Sunday, December 7, 2008

Playing with the Five Elements

Let us use the Wu Xing principle to understand the saying:

一命
二運
三風水
四積陰德
五讀書

The translation is:
(1) Destiny
(2) Cycle
(3) Feng Shui
(4) Accumulation of hidden virtuous deeds
(5) Study books

The five element assignment is:
(1) Earth
(2) Metal
(3) Water
(4) Wood
(5) Fire

If you know the five element properties, you will see how aptly they can be integrated into the saying. You will also note that they are in the generating cycle beginning with Earth - the basics.

JY

15 comments:

Howard said...

Hi Joesph,

Does this mean reading too many books will lessen the chance of accumulating good deeds, accumulate too many good deeds will lessen the chance of getting good Feng Shui, too much good Feng Shui will destroy one's cycles of luck, and too many good lucks will destroy one's destiny?

I would have used a reversed order, starting with Earth for reading/knowledge/education. That would have made more sense to me.

Howard Choy.

Joseph Yu said...

Dear Howard,

The heading of this post is "Playing ..." and of course you can "play" with the five elements in the way you like most. The word "play" actually carries the meaning "appreciate and enjoy". Here is how I "play" with your comment:

You have used the words "too many" which leads me to think that you mean almost all the time available is devoted to reading and therefore not much left for accumulating good deeds. Excessive use of Feng Shui lures you to the belief that it has magical powers and therefore you will not be making good use of your good luck. Depending too much on your luck will also deviate your path of destiny. Depending on your destiny too much will make you feel there is no need to study. It makes perfect sense. The key is in the words you have chosen, "too many".

Howard, you are as usual very inspiring. Thank you for dropping by.

JY

Howard said...

Dear Joseph,

The feeling is mutual, it is always a pleasure to discuss these finer things of Xuan Xue with you.

The beauty of Wuxing Sheng-Ke is that it keeps us in check and balanced, so I guess we can "play" it any way we like, as long as we realize that "too many" of anything will lead to other consequences because everything is inter-related. Therfore the choice of Wuxing corellations and their order is less important than the awareness of harmony and balance. As we say in Cantonese, "ng ho tai gwo fen" or "ng ho tai li po".

HC

Mary Catherine Bax said...

Dear Joseph,

As synchronicity would have it,I, too, have been playing with the 5 elements along with Carl Jung’s transcendent funtions.

sensing(fire)
|
|
feeling(wood)---- thinking(metal)
|
|
intuition(water)


When man goes the individuation process, he contracts these opposites to the center (earth). Perhaps when the ‘cycle’ of time (metal – heaven luck) that clashes the month pillar, this tends to occur. If he has prepared himself with ‘the studying of books’ (metal-thinking), accumulation of hidden virtues (wood-feeling), and been intuitive (water) enough to have chosen an environment of good Feng Shui, he can be successful in this process, and his destiny (fire-sensing heaven) can be enjoyed living a life as a complete human being.

Mary

Howard said...

Dear Joseph and Mary,

IMO, this simple exercise shows the two edged-sword of wuxing corellative thinking, which can be confusing as well as enlightening and that is why there are so many liqi pai (compass) schools of feng shui because in the end, they all used wuxing sheng-ke to judge ji-xiong (auspicious and harmfulness).

One way to overcome this confusion is to be task orientated targetted at a person's needs and limited to the present time, instead of trying to predict the distant future and use the outcome as a yardstick for "correct" or "authentic" feng shui.

Nor is it worthwhile to use wuxing corellative thinking to objectify one's subjective feelings and biases(eg our philosophy), not unlike emperors of the past using wuxing to justify their rule as a "heaven's mandate".

HC

Sherab Wong said...

Reading great books will enlighten you on your lacks and weaknesses; you will then improve yourself and accumulate more good deeds.By your virtues and merits, you would probably meet a good Feng Shui Master who can teach you some real stuff or help you to improve your feng shui; and after you have master the secrets of your luck cycle - you change your destiny! isn't this logical? it was clearly explained in a book called Lian Fan's Four Lesson.
See, it starts from 'reading' and 'education'. If nobody read Joseph's post,there will be even no discussions on this topic in the first place!
Between FS masters and enthusiasts, the knowledge of five elements is enough, as long as it isn't 'too much' - until it becomes 'fight' element, then that will be too sad for all.
Five elements are not five different entities that exclude each other. They are five phases of energy flow, that can be integrated and 'play' in a balanced and positive way.
Let's be 'playful' and 'prayerful' at the same time - relax!

Cheers,
Sherab

Mary Catherine Bax said...

Dear Joseph, Howard and Sherab,

What Sherab writes is key "They are five phases of energy flow, that can be integrated and 'play' in a balanced and positive way."

To 'mandate Heaven'(an oxymoron, isn't it?) as emperors and perhaps some of us has attempted to do with metaphysical knowledge can be disasterous. Heaven will never be controlled by man.

I'll take Howard's advise and work in the present moment to assist qi to move in an auspicious flow in the hopes peace will have a chance here on earth.

Mary

Howard said...

The "free pee" principle:

Since Joseph mentioned "playful" and Sherab mentioned "prayerful" lets add "practical" because between "prayerful" and "practical" we can be as "playful" as we like with the Five Elements!

:-)

Foon said...

Hi Joseph

Earth is the most immutable of the five elements, just as destiny is the most immutable of the 5 in the saying. Hidden virtuous good deeds are the roots of the tree that spread underground, which can slowly shift the earth of destiny. Our cycles of luck are generated by our destiny and metal moves in a circular motion. Water (shui) is flowing, Feng Shui changes with time and we can change it in space by changing our location. If we are in good luck cycle we can expect to enjoy better feng shui, yet the potential is limited by our destiny. If we are lucky enough to enjoy good feng shui then doing some good deeds without the need for acknowledgement will carry our luck even further. Studying can improve our luck and maximise what is possible in our destiny. Whilst fire is our eyes that read the words, it is also the heart that we put into learning. Virtuous deeds do indeed feed the heart.

Really enjoyed this playtime!

Foon

Howard said...

I remember having extensive conversations with my first FS teacher Master Ren Zhi-Lin on this topic and his view was FS is a tool help to fulfill our destiny with free-will, I expressed this view and also quoted Wing-Tsit Chan in my blog, if you are interested;

www.howardchoy.wordpress.com

Yenman said...

There was a quote from the YHZP:

Wood having too much water it drifts, lacking root it's possibilities are limitless...

It's kind of funny because of course too much wood and water in this interpretation is anti-destiny.

Yenman said...

Generally reading too many books leads to no action at all and too much knowledge. That's why you know destiny but don't do anything about it.

Too much Feng Shui leads you to believe you can alter destiny. Although I never would have thought of that.

Something gives me a deep feeling taht you can twist this interpretation anyway you like

Yenman said...

Continuing on. What's the use of destiny is luck cycles and yearly luck are what determine good and bad?

Then destiny doesn't matter, only luck pillars and yearly luck can bring good luck. The set path in 8 characters then becomes nullified. You really actually can't determine a destiny good or bad until it's compared against the Tai Sui and Luck Pillar.

But if Destiny doesn't matter and the luck pillars and tai sui determine happiness, then forget luck pillars. Why don't I just change where I live, move a hotter, dryer place, arrange my bedroom in a certain way. Wear many clothes to stay warm.

Then i won't have to worry about luck cycles and yearly luck.

But what if I lose Feng Shui, I can't always stay in the same place, what if luck inexplicably brings me something bad.

what if there is something I can DO to have good luck, because then i can always DO it.

That's good deeds and choosing the right occupation or course of action, karma can always shift the shape of destiny (earth), because it already created the shape in the first place.

but what good deeds am I supposed to do? well let's read some books and find out, ohhh damn... lol.

Of course you can use the interpretaion to make it fit any text or saying or whatever, even if there were 6 sayings it would still work.

Yenman said...

Similarly doing good deeds always implies losing Feng Shui. If you have lots of money and money is good feng shui for you and you give it away then you lost feng shui but created good luck for you.

Doing good deeds always implies sacrificing something of yourself, and it's always feng shui. You sacrifice your time, skills, mingle with the wrong people, giving you constantly the wrong fs, go to the wrong places in the world. But you created good luck for you because first of all you changed someone else's destiny and helped your own luck. By doing good deeds.

So FS is actually a latent form of changing Destiny, it doesn't do so yet, until you have enough good luck or FS situation then you can give it away and change other people's destinies and your own.

Yenman said...

This also how one overcomes the contradiction of... Reading destiny to change it.

For ex water is FS and Destiny knowledge.

A Wood DM with much FS and Destiny knowledge, will read destiny so he can change it?

Similarly I am a Wood dm with a lot of water, I must avoid water yet I stay around these metaphysical palces, something I've never done before until a few months ago.

And yet my destiny is not that bad, because I try to help people read destiny and reach generally unreachable info found in the classics. So some people actually like me, and that's how you change destiny.

By sacrificing FS, going into the Pian Yin environment and helping people, learning more about destiny to change it, going deeper into the works to change them.

That's how one changes destiny.