Monday, March 31, 2008


Below is a caption from the chapter on the Concept of Qi in FengShui from my new e-book:- Chinese Metaphysics: Essential FengShui Basics.




The word Qi 氣 written in its old form is made up of two separate words:
Vapor 气 and Rice 米.

The general concept of the origin of the word Qi 氣 comes from the Ancients’ observation of their surroundings and their daily life chores. This word being a combination of two characters of Vapor 气 and Rice 米, tells us that the ancients formulated this word when they observed steam rising from rice being cooked.

Qi 氣, however, is more than just steam rising from a cooking pot. It is something not easily translated or interpreted with our limited language. It is something that is so pervasive and encompassing that it touches and affects everything within our universe.

To borrow the words of one Korean TCM doctor Joseph K. Kim (PhD) (Compass of Health):
“……..Qi is the ultimate Matrix of the Universe, spreading out in both the physical and metaphysical dimensions.”


Generally, when we talk about Qi, people tend to think of the air that we breathe. Well, this is partly true because air is also part of Qi. But Qi is more than just air. It is a lot of other things, not easily described in one word or a few sentences.

There are a lot of names being given to Qi. Here are a few different names: Subtle Energy; Vital Energy; Life Energy; Cosmic Life Force; Dynamic Energy; Bio-Energy; etc…….

In Chinese Metaphysics, each branch would have its own definition and interpretation of Qi, but generally, the underlying intrinsic meanings are very similar. Every explanation given by all the different practitioners of Chinese Metaphysics, points toward ‘something’ that is supposed to ‘give life’, ‘sustain life’, ‘well being’, etc etc..

In spite of all the different definitions and categorizations, there are two and only two ‘main’ fundamental division of Qi as acknowledged by all the branches of Chinese Metaphysics – Yin Qi and Yang Qi.

Every branch of Chinese Metaphysics would base their subsequent divisions of the different types of Qi on this fundamental Yin and Yang principle.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qi is divided into ‘Cogenital Qi’ and ‘Acquired Qi’.

‘Cogenital Qi’ is Qi that we are born with and that is inherited from our parents. It consists of Original Qi and Essence (from our parents).

‘Acquired Qi’ is Qi that we take in after birth. It consists of Air and Essence from food and grains.

They have sub-categorizations of the two mentioned above, but it is not the subject of discussion here. The Qi that TCM refers to are all but resides in the body of a person. It is very similar to the Qi that as referred to in Qigong and Daoism – as the life force that gives life and also health and well being, both physically and mentally.

The Qigong view of Qi is as a life force coursing through our body giving us energy and vitality. They do acknowledge that Qi can be acquired from external sources.

The Daoist too have a similar view, but they have a wider perspective world-view than the TCM and Qigong. The Daoists view the world as one big vibrating phenomena that is purely maintained by Qi. That everything from the tiniest molecule to the huge towering mountains is nothing but the manifestation of Qi.

The FengShui view of Qi is very closely related to the Daoist view. But the FengShui view is slightly different in the sense that the Daoist view include the supernatural aspect of Phenomