Thursday, December 27, 2007

Divination is not Fortune Telling

Fortune-telling is to predict what exactly will happen at a certain time in a certain space. Divination is to communicate with the Universe of which we are all a part. As a part we can communicate with the whole. Our finger is a part of our body. When it touches a hot surface, a message is sent to the brain and a message is sent back telling certain muscles to contract and withdraw the hand from the hot surface. Of course, this involves a reflex action that does not even go through the brain. This is an example of a part communicating with the whole.

A fortune-teller may tell you that you will have an inappropriate affair with someone and it is very costly. A diviner may tell you that you will face a fatal attraction and only if you can resist the temptation, it is likely you will suffer a lot because of the affair.

Fortune-telling is based on "everything is written on the rocks and cannot be changed".

Divination is to decode the message from the Universe to explain to us the cause and effect, the likelihood of something at present and in the near future. We can change the outcome by appropriate actions although we may not be able to turn everything around.

Thirty-five years ago I did a divination and the Yijing told me to consult a doctor in the SW. It happened that my classmate had a clinic in this direction from my home. He advised me to quit smoking right away or I would be paralyzed in 5 years.

Well, it was like two divinations one following the other. The first divination gave me a direction to consult the doctor. The second diviner was actually the doctor. He explained my problem and the probable outcome. I took the advice and the problem was removed in 15 years after quitting smoking and I am having great health today, 35 years after.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Use of Divination

Divination is a form of communication. It is communication between Man and Heaven. Through communication, human beings get guidance from above. Therefore, in the old days, divination is a means to get guidance about the fortune, misfortune, success and failure of human endeavours. In Chinese it is known as Ji, Xiong, Cheng, Bai 吉凶成敗.

Divination is not to be used lightly. For example, when the emperor asked his imperial diviners about which horse entered the water first, it was, in a way, an abuse of divination. The diviners could not tell the emperor they could not use divination in such meaningless events. They had to give him an answer but they also knew that they had only 50% chance to be correct because Heavenly would simply not give them guidance.

When Lu State was about to attack Yue State, it involved many lives and the glory or humiliation of a country. It was something that needed guidance. What the diviner Zi Gong wanted to know was the Ji/Xiong and Cheng/Bai of the military action. He did not need to ask whether Lu would win the war and within how many months. He did not even need to ask a question. All he needed was to pass his message to Heaven that he was concerned about the Ji/Xiong and Cheng/Bai of the war.

Although there was a popular guessing game known as She Fu 射覆 played in the old days, it should also be considered an abuse of divination. It is just to satisfy the curiosity of people. If is is used with the purpose of practicing and acquiring technique of divination, it is ok but the accuracy is doubtful.

Today, it is not uncommon to use divination to test the stock market. Let us say, you have studied the market and then decide to invest in a certain stock. Well, you want to have guidance from Heaven whether it will be a profitable investment. Then your divination is simply the Ji/Xiong and Cheng/Bai of your investment in that particular stock. You will use your mind to send this message to Heaven to get an answer. No particular way to ask the question is needed and no time frame needs to be set. The divination should display a picture before you to help you decide whether or not you should go ahead. It may also tell you whether or not there will be quick profit and what to expect. The time frame is taken care of automatically.

Of course, if you have no plans to invest in the stock market but you want to know how the market will behave in the coming year, you can also use divination. As long as you pass your message accurately from your mind to Heaven, you will get the answer. The divination will tell you about the Ji/Xiong and Cheng/Bai if you invest in the market.

What about games like horse racing or other sports? I will talk about this later.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Questions in Divination

In almost all books published in the West about divination, emphasis is made on how to ask a question. The question must be clear and there must be a time frame.

Well, this is not so in traditional practice.

Divination is not to answer your question. Divination is to present to you the picture about what is bothering you. Therefore, you do not even need to ask a question.

When you go to a traditional diviner, he will ask you, "What do you want to know?"
You only have to say something like:

My wealth luck 求財
My marriage 姻緣
My health 健康
My father's sickness 問父疾
The well-being of my family 家宅
My general well-being 自身

The divination will show you the whole picture including when something will happen.

No wonder someone said, "To write a book is to copy the mistakes in another book and present them in a different way."


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Fly over the church

Life is a destined journey?
Happiness is in solving problems?
Or in having problems solved?


Ducks in a half frozen pond
Which are swimming?
Which are standing on floating ice?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Another Divination Story V

While Plum Blossom Divination uses trigrams that build up hexagrams, Wen Wang Gua uses the six yaos that build up the hexagrams. Each line is assigned a stem and branch. One line is assigned the subject with another line the object. Each line will carry certain aspect of life according to the five element interaction. The method is quite complicated but the result is amazingly accurate. Let us see how we can use this method to analyze Zi Gong's divination.

Unfortunately the month and day when Zi Gong did the divination were unknown.
Without the month and day, we lose a lot of details.

Subject Hai water represents Lu.
Object Wei earth represents Yue.

Officer/Ghost holds subject. Indicates that Lu started the war.
Offspring holds object. It indicates that Yue fought back.
Usually we need to compare which is stronger, the subject or the object to see who wins the war.

The lines in between play a very important role in this hexagram.
The moving line You is Wife/Wealth that transfers the energy from Wei earth to Hai water. This can be interpreted as the effort made by Yue was in vain. In fact, it only strengthens the offensive Lu military. How did this happen?

Probably the Lu army was able to capture food and weapons due to the ineffective defense of Yue.

Parents line is missing in this hexagram. It is Mao wood hiding under the first line Chou earth. The parents line represents peace treaty. This is because Parents represents document that controls Offspring and is enforced by Officer/Ghost. The winner of the war Lu urged Yue to accept a treaty to restore peace. When did it happen? Since the hiding spirit controls the flying spirit, it is quick. Probably when the flying spirit is clashed away in the Wei month, the war will end.

If the divination took place in the Mao month, then peace talks would definitely arrive at a settlement. This is because Hai, Mao and Wei form the wood frame confirming the peace between subject and object.

Using the texts of Zhou Yi to interpret the hexagrams can yield different results depending on the intuition and knowledge of the diviner. Using Plum Blossom or Wen Wang Gua, the image is much clearer. However, it takes much time and effort to learn. Unfortunately some people, after reading a few books, think they already know the methods.

I will quote Confucius' words to end this posting:

To learn without thinking leads to confusion.

To think without learning leads to danger.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Another Divination Story IV

Interpretation of the original hexagram:

Li fire drains Xun wood. This indicates that the war exhausts the Lu State. The country has to spend a lot of money on the war. There will also be loss of lives.

The time of the war was probably spring or early summer. In autumn, there is the danger of the war dragging into winter making the offense difficult. In spring, wood is strong and fire is also ready. Metal and earth are quite weak.

Interpretation of the core hexagram:

In the Hu Gua, both trigrams are metal. Metal goes against wood. It indicates that there was resistance from the Yue State. However, since metal is weak and wood is strong, and metal is also controlled by fire, the resistance was quite weak. It fails to defeat the offensive Lu army. The two trigrams Dui and Qian represent young women and old man. These also indicates that the quality of the Yue army was quite poor.

Interpretation of the future hexagram:
In the future hexagram Gu, the Yong Gua is Gen earth. This is controlled by the strong Xun. The outcome is that the Lu army won the war quickly. Since Xun wood is soft, there was not serious damages to the defeated Yue State.

Confucius could have been developing Xiang Shu Yi Xue but he did not disclose his findings prematurely. Although he might have got the result, he still tried to use the line text to interpret his conclusion. Of course his twisted interpretation is not convincing.

In the next posting I am going to use Wen Wang Gua to interpret this divination. Stay tuned.


Another Divination Story III

Some people insist that in divination, there must be a specific question asked. Well, actually, the diviner only needs to be clear about the situation. There is no need of a specified question.

For example, Lu was about to attack Yue. Being a citizen of Lu, Zi Gong was anxious to know the outcome of the war and how it affects his country. This is the situation. He does not need to ask specifically, "Will our country win the war against Yue?"

In fact, some people even say that this question is a "yes" or "no" question and is illegitimate in Yijing Divination. It is also not true. However, the divination may not give you the "yes" or "no" answer. It tells you the whole story.

Now, let us use Plum Blossom Divination technique to see the beauty of the method.

The hexagram was Ding with Line 4 moving to Gu.

The first hexagram is Ding (Li on Xun) that represents the current situation.
The second hexagram is the Core Hexagram that represents the actual happenings.
The third hexagram Gu (Gen on Xun) represents the outcome.

In the first hexagram, the lower trigram has no moving line. It is known as the Body Trigram (Ti Gua 體卦). It will represent the Lu State.

The upper trigram that has a moving line is known as the Application Trigram (Yong Gua 用卦). It represents the war.

Note that we do not use the yong gua to represent the enemy Yue State as most people would. This is because what is in Zi Gong's mind was how the war would affect his mother country. It was not someone who was curious to know who would win the war. In divination, we want to know the fortune or misfortune (Ji Xiong 吉凶) of a situation.

The second hexagram is known as the Mutual Hexagram (Hu Gua 互卦). It is the core of the events. It affects the current situation and brings it to the future outcome. Each trigram of the Hu Gua is considered a Yong Gua. We study its influence on the Ti Gua.

In the third hexagram, the Ti Gua is unchanged. The Yong Gua is changed. It will tell us the outcome of the war.

Stay tuned for the next episode.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Another Divination Story (Part II)

Confucius was right - Lu conquered Yue without much resistance.

In one book I read, the author said, "Confucius based on the fact that Lu invaded Yue by boat and not on land. His interpretation was really brilliant."

In another book, the author said, "It was the Yue people who lived by the water. Lu people were not strong in battle in water. The army had still to advance by foot. Probably Confucius just wanted to comfort his own people by saying that they would win the battle despite a disadvantageous hexagram. It was the positive thinking of the people that helped Lu to win the war."

There is no record of Confucius using what we know as Wen Wang Gua. This method of divination using the hexagrams without consulting the hexagram and line texts of the Yijing was supposed to be the invention of Jing Fang in the Han Dynasty, many hundred years after Confucius time. It is not impossible that Confucius had already had the idea of using a more mathematical method to do divination. In my next posting, I will talk about this method.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Another Divination Story

When Lu State 魯國 was about to invade Yue State 越國, Zi Gong 子貢, a disciple of Confucius who was good at divination, did a Yijing Divination. He got the hexagram Ding 鼎 with Line 4 moving to hexagram Gu 蠱.

Nine at 4: The feet of the caldron are broken. The food prepared for the duke has spilled over. The scene is messy. Evil.

九四 鼎折足 覆公餗 其形渥 凶

Zi Gong said, “Our army marches to the Yue State. Since the feet are broken, the image is evil.”

Confucius said, “The Yue people live by the water. They travel by boat, not by feet. Therefore, it is fortunate.”

Lu conquered Yue. Confucius was right.

What do you think?

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Divination Story Part II

I read the story about 40 years ago. At that time I thought, "I am going to learn how to divine. This is fascinating. I will also learn how to be humble, especially when people praise my achievement."

10 years later I read the same story and I thought, "Famous diviners are just human. They are not right all the time."

Another 10 years later, I thought, "Li Chun Feng was really clever (cunning). He made sure that one of them was right and the emperor would be satisfied. He was sure to make it a win-win situation."

Today I have doubts about the story. It could have been made up altogether. The story can be used in different ways to suit different situations. If the intention is good, why bother?


Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Divination Story

During the reign of Tang Tai Zong 唐太宗, there were two famous diviners - Yuan Tian Gang 袁天罡 and Li Chun Feng 李淳風. One day, the emperor strolled along the river side with these two diviners keeping him company. They saw one black horse and one red horse walking slowly towards the river.

The emperor asked, “Which horse do you think will enter the river first?”

Yuan said, “I got the hexagram Li. Since Li is fire, the red horse will enter the river first.”

Li said, “ Using your hexagram Li, I think the black horse will enter the river first.”

The emperor did not understand and asked him why.

“Well,” Li smiled, “We see smoke before we see fire. Smoke is black. Therefore it is the black horse that will enter the river first.”

Li was right. The black horse entered the river first.

Yuan said graciously to Li, “I admire your divination skill. It is definitely superior.”

Li said, “Without the hexagram Li you obtained correctly, I would not have the accurate prediction. Therefore, your skill is superior.”

The emperor said, “You both are superb.”

What do you think?


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Validity of Yin Zhai Feng Shui

Danny Van den Berghe commented on my last posting about the validity of Yin Zhai Feng Shui. His argument makes a lot of sense.

As a matter of fact, I already pointed out that Yin Zhai Feng Shui is only a small part of all the contributions towards a person's well-being. The effect of graves has been exaggerated by Feng Shui masters in the past. It is to such an extent that no Feng Shui master dares say Yin Zhai Feng Shui is nonsense. If he makes that statement, he will have to receive attack from all directions. He will be denounced as a Feng Shui master. He will be thrown out of the Feng Shui world.

I won't say Yin Zhai Feng Shui is nonsense, not because I do not dare but because it is not. However, it is far less poweful than claimed. There are just too many more important factors that can affect a person's well-being.

We can assume that the emperors in the past enjoyed the services of the best Feng Shui masters (who else if not the emperors?).

All the empires in China deteriorated quickly after the first couple of emperors. This is ample proof that the Feng Shui of graves is far less effective than claimed.

Master Jiang Da Hong emphasized on the importance of Yang Zhai:
The house is where we eat and rest - its effect is immediate and noticeable.

He did not denounce Yin Zhai but he did not make wild claims like others.

It is interesting that most Feng Shui masters believe in the power of Yin Zhai Feng Shui without even questioning what they have been taught. Yet the theory and practical results are so shaky and unreliable.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Examining ancient graves

Qing Nang Xu 青囊序 says:

請驗一家*舊日墳 十墳埋下九墳貧
惟有一墳能發福 去水來山盡合情**

Please examine the ancient graves handled by the same Feng Shui school.
Among ten graves, nine yield poverty.
Only one grave generates prosperity.
The incoming mountain and outgoing water are appropriately loving.

* 一家 can mean "one family" or "one school (of thought)".
**合情 can mean "correct according to situation". When it is used in Feng Shui, it means that the yin and yang, mountain and water, are correctly (lovingly) located.

The author of Qing Nang Xu is Ceng Wen Chan 曾文辿, the most important disciple of Yang Yun Song 楊筠松. In these lines there is embedded one secret that most Feng Shui masters overlooked and overlook.

The "one school" does not specify which school. It actually refers to all schools.
If you examine the ancient graves handled by any Feng Shui school, you will find that nine out of ten have poor descendants because the mountain and water are not appropriately located. Only one grave has prosperous descendants because the water and mountain are well matching. Why?

We must not overlook the word "ancient" in the context. We must not forget that the magnetic field of the earth is changing. Even if an ancient grave was handled correctly to have the mountain and water matching in the best way when the person was buried, after a hundred years the change of the earth's magnetism has caused the mountain and water directions to be inappropriate today. It will be fruitless to examine ancient graves to verify the correctness of a Feng Shui formula.

Furthermore, yin zhai 陰宅 feng shui is only one small part of life. It may be the body (體) but the application (用) is yang zhai 陽宅 feng shui.

