Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Back to Basics

When teachers spend a lot of time on the basics, they are good teachers. Students must get the basics right before moving on to the application. It may be boring to some impatient students when the basics are brought out from time to time. Some people write tons of books on the same subject but they have a weak foundation. That is why a lot of wrong ideas are sprouting and being spread out like bamboo shoots after the rain.

One of these ideas is what people call "hidden stems" in the study of Four Pillars of Destiny 四柱命理. 

"Hidden stems" may have come from the term Di Zhi Cang Gan 地支藏干. It must be noted that the word Cang 藏 used here means "storage" or "storing up". If you have in your mind only "hide and seek", then it is totally off the point and the interpretation like "hidden talent" will be invented because of the wrong picture. In the Feng Shui classic Zang Shu 葬書, it is written 葬者藏也 "to bury is to place in storage". Graveyard may lead to another false picture leading to misinterpretation if the purpose of burial is misunderstood. 

The different layers of understanding the Shi Tian Gan 十天干 and Shi Er Di Zhi 十二地支 should be taught at different stages and cannot be taken for granted in BaZi 八字 courses.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Successful Feng Shui Master

This is a recent hot topic discussed on Facebook. There are a lot of points raised and I will focus at two:

(1) the title "master"
(2) the criteria of being "successful".

I do not speak for others. I am just telling my friends my thoughts. When I was a teenager, people addressed me as "Master Yu" and not "Mister Yu" because the title "Mister" was reserved for adults at that time. So when I was getting old, I prefer people calling me Master Yu again to get the young feel. Of course the title "Master" is supposed to be for someone who has achieved the "expert" level in a certain field. Unfortunately the title has been inflated to cover people who claim to be in recent years. Therefore, when someone addresses me as Master Yu, I am reminded that I am still young. That is all.

What are the criteria for being successful? Well, today people like to measure anything with numbers, particularly when there is a $ sign in front of the numbers. If this is the way, then Tony Chan or Peter Chan is the most successful Feng Shui Master of all times as the court ruled that the money he got from Nina Wang the Little Sweetie were Feng Shui fees. When I testified in court as a Feng Shui Expert Witness, I pointed out that he did not know Feng Shui and that what he practiced was not Feng Shui practices. Well, the judge was of the opinion that I was away from Hong Kong for too long and did not know how Feng Shui was practiced in Hong Kong today. In a way, the judge was right as I was talking about what Feng Shui is and he was talking about what Feng Shui is in HK today.

Should we rule out the amount of money a person has made from Feng Shui practices as one of the criteria of being successful? If the practice is useful to the clients, there are more clients and the practice benefits more people. Then of course it is to be accepted as one factor (at least a necessary but not sufficient factor) for being successful. Those who are unknown to the public and serve only a few wealthy clients cannot be considered successful. Remember Yang Yun Song 楊筠松 was fondly known as Yang Jiu Pin 楊救貧 meaning Yang Saving the Poor.

Should we consider the number of students a person has as another criterion of being successful? Obviously if the teaching is bad, the teacher cannot have a lot of followers. Good marketing can bring a lot of students for the first time but not on a long term basis. This I will consider a necessary but not sufficient condition for being successful.

Having said that, I will consider the five virtues as the most fundamental conditions to be satisfied for a Feng Shui practitioner before talking about success.

仁 (loosely translated as Benevolence) - has the ingredient of kindness and love. Five element assignment is Wood.

義 (loosely translated as Righteousness) - has the ingredient of being correct in principle and defend the principle at all costs. Five element assignment is Metal.

禮 (loosely translated as Propriety) - has the ingredient of being polite and humble. Five element assignment is Fire.

智 - Wisdom and the most important ingredient being the ability to distinguish what is right and what is not. Five element assignment is Water.

信 (loosely translated as Trust) - has the ingredient of being trustworthy and confidence. Five element assignment is Earth.

If the four pillars structure has all these in good shape, just live a life following destiny. If some of these virtues are missing in the natal chart, then create these elements by your action and you can still become a successful person in any profession. This includes Feng Shui practitioners.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Destiny Study is NOT Divination

Divination is communication between a diviner and the Universe. The diviner wants to know something in the future and in response to his question, the Universe gives him the answer in the form he can decode. Different systems have been devised to perform an effective communication between Man and Heaven. The late Master Lam Kwok Hung of Hong Kong used a set of four pillars to do divination to provide answer to a specific question. He also used a flying star chart to do divination. When the four pillars are used, it does not matter how the four pillars are obtained. You can use the birth data provided by the client. You can also use the date of divination. In both cases, the hour is obtained either from the memory of the client (does not matter how he gets it) or from the diviner's clock (does not matter even if the clock gives correct time). No daylight savings time or other adjustment is needed. This is because divination depends on the principle of synchronicity.

The study of Four Pillars of Destiny is a totally different thing. It is to study the qi composition at the moment of birth of a person as the Heaven part and the environment of the place of birth as the Earth part. The Man part is about the parents including the karmic inheritance. Well, in this case, it is not divination and the principle of synchronicity does not apply.

In destiny studies we must try our best to obtain the correct time of birth - we call this the true local solar time. We cannot say take whatever the clock reads because we are using synchronicity. It is simply fundamentally wrong. 

The late Master Lam Kwok Hung is creative to use the technique in Ba Zi and Fei Xing as tools for divination. Unfortunately some people cannot distinguish between Qi study and Divination.


Friday, August 2, 2013

It's Good to be Creative (4)

The Gan-Zhi system (Stem-Branch) was created by Da Nao 大撓 by order of the Yellow Emperor. Legend also talked about how the Mysterious Lady of the Nine Heavens 九天玄女 gave the system to the Yellow Emperor. It remains only a legend. Anyway, the Gan-Zhi system led to the creation of the calendar using the sixty Stem-Branch binomials to label the year, month, day and hour. It is easy to find that the year and month are derived from the revolution of the earth around the sun while the day and hour are derived from the rotation of the earth about its own axis. We are amazed at the intelligence of the ancient people if we do not want to believe that the system was a gift from aliens from the outer space who visited our earth in the form of gods and goddesses.

With the assignment of the five elements to the stems and branches together with the concept of strength and weakness of the elements according to the time of the year, the study of the Four Pillars of Destiny was invented. Obviously the strength of the stems and branches depend of the time of the year and the location of the place we are referring to. 

Some people are creative to say that the calendar for the northern hemisphere cannot be the same as the calendar for the southern hemisphere. They say that summer in the northern hemisphere is winter in the southern hemisphere and therefore, they should not use the same calendar. When it is the Zi month 子月 in the northern hemisphere it should be the Wu month 午月in the southern hemisphere. When it is the Yin month 寅月in the northern hemisphere it should be the Shen month 申月in the southern hemisphere.  Superficially it sounds reasonable but what is under the superficial coat is something that can be easily overruled. 

The strength of the five elements depends on time (Heaven), geographical location (Earth) and the input by people (Man). The stem and branch are determined by time alone as the revolution of the earth around the sun is not affected by where you are on earth. The strength of the stem and branch depends on the location and the human activities because of the local climatic conditions. Even in the northern hemisphere, there is a marked difference in the strength of the stem and branch near the north pole and near the equator. The temperature control in buildings and the human activities also changes the strength of the five elements. 

The names of the 24 seasonal points have meaning only in temperate zones in the northern hemisphere. This is true. The names were created to help the farmers in ancient times in China. We can replace them by numbers or alphabets if we choose to. Then people in the southern hemisphere will feel more comfortable when they study the Four Pillars of Destiny. 

One more point I want to bring out is that the five elements are further classified in terms of yin and yang. When we study the twelve stages of life of an element, we must not forget the rule of "yin is born when yang is dead and vice versa" 隂死陽生,陽死隂生. Yin and yang also go through the twelve stages in the anti-clockwise and clockwise directions respectively.

It is good to be creative, but only if it is not done with a skin-deep understanding.