ago. It was destined to fail. Maybe by restoring its name to English it will have a 2nd chance in China.
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.”