Using ancient graves or ancient buildings to verify the correctness or incorrectness of a Feng Shui formula is simply an invalid approach. It may actually point to the otherwise.


Saturday, November 3, 2007

When the illiterate says you don't know how to write

It means you are a successful writer.

Losers are forever losers if they say the winners do not deserve to win.

There is a reason behind every success but the losers say it is luck.

Advertisement brings buyers but not repeated buyers.

Don't envy the power of a brand name. It is the guarantee of quality and satisfaction.

When people are jealous of your success, be more successful and let the green-eye monster suffer from stomach ulcer.

By the way, my Qi Men Dun Jia course is due to start in January, 2008. This course will not be repeated. Late comers will only be able to buy the recording ebooks. I hope to see 100 attendees in the online seminars.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Interesting Building

Toronto may be an uninteresting city. However, this building in Toronto is definitely interesting. It is at least interesting to the Feng Shui eyes.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Feng Shui and Cooking

I read an article written by Jan Cisek about what Feng Shui is - Philosophy, Art or Science. The author uses different metaphors to support his idea that there is no ‘authentic’ Feng Shui and that anything that works is good Feng Shui practice.

He says, “Feng Shui is like cooking. There are lots of different styles of cooking. They all work, in context. But there is not one ‘authentic’ way of cooking, is there? "

Well, there is! Although there is no ‘authentic’ way of cooking, there are basic principles that must be followed in cooking. There are certain steps a good cook must follow to prepare delicious food.

The principle is that the food must be well presented, must smell good and must be tasty. In Chinese it is called 色 香 味 俱 全.

The steps to follow are:
1. Selection of fresh and good raw materials.
2. The right temperature must be used in preparing every dish.
3. The moisture in the food must be retained and not lost in cooking.
4. The recipe must make sure that the various ingredients go well with each other.
5. The sauce must bring out the taste of the food but not to cover up the original taste.
6. The presentation must be good looking.
7. The fragrant of the food must arouse the appetite of people.
8. The nutrition of the food must help people to be healthy.

There are different recipes and different ways of presentation. Yet, they all must satisfy the basic principle and the essential steps.

In Feng Shui, it is the same. There are different formulas. There are different ways to practice Feng Shui. However, the result must help people to enjoy harmony and success. Parallel to the eight steps in cooking, we have:

1. Selection of site - a beautiful environment.
2. A good design to receive wind and light.
3. The house must retain sheng qi.
4. The formula used must bring yang qi to meet yin qi in a loving manner.
5. The decoration must be beautiful.
6. The landscaping must be nice and appropriate.
7. People must feel the good qi and fall in love with the house.
8. There is active qi to help people to create fortune and inactive qi to enjoy success.

These "steps" can be refined as they just popped up from my mind. These are the draft of guidelines to follow when we practice Feng Shui. There is "authentic" Feng Shui.


Monday, October 8, 2007

My younger son's wedding

Another wonderful day in my life.
Welcoming my new daughter-in-law into our happy family.
Some of my students have met her in my Feng Shui seminar.

Science and Feng Shui (3)

Although we cannot say that Feng Shui theories satisfy the rigorous scientific discipline, we still want to use a logical system to develop the subject.

The concept of Yin and Yang is fundamental in metaphysical studies. Once the concept is misunderstood, all theories will be built on a loose foundation. Let us examine how Mr. Li Dingxin understands Zhou Yi from what he wrote:

“According to Zhou Yi, everything in the world can be categorized as yin and yang. For example, heavy is yang, light is yin; above is yang, below is yin; brightness is yang, darkness is yin; strong is yang, weak is yin; boss is yang, followers are yin…. Etc.”

A logical system does not allow contradiction within the system. The sentence “Heavy is yang, light is yin; above is yang, below is yin.” is already self-contradictory.

We all know that what is light rises to above and what is heavy stays below because of the different densities. You can clearly see the contradiction:

Heavy = yang
Heavy = below
Therefore, yang = below
But, below = yin
Therefore, yang = yin.

Light = yin
Light = above
Therefore, yin = above
But, above = yang
Therefore, yin = yang.

The misunderstanding leads to the wrong concept of mountain = yang while water = yin.
Mr. Li conjectures that mountain is the boss while water is the follower and the boss is yang while the follower is yin.

Let us examine what happens in a company. The boss sits in his office to gives orders. The staff follows his orders to do the work. The boss stays quietly in his office and makes his staff running around to do work. Who is yang and who is yin?

When there is internal contradiction, the system is simply wrong. We cannot say that there are different systems and all systems work. A system that is based on self-contradictory statements is simply wrong.

Everyone can claim that his system works because he has many years of practical experience. Such claims are worthless. If someone practiced Feng Shui as a profession after 1949 in China, then he should have died during the Cultural Revolution.


Thursday, October 4, 2007

Beauty of Nature

Good Feng Shui should consists of sheng qi from Heaven, Earth and Activities.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Science and Feng Shui (2)

Some Feng Shui schools brag about the authenticity of their teaching by examining ancient temples. According to their theory, the temples should face the so-called Xiao Kong Wang or Da Kong Wang. They use their luopans to verify their findings.

Well, if a temple was built several hundred years ago, the luopan reading today can be different from the reading when it was built by a few degrees. What is facing Kong Wang today probably did not face Kong Wang when it was built. This simply shows that their great grand masters did not practice the same kind of Feng Shui as they are now practicing.

If we assume that Yang Yun Song invented the Tian Pan according to the astronomical north, then the angle of declination at that time in Ganzhou where he researched Feng Shui theories should have been 7.5 degrees. Today, the angle of declination is about 4 degrees. Well, well!


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Science and Feng Shui

Imagine that there are scientists claiming to have learnt all secrets in Physics from Nicolas Copernic (1473-1543) and Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) and say that their knowledge of physics is from the most authentic source. They further state that Issac Newton (1643-1727) twisted the physical laws to establish fake physics and that he has departed from the lineage of Copernic-Galilei. Of course, to their eyes, Albert Einstein (1879-1955) is just a fake scientists because his knowledge is so different from the grand fathers Copernic and Galilei.

This is what exactly is happening in the Feng Shui world. Ever since Deng Xiaoping 鄧小平(1904-1997) pushed the reform in China after the death of Mao Zedong 毛澤東(1893-1976), Feng Shui masters emerge like sprouts of bamboo shoots after the rain. To establish fame followed by fortune, some overnight Feng Shui masters suddenly claim that they have practiced Feng Shui for 50-60 years and are now taking indoor disciples. They must think that everyone is a dumb fool not knowing that Feng Shui practices were forbidden after 1949 until Deng Xiaoping “let some people get rich first“.

To stand out, some of these masters claim that they inherited the original Feng Shui knowledge form Guo Pu 郭璞(276-324) and Yang Yun Song 楊筠松(834-900?). All other Feng Shui masters in history were fake except those holding the lineage of Guo-Yang. So, all of a sudden, San He 三合 Feng Shui is fake. San Yuan 三元 Feng Shui is fake. Only Guo-Yang 郭楊 Feng Shui is authentic. They shamelessly call Jiang Dahong 蔣大鴻 a Feng Shui crook. It is the same as saying Issac Newton is a fake scientist and Albert Einstein is a crook. Only the lineage holders of Copernic and Galilei are true scientists.

Fortunately the lineage game is not played in science.

Wake up Feng Shui enthusiasts!


Tuesday, September 25, 2007


“I am the only one who is right 為我獨尊” is an attitude problem some Feng Shui masters have. They can make statements from their own misunderstanding to declare that others are wrong. They are just using their own mistakes as the standard to claim that the correct ideas of others are wrong 以己之非,非人之是. They also like to step on famous forerunners to make themselves known.

For example, Song Dynasty scholar Cai Yuan Ding 蔡元定 explained that when a mountain was compared to water, then the inactive mountain was yin while the active water was yang. Water is approaching and wooing a mountain like a man wooing a woman. The water embraces the mountain just like a man would embrace a woman whom he loves. This is a vivid example illustrating the concept of yin and yang.

The self-crowned greatest Feng Shui master in 600 years Mr. Li Ding Xin 李定信 says that Cai was wrong. He made statement that the opposite is true: Mountain is yang while water is yin. His basis is from the Burial Book 葬書:

"Earth is the mother of qi. There is qi because there is earth. Qi is the mother of water. There is water because there is qi.”

How does it prove that mountain is yang while water is yin? Mr. Li explains:


“This means that earth (dragon) gives birth to qi. Qi gives birth to water. Dragon is the boss and water follows. Therefore, dragon (mountain) is yang and water is yin.”

To annotate his explanation he also says:


“According to Zhou Yi, everything in the world can be categorized as yin and yang. For example, heavy is yang, light is yin; above is yang, below is yin; brightness is yang, darkness is yin; strong is yang, weak is yin; boss is yang, followers are yin…. Etc.”

This is Mr. Li’s understanding of Zhou Yi. No wonder he talks about himself,


Twenty or thirty years ago, I also was a “Feng Shui“ master making a living in the rivers and lakes”

You bet, Mr. Li still is today.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Guo Pu

Guo Pu 郭璞 was born in the year 276 AD during the reign of Jin Wu Di 晉武帝. After the death of Jin Wu Di, his mentally retarded son Wei Di 惠帝became the emperor. The Huns invaded China and Jin Dynasty collapsed.

Wei Di’s cousin became the emperor with capital Nanjing. The empire was known as East Jin. It depended its safety on the powerful warlords. Among them general Wang Dun 王敦 was the most powerful. Guo Pu became Wang Dun’s advisor.

In the year 324 AD, Wang Dun planned to overthrow the East Jin Dynasty. Since Guo Pu was renowned in divination, Wang Dun asked him to predict the outcome of the rebellion.
Guo Pu cast a hexagram and told Wang Dun that it would not be successful. Wang suspected that Guo Pu was loyal to the emperor. He then asked Guo Pu to predict how long was Wang’s life. Guo Pu said, “If my lord turns against the emperor, misfortune will be at hand.”

Wang Dun was angry and asked, “Then how long will you live?”
Guo Pu replied, “My life will come to an end today.” He was hoping that Wang would destroy his reputation by allowing him to disprove his own divination.

Wang Dun decided to have Guo Pu to be executed although this meant that his divination was accurate. Two months later, the rebellion led by Wang Dun was crushed and Wang Died. So, Guo Pu predicted accurately his own death and Wang Dun’s death.

Feng Shui masters are of the opinion that the Burial Book 葬書 was written by Guo Pu. Ji Yun 紀昀, the chief editor of Si Gu Quan Shu 四庫全書 was of the opinion that the book was written by someone many hundred years later. According to official history, Guo Pu wrote quite a number of books but the Burial Book was not mentioned.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

What suffocates the learning of Feng Shui?

It is the learning system adopted by Feng Shui masters in the past that suffocates the Feng Shui knowledge.

If Feng Shui knowledge was passed on to the first Feng Shui master by an alien who was much more advanced than human civilization, then such knowledge can be considered secrets. When it is passed down the generations, it becomes practically zero after 50 generations due to the inevitable loss between generations.

If Feng Shui knowledge is human invention, then there should be no secret. It cannot be the invention of one person. It is the joint effort of many intelligent human beings. It is no different than the way any other science subject is developed. It is only in this way, Feng Shui education has a future.

The most glorious academic era in China was the Spring-Autumn and Warring-States Era 春秋戰國時代 described as hundred flowers blossoming with hundred schools honking 百花齊放 百家爭鳴. Although Confucianism and Daoism emerge as outstanding schools, the others all have their respected historical position.

Feng Shui should be the same had it not been suffocated by some selfish masters in the past. Qing Feng Shui scholar Shen Zhu Reng 沈竹礽 said these masters were honorable contributors to Feng Shui but at the same time convicts of Feng Shui.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007


The secret is in Time and Space.

There is no fixed direction that is auspicious. There is no fixed time that is auspicious. When the direction and time match, then it is auspicious. This is the entire secret in Feng Shui.

The question is "How?!"

There are many good restaurants where people enjoy the good food. The chef in each restaurant claims to have secret recipes handed down from generation to generation. I love food and therefore have eaten in many good restaurants. When I have a chance to chat with the chefs, I find that they all keep their trade secrets tightly and would not disclose a bit. One day I was invited to eat in a canteen and found that the food was exceptionally good. I chatted with the cook and to my surprise he told me he would teach me goumet cooking.

The first lesson I learned that there was no secret recipe to learn.

The second lesson I learned the different kinds of fish in the market place.

Then the different parts of a pig. Then the different parts of a cow. Then different vegetables.

Well, I spent one whole year in the market place with the cook just to learn the raw materials.

Then I watched him cooking different dishes. There was no teaching and no recipe.

Ha! One day the cook asked me, "Did you see any important thing I did in steaming a fish?" When he was satisfied with my observation, he continued to ask me why he did that. He never told me the right answer. He only disagreed with my answer until I got the right answer and the right explanation to the answer.

After many years, I realized that the secret is in Time and Space. The raw materials must be timely. The temperature and other ingredients must be right for the dish.


Monday, September 17, 2007

About Lineage

The traditional Chinese Feng Shui Pai - Teaching is passing down the "secrets" orally from master to disciple (Shifu Kou Zhuan Dizi 師父口傳弟子).

All Feng Shui practitioners honour Yang Yun Song 楊筠松 as the greatest Feng Shui Master of all time and claim that their Feng Shui technique comes from him. San He Pai claims that Yang was the founder of their school. San Yan Pai claims the same. They both say that the other school modified Yang's teaching to suit their purpose. They both claim they hold the real lineage from Yang.

A little mathematics will be enlightening.

Let us assume that Yang is the greatest Feng Shui master. How much of his knowledge did his disciples get? I would say that 90% is a generous number as none of his disciples is close to 90% as famous as he is. We also acknowledge that his disciples Liu Jiang Dong 劉江東, Ceng Wen Chan 曾文辿 were much more famous than their respective disciples as most of their names are unknown. Therefore, the assumption that each generation receives 90% of what the previous generation knows is a reasonably generous suggestion.

We further assume that from Yang Yun Song to today there are about 30-50 generations in between. How much does a present day lineage holder know even if we acknowledge that such a lineage exists?

0.9 ....= 0.042

We can safely conclude that the lineage holder today does not possess even 5% of Yang Yun Song's knowledge.


Thursday, September 13, 2007


We all have played this game when we were young.

10 -20 people line up and a message is passed from one person to the next in line in a whisper. The message is passed on and finally returns to the person who started the game. 10 out of 10 times the message is totally unrelated to the original message.

This is the lineage game in Feng Shui. The teaching is passed on from one shifu to one disciple verbally and secretly. You can imagine how much Feng Shui you can learn that resembles, say, Yang Yun Song's original teaching if you learn from someone who claims to be a lineage holder of Yang Yun Song.

Get the moral of the game?


Saturday, September 8, 2007

Q and A about Feng Shui (2)

Q: Is the use of a three-legged toad Feng Shui practice?

A: In Hong Kong, when a patient goes to see a doctor, he expects to get medicine or even injection. One doctor told me if a patient does not need medication, he also gives him some vitamin pills and sometimes an injection with just distilled water. The patient will get well faster. Is this medical practice or malpractice?

If your answer is yes, it is medical practice because it cures the patient, then the use of a three-legged toad is Feng Shui practice. If your answer is that it is malpractice, then the use of a three-legged toad is also Feng Shui malpractice.


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Q and A about Feng Shui (1)

Q: Is clutter removal Feng Shui?

A: Yes and no. If the clutter blocks the flow of qi in a house, then removal of the clutter is a Feng Shui practice. If the clutter reminds people of sad things happened in the past, then removal of the clutter is to stop generating sha qi in the mind of people and it is Feng Shui practice. We can compare clutter to the high cholesterol in blood vessels that may cause blockage of the blood vessel. We can also compare clutter to toxic materials in our body. Removal of such medical practice just as removal of clutter is Feng Shui practice.

Some people define clutter as something that you do not use for a certain length of time and it should be removed. Well, not everything in your house is frequently used. As long as it does not obstuct the flow of qi and it does not cause sha qi to be generated in the mind of people, why do we need to remove it?

On the other hand, if something is ugly, even though it may be something that you use everyday, it should be removed. The removal of ugly objects is Feng Shui practice.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The line drawn between Feng Shui and ...

Undeniably the term Feng Shui has been abused in recent years. Here I am referring to both yin and yang house Feng Shui, particularly the latter.

The scholarly term of Feng Shui is Kan Yu 堪輿 which means the way of Heaven and Earth.
We can loosely connect wind to Heaven and water to Earth. We can say that Kan Yu is the study of the way of living in harmony in a certain space at the current time.

The basis of the study and practice is that qi 氣 comes to a house according to the orientation of the house and the location of mountains (walls) and waters (doors and windows). It is about the approach of yang qi towards yin qi and the characteristics of the embryo formed as a result of the intercourse. These characteristics change with time. These characteristics also change with the environment. The environment includes the forms outside and inside the house.

By the forms we mean the mountains and waters, the buildings and the roads. the partitioning walls, large objects and the interior pathways, doors and windows inside the house. These affect the characteristics of the qi coming into a house. These also affect the qi generated in the mnds of the occupants.

Religious beliefs and shamantic practices that have no relationship with the environment should be excluded from the Feng Shui realm. No one has the right or authority to define what is and what is not Feng Shui just in the same way as to define what is and what is not Science (remembering that it comes from the Lation word "scientia" meaning "knowledge"). However, we must respect the origin of the term and the way the knowledge is developed through time. At times, the development may be led to the wrong path and it is our responsibility to bring it back on track. The path should not depart from the study of environment and its changes with time.


Monday, September 3, 2007

Half full =/= Half empty

Half full = Half empty is reality.

Full =/= Empty is also reality.

Two person are having dinner together.
After the first course, person A says, "I am half full."
He stops eating feeling satisfied.

Person B says, "My stomach is half empty". He is eagerly waiting for the next course and feels hungry.

The way they think makes half full not equal to half empty.

Our mind can make things happen. This is because our mind can create qi.
Feng Shui deals with qi. Therefore saying that the use of symbolism is not Feng Shui is not right.


Sunday, September 2, 2007

Full = Empty?

Mathematically, if ab = ac, then b = c.

Take a bottle of wine. Pour away half a bottle. You have a half full bottle of wine but you can also call it half empty bottle of wine.

Therefore, half full = half empty.
Mathematically, then full = empty.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lunar Eclipse

The lunar eclipse was known as "Heavenly Dog Eating the Moon" in ancient China.
I combined the four photos taken from my window this morning.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Full Moon

This is the beautiful full moon taken from my window. Tomorrow morning I will take the photo of the eclipse. Life is appreciation of the beauty of nature.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

More on Advertisement

I saw a very interesting commercial. One little boy went to a machine selling soft drinks. He was too short to reach a certain brand because the button was located at a higher level. So he inserted a coin and pushed the button of a more popular brand that he could reach. One can came out. He did the same to get another can. Then he put the two cans together and step on them to reach button of the less popular brand. After the can he wanted came out, he took it and went away enjoying his drink.

I think the person who designed this commercial should be fired. He was giving more exposure to the competitor. There is also a message sent out: the competitor sells two while you can sell only one.

I have seen worse advertisememts and I thank the advertisers who want to reach high by stepping on me.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

More on Experience

經而不驗 - To go through without examing.
驗而不經 - to examine without going through.

The first case describes people who have gone through a situation but did not and do not learn from it.

The second case describes people who try to make up what may be the result of a situation and draw conclusion without really going through such a situation.

To make it clearer, the first is to try to establish a rule merely from observed results. The second is to try to establish a theory without practical testing and believe it is true.

At FSRC, students are discouraged to teach before having adequate practical work. This is because FSRC only produces experienced teachers.


Sunday, August 12, 2007


The Chinese equivalent of the word "experience" consists of two characters: 經驗.
The first character means "passed through" or "go through".
The second character means "examined" or "tested".

In order to have experience, it is not enough to have just passed through or gone through certain happenings. The person must examine the why and the how and to have the resulted tested. In this way, he is experienced.

In my school, I always expect my students to learn the theory well before putting it to practice. He will get acknowledgement as a certified practitioner only when he is experienced.

With proper training, one can become a professional when he has gained enough practical experience. If one is dedicated to metaphysics by going through proper training and gaining well examined case studies, he can become a proficient professional in one year. If a person does not receive proper training and just thinking wild, he cannot be a professional even if he claims to have many years of experience. There lies the difference.


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Science and Art of Pricing

Pricing is to set a price for a commodity/service that people are willing to pay for.

It has nothing to do with the cost of production or the affordability. The selling price is not necessarily higher than the cost price as no profit is guaranteed in free trade. Sometimes the price may be affordable but people are not willing to buy. Sometimes the price may not be affordable, yet people are willing to buy with whatever means. The price depends on the quality of the product and the marketing. Good marketing can sell an inferior product at a price people cannot afford to pay.

Pricing can be a science or an art. The science of pricing is to yield the maximum profit. The art of pricing is to bring the maximum benefit to the world.

Take, for example, my Feng Shui Correspondence Course into consideration. If I price it at $20 including the course books and the yahoo group and wiki group, the I suppose I can sell about 3000 to 5000 a year with good marketing. The profit will be maximized. Scientifically this is the right price. This will allow many more people to understand Feng Shui and to do it themselves. The impact is that no one will care to be a practitioner as there will be no business. This means no one will have enough practical experience and Feng Shui will stop at the theoretical level. There will not be any new findings. Such pricing cannot be considered good pricing as it has a negative effect ultimately.


Monday, July 30, 2007

仁者樂山 智者樂水

The benevolent love mountains
The wise love waters.

It means different people have different tastes.
From the Feng Shui point of view, the saying is interesting.

Mountains take care of people 山管人丁
Waters take care of wealth 水管財祿.

Noble mountains can affect the character of people and make them kind and honorable.
Beautiful water can help people do business wisely.

The study of Feng Shui begins with the appreciation of mountains and waters. Mountains and waters are everywhere if you do not take their literal meanings.


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Qi Men Dun Jia 奇門遁甲 (1)

Qi Men Dun Jia is a multi-dimensional analysis of qi. Among the many dimensions, the Three Wonders Six Emblems(San Qi 三奇 Liu Yi 六儀) and Eight Doors (Ba Men 八門) are most important. This is why Qi 奇 and Men 門 become part of the name of the study.

Dun Jia 遁甲 is to make the leader invisible to give command from behind the scene.

In strategic planning, the technique of QMDJ is most rewarding. In the old days, it was used in warfares. Today, most people are going to the battle field everyday. In order to be the winner in the broad sense, the knowledge of QMDJ can be most helpful.

Having said that, I do not want to mislead the reader by exaggerating the power of QMDJ. Whether or not one can win in the battle field depends largely on other more important factors than QMDJ technique. Without good weapons one is sure to lose the war.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Apple Sha

Once upon a time, three men - a lousy Feng Shui teacher, a good Feng Shui teacher and a physicist went to visit an apple orchard. When they were tired, they sat underneath an apple tree. Three apples fell from the tree hitting each and everyone's head.

The lousy Feng Shui teacher later taught his students not to sit under an apple tree otherwise they can be hurt by "apple sha".

The good Feng Shui teacher later taught his students that they must watch out for apples falling down as they were gifts from Heaven. All you need to do is to learn how to "fight apple sha".

The physicist discovered the law of gravity. He is the celebrated Sir Issac Newton.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

I Ching Divination

The most satisfying thing to do is to help people solve their problems. In 1997, when I started building my website, I offered free I Ching reading for visitors to my website. After over 1 year, I accumulated more than 500 case studies and compiled my Simple Yijing Divination booklet based on the results. This practical ebook is available for free and readers can use it for simple divination without knowing the theory. The download is on this page:

On this page, there is another ebook that contains a mathematical analysis of a formula used in Plum Blossom Divination 梅花易數. The formula may be the work of Song Dynasty scholar Shao Yong 邵雍 or it may be not. The system, however, has been used for over 1000 years and proved to be accurate.

There may be people who claim that the formula does not cover all 384 cases of a hexagram with exactly one moving line. One arrogant person publicly discredited this system and said that it was an invalid system but he never published any proof. It was just an arrogant wild claim.

At that time I was preparing my materials for my Plum Blossom Divination seminar and I was annoyed by the ignorant arrogance of this person. I put up my little ebook that explained the mathematical analysis of the formula for the public to read. It is on the same page given by the link above. You need the password "ShaoKangJie" to open the ebook.

This ebook contains the only mathematical analysis of the formula to date. If people can point to any published work that precedes my work, he/she is welcome to let me know and I will give the author the credit. I must emphasize that my work provides a clear mathematical explanation together with a proven modification of the formula. Yet, I do not claim that my formula is better than the original formula. This is because the original formula is metaphysically valid and the system is beautiful whether invented by Shao Yong or any other wise person.

When someone has done something illegal, the judicial system will put him in jail. The purpose is to let him repent and correct his mistakes. It is not meant to punish him. That is why the jail is now called the "correctional center". If the offender of the law becomes more bitter and commit more crimes like "libel" after release, it is a pity.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Greatest Feng Shui Master?

Some people honour Yang Yun Song 楊筠松(Yang Yi 楊益, Yang Jiu Pin 楊救貧) as the greatest Feng Shui Master in history.

Why? - Just because they claim to be holding his lineage.

Some people honour Jiang Da Hong 蔣大鴻 as the Di Xian 地仙 (Fairy of the Land).

Why? - Just because they claim to be holding his lineage.

The same people may also honour Guo Pu 郭璞 as the Great Grand Master of Feng Shui and claim that the lineage was handed down from him to Yang Yun Song and after many generations to the person himself.

This is just a joke. Feng Shui is a living knowledge. We see further because we can stand on the shoulders of giants. Feng Shui masters who claim to hold lineage are like a dwarf peeping under the trousers of ancient masters.

A young man told me that the most regrettable thing he has done was to promote someone as the grand master. I pointed out (and he agreed) that without having done that, he would not have the foundation to promote himself today.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Classical Feng Shui

What is "classical Feng Shui"?

The word "classical" here is used to differentiate it from "newage" and "newage" here almost points to "superstition".

Classical Feng Shui focuses on the study of qi and qi flow.

We must remember that qi can come from Heaven, Earth and Man.

Qi is generated as a result of the interaction between yin and yang.

The human mind is yin and the five (or six or more) senses are yang.

For example, when we see something, the image comes into our mind. The yin and yang react to generate qi. The qi can display joy, sorrow, like, dislike, love or hate. The qi can also initiate the creation or destruction of wealth, creation or destruction of love affairs, etc.

To say that items used in Feng Shui practices are not "classical feng shui" is ignorant of the nature of classical feng shui. However, whether the items are effective, whether the items are useful or harmful depends on the level of understanding of Classical Feng Shui.


Monday, July 16, 2007


Shu dog barks at the sun.

Shu 蜀 is the abbreviation for Sichuan 四川 in China. The province is usually damp and foggy. The dogs there do not know what the sun is. Once in a while, the fog clears and the sun appears but the dogs there behave as if they see UFO. One dog starts to bark and many others follow.

There is another proverb: 一犬吠影 百犬吠聲 which translates into "One dog barks at a shadow. Hundred dogs bark at the noise."

When one dog starts barking because it sees a shadow, many other dogs join the chorus and bark just because they hear someone barking.

Does this sound familiar to you?


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Video ebook

At last I am able to embed my online seminar recording in an encrypted ebook. This is the most effective way of doing online seminars.

The Feng Shui series provides solid foundation for Professional Feng Shui training. The internet technology is really wonderful.

You are invited to go to my website to download the Feng Shui Tips ebook for free.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Casually thinking aloud

Some teachers of metaphysics claim that they examine the Ba Zi of a potential student before acceptance or rejection into their schools. Mainly this is to avoid betrayal. Some will base on Mian Xiang (face reading) to accept or reject a student.

Confucius said that he offered his teachings to anyone including those who merely gave him some preserved meat as a token of thanks. Well, the preserved meat was only symbolic. In other words, he taught anyone who respected him as a teacher. He taught a lot of students but only 72 followed him through to have great achievement.

I have quite a number of good students. The most comforting thing is that none of them brags about being knowledgeable. There are others who claim to be the best ... There are some others who step on successful people in order to gain recognition. They simply lose their credibility.

We have witnessed some frogs in the well bragging that their bellies are larger than the sky. In order to prove their claims, they inflated and busted their bellies.


Sunday, July 8, 2007

Free advertisement

One student asked me why I did not do anything to clear rumors and slander. She mentioned that some people bad-mouth me in public mailing lists.

Well, I should thank them for free advertisement. Wise people will be curious to find out the truth through my websites and a lot of them take my courses because of that. Only foolish people believe in what these people write without trying to find out the truth. These are not the people I want to teach anyway.


Monday, July 2, 2007

Bull Shit

Su Dong Po 蘇東坡 had a bossom friend Fo Yin 佛印 who was a Buddhist monk. One day, they meditated in the monastery where Fo Yin was based. When they came back to this world, Su asked Fo Yin, "what do you see in front of you?"

"A great scholar!" Fo Yin smiled, "and what do you see?"

"A pile of bull shit!" Su Dong Po was making fun of Fo Yin.

The monk smiled with more elegance when he heard Su's remark.

Su Dong Po went home with a light heart. At the door, he met his little sister. She asked why her brother looked so happy.

"Because I won this time." Every time Su was defeated by Fo Yin when they argued over Buddhism and philosophy.

"How?" his little sister asked.

Su Dong Po told her the whole story in high spirits. His sister commented,

"My dear brother, you lost again."

"What?" he protested.

"Fo Yin has knowledge and wisdom in his heart and that is why he saw a scholar in front of him. On the other hand, you had nothing but bull shit in your heart. Who won?"


Firework photo

This is a photo I took last night from my terrace. I didn't know Canada Wonderland was so close by that I could hear the music and explosion as if it was from a neighbour.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Yong Shen 用神

"Useful God" is actually a bad translation. It misleads the reader to think about "usefulness".

In fact, the character "yong 用" conveys the idea of "focus". The focus of the chart is the distinct feature of the chart. The particular deity/god that is responsible for that feature is the Yong Shen - the deity we focus at. Obviously a chart is good if the Yong Shen is healthy and strong. A bad luck period will have this Yong Shen attacked by the luck pillar. However, if the Yong Shen is protected in the natal chart, then the attack may be dissolved.

How to identify the Yong Shen in a four-pillars chart is simple and not simple. Some people say scornfully that Yong Shen is unimportant. Well, it simply means that these people have no focus when they read a chart.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bazi is colorful

At an elementary stage of studying Bazi 八字 or a more academic name, Four Pillars of Destiny 四柱推命術, we talk about types of charts 格局 and consider good and bad luck cycles. Some even classify the 10 deities into good and bad deities. These are only for beginners to have a guideline. Bazi is not black and white. It is colorful.

It is not enough to say good luck pillars or bad luck pillars. We have to know what is before the person during this cycle. And more importantly, how to deal with the situation to get the best result.

Su Dongpo's chart, for example, can be classified as "Follow Intensity 從旺格". It does not tell you anything. Some may say it is "Fake Follow" as there is Chou earth to go against the water. Well, it is not the case. Chou is one leg of the water directional frame in the north. It does not obstruct the flow of qi. However, it is not true that it transforms into water being in the water frame. Transformation is irrelevant.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Su Dong Po's Ba Zi

Su Shi 蘇軾, who called himself Dong Po Ju Shi 東坡居士, was born in 1037 January 8. His four pillars chart is:

乙 癸 辛 丙
卯 亥 丑 子

56 46 36 26 16 6
丁 丙 乙 甲 癸 壬
未 午 巳 辰 卯 寅

Hai, Zi and Chou form a strong water directional frame inducing the Bing Xin combination to transform into water. The qi all drain into Yi Mao Shi Shen 食神. No wonder he was a great poet, writer, painter, calligrapher and philosopher.

Unfortunately the month branch Chou contains Qi Sha 七殺 and he got entangled between the conservative and reform parties 新舊黨爭. His political path was doomed to be disastrous.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Examining ancient graves

Some Feng Shui masters today love to boast about the authenticity of their Feng Shui knowledge. Some examine the facing of ancient graves to confirm their Feng Shui theory. Others examine the facing of temples built over a century.

They do not understand that the magnetic declination is changing all the time. The facing of a grave or a temple built 100 years ago is definitely different measured today and measured 100 years ago. If the measurement today fits their Feng Shui theory, then it should not have fit the same 100 years ago. What is the point?


Friday, June 15, 2007


This is a sentence quoted from Feng Shui classic Tian Yu Jing 天玉經. The full sentence is:

卯山卯向卯源水 驟富石崇比

It is one example of Yi Gua Chun Qing 一卦純清to have mountain, facing and water source from gua of the same palace. If a grave site can satisfy these conditions, then the desendants will be rich as Shi Chong 石崇.

I have read one book written by a very arrogant master. The reason why I say he is a very arrogant master is because in his books he is never tired of attacking other masters and boasting of how learned he is. Well, his annotation of this sentence betrays him.

He mistook 石崇 to be rocks on a lofty mountain!

In fact, Shi Chong 石崇 (249-300) was a wealthy man who lived during the Jin Dynasty 晉朝. He was very clever and became a government officer at the age of 20. He was promoted to be the governor of a rich county where he squeezed the citizens and even robbed wealthy travelers so that he became extremely rich in just a few years time. He also had a very beautiful woman as his concubine. The story has a justified ending. A powerful king who wanted his wealth and women had him prosecuted and killed. The beautiful concubine committed suicide jumping down from her chamber.

This is a well-known story. It shows how learned this arrogant master is.

It is actually not good to use Shi Chong to represent a wealthy person. He got rich by unethical and illegal means. His ending was horrible. It shows that the author of Tian Yu Jing was not a very educated person. People are of the opinion that Tian Yu Jing was written by Yang Yun Song 楊筠松. I doubt it very much. At least this sentence cannot be Yang Gong's writing.


Monday, June 11, 2007

The two things I love to do most

It is really nice to work and play with my grandson at the same time.

To write while you are light-hearted you can inject joy into the writing.

I just love this semi-retirement lifestyle.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Translation 3

Chinese writers were/are fond of using history to relate to ideas they want to convey. If the reader does not know Chinese history, he will be lost and cannot understand what the author tries to talk about. Therefore, in translating Chinese writing into another language, the historical reference must be pointed out to convey the author's ideas to the readers.

For example, there is a sentence in Xuan Kong Mi Zhi 玄空秘旨:

富並陶朱 定是堅金遇土

Tao Zhu 陶朱 is the name of a wealthy man in the Spring-Autumn period. It is a beautiful story too long to tell here. In short, after helping a King who lost his country to the invaders to take revenge and restored his kingdom, Tao Zhu (whose real name was Fan Li 范蠡) left his country and started his new life in another country. He was a real commercial genius who became the richest man in just a few years' time.

I remember someone translated the article into English. The translation was ok but the annotation showed poor Chinese history background. The translator mistook Tao Zhu as the family names of two wealthy man Tao and Zhu. The translator further invented the story of these two men competing in luxury by destroying pearls to see who destroyed more.

The common annotation of the sentence in most Chinese books is:

When the water star is 6 and the mountain star is 2, then the people will be as wealthy as Tao Zhu.

This is not really the case. I will only give out a little hint here. Both stars and forms must be examined to see the effect. In fact, the entire article is to be read with this attitude. It is not just about the combinations of stars.


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Qilin 麒麟

Legend says that Confucius' mother saw a qilin when she was pregnant. Not long after that, she gave birth to Confucius. It is the origin of the proverb:

Heaven bestows a qilin son 天降麟兒.

What exactly is the qilin? Does this animal exist?

Several descriptions are found in ancient books:

(1) 禮記 - Qilin, phoenix, tortoise and dragon are the four spiritual creatures 靈獸.

(2) 爾雅釋獸 - qilin: deer body, ox tail, one horn.

This is from the chapter about animals from an encyclopedia compiled during the early Han Dynasty.

(3) 說文解字 - 麒 is a benevolent animal. It has the body of a deer, tail of an ox and one horn. 麟 is a female 麒. Later annotation explains that this animal has weapon but never attacks and therefore it is benevolent. It does not tread on insects and does not trample the grass. Therefore it is an animal of fortune. It appears when the world enjoys peace and prosperity or when a sage is to come.

說文解字 is probably the earliest dictionary compiled in the Han Dynasty.

(4) 明史 - qilin: fore legs measure 9 feet 尺, hind legs 6 feet, neck 16 feet, with two short horns, ox tail and deer body.

This is from the official Ming Dynasty History about foreign countries.

The description before Ming Dynasty was quite different from that in the Ming Dynasty when Zheng He 鄭和 brought two giraffes back from Africa. The emperor was pleased and said that they were the qilin that symbolized the prosperity of his empire.

Today bronze or porcelain qilin are used in Feng Shui practices to bring protection to people and to get rid of sha qi.


Monday, June 4, 2007

Three Stylish Subjects 三式

The three stylish subjects are:

(1) Tai Yi Shen Shu 太乙神數
(2) Qi Men Dun Jia 奇門遁甲
(3) Liu Ren 六壬

Tai Yi is based mainly on Tian Yuan 天元.
Qi Men is based mainly on Di Yuan 地元.
Liu Ren is based manily on Ren Yuan 人元.

Tai Yi is used to divine national (and international) events, changes in climate, and natural disasters.

Qi Men is used to find out the best direction and timing for important human events. In the old days, it was used in military affairs.

Liu Ren is used to divine human affairs which can be trifle everyday matters.

Like every other metaphysical subject, in the beginning, it is important to understand the formulation and interpretation according to established rules. At a more advanced stage, the rules can be forgotten. The ultimate goal is have the subject integrated into the diviner's spirit and become one.


Thursday, May 31, 2007

Deities and Ghosts

Deities and ghosts are simply spirits. Since the subject of spirits is not within the realm of science, it is looked upon as superstition by a lot of people. Some people who claim to be experts in metaphysics also do not like to talk about spirits. We must understand that metaphysics is the rational study of our universe beyond the coverage of physics. Spirits are what science cannot cover. If spirits do not exist, then there is practically nothing left in metaphysics.

The following short paragraph is from Xi Ci Zhuan 繫辭傳 of the Yijing 易經.

易與天地準 故能彌綸天地之道
仰以觀於天文 俯以察於地理 是故知幽明之故
原始反終 故知生死之說
精氣為物 游魂為變 是故知鬼神之情狀

"The Yi is based on the principle of Heaven and Earth. Therefore, it can explain the way of Heaven and Earth. (The sages) look up to examine astronomy, look down to study geography. They therefore understand the reasons for brightness and darkness. They explore the beginning and the ending and therefore understand the theory of life and death. Essence and breath form tangible beings. The wandering of spirits causes the transformation. Therefore, they know the situation of deities and ghosts." - translation by Joseph Yu

The Yijing is the origin of Chinese metaphysics. It clearly points out the structure of living things - formation of the body by assimilation of essence and breath with life and death controlled by the movement of spirit.

The combination of a body and a spirit brings life. The departure of the spirit from the body implies death.

Spirits are therefore quite close to us and are nothing to be afraid of. They are the core of the study of Destiny and Feng Shui. Metaphysics can therefore be defined as the rational analysis of irrational beings to see how they affect the lives of people.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Su Dong Po's misinterpreted saying

Su Dong Po 蘇東坡 (a famous scholar in the Song 宋 Dynasty) came from a scholarly family. His father and his brother were also great scholars. One day, someone asked him the secret to pass examination to have academic achievement (考取功名). He (probably jokingly) said:


The translation is:

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

For those who have knowledge of Zi Ping Ba Zi 子平八字, destiny refers to the four pillars chart, cycle refers to the luck pillar. The four pillars do provide a limit to our achievement. It is just like a bird is born to be able to fly but a human being is not. There is no argument about it. However, it does not limit our ability to create the airplane so that human beings can travel by air. There is no contradiction in saying that our potential has a limit.

Destiny does not say that a person can or cannot be a billionaire. Destiny can only tell us that a certain person is good at doing certain things and that his achievement in this area will be much greater than other undertakings. Money is not the point.

A luck pillar is a length of time during which certain qi is strong while certain other qi is weak. It is the length of time during which a person can do well at something and not so well at others. It is not just good luck or bad luck. You can say that the luck pillar may present obstructions or a river to cross. If the person does not want to cross the river or counter the obstruction, he can choose to go a longer way to reach the destination or the go around the obstruction. It may take longer and more effort to achieve the goal but it is the way to do it.

Studying our destiny and cycles in our life can help us to go on the proper path. The path is predetermined. Without knowing this path we may be going on the wrong path that does not bring us to the destination. Life is not so meaningful and achievement may be below expectation. We cannot say that limit does not exist. We can only say that knowing the limits and limitation will help us live a better life.

Shao Yong, for example, knew his destiny and refused to take up a government post. His highest potential was not in politics. He is the best example of one who knows his destiny and makes the best use of his knowledge of destiny. He knows his limits and he knows in which area are his limits much higher.

Feng Shui actually refers to the way your ancestors were buried. This is because in the Song Dynasty, yin house feng shui was much more focused than yang house feng shui. Today we can also imply the influence of yang house feng shui as it is more in our focus. It is about tapping into the best academic qi in the house to help us do well in studies.

Accumulation of hidden virtuous deeds is to give us the peace of mind by helping others without claiming credits. This helps us develop a character that is not blinded by worldly feeling of success and visible recognition. It is in this way we can do well in presenting our ideas in writing. In the ancient days, it means the ability to write well in examination.

To study books is to read and digest the knowledge given in the books. It is to assimulate the digested knowledge for the production of new ideas and inventions.

All these are not to be measured in terms of percentages. It tells us the importance of Xian Tian and Hou Tian. Destiny and cycles are Xian Tian. These are the things we cannot change. Feng Shui, accumulation of hidden virtuous deeds, and the study of books are all Hou Tian efforts to help us live according to our Xian Tian structure.

The order of the five items mentioned does not indicate the order of importance. It is also not true that each item contributes one-fifth to the success of failure. What comes first is Xian Tian and what comes later is Hou Tian. It takes all to have success just like it takes yin and yang to form the taiji.


Monday, May 28, 2007

Translation (2a)

The next term 月事 = 月信 = 月經
They all refer to menstruation.
If you translate this as monthly affairs, monthly letters/messages or monthly classic/happenings, it will be really funny. However, they may all be suggestive of what the terms refers to.

流浪 simply means wandering, vagabond. The made-up of the term is quite poetic.

The last one 月旦 means criticing well-known people or regularly assessing the behavior of public figures.The term cannot be understood without knowing the historical background.
During the Late Han Dynasty, Xu Shao and his brother Xu Jing published periodicals commenting on political figures on a monthly basis. The periodical was named: 月旦評. Ever since then, to comment on public figures we use the verb 月旦.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Translation (2)

The first two terms 填房, 入贅 appear in Jiang Da Hong's Water Dragon Classic. In "Natural Water Method Song", there is one line that reads:


A Sinologist translated this as:

The screens are rolled up, the daughter will become a concubine and the son will live with the relatives of his wife.

This, of course, is not a word-for-word translation. This Sinologist has acquired help from a Chinese professor in Taiwan. I will explain the two terms and see whether you can do a better job.

填房 is actually a vivid term that describes the situation when a woman is married to a widower. After the death of his wife, the widower's bedroom is "empty" meaning without a woman. He will get someone to marry him to "fill the room". The woman is not considered a concubine. She is a wife but not the first wife. Only a not so well-to-do family will agree to have their daugher to become the "room filler" - marrying with a widower.

入贅 is another situation. Usually when a man gets married, his wife will come to live with him and his family (parents and brothers). If a wealthy family does not have a son but only daughters, then when a daughter (usually the first) gets married, the wealthy family will require the son-in-law to live with the wife's family and the first grandson born will inherit the family name of the wife. This situation is known as 入贅. Usually this man comes from a not so well-to-do family and he has brothers to be responsible to extend the family name.

This example shows the difficulty of translation as there is no equivalence in the western culture.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Translation (1)

Regarding translation from Chinese to English, faithfulness to the original is the first priority. Some people prefer "word for word" translation to translation according to the translator's understanding. In a way, this sounds reasonable. However, if they have a bit more understanding of the Chinese language, they will not have such preference.

Just to show you some example:

Chinese term Word for word translation
填房 filling room
入贅 enter unwanted extra
月事 moon/month matters
流浪 flow wave
月旦 moon/month birth/dawn

Can you guess the real meaning of the terms given the word for word translation?You can guess and put your answers in the "comment" section. I will give you the answers next week.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thinking Aloud

Not everyone can think aloud. There is just too much to hide on the dark side of the mind. It is a blessing to be able to think aloud. This means that you have nothing to hide or there is nothing to be afraid of exposing your mind.

My blog is to make my thoughts visible. What I write is what I think. What I think is what I consider right. It does not matter whether the reader agrees with my ideas. It is not my wish to convince anyone of my ideas. I will be happy if someone reads my mind. I will be happier if someone can make me change my mind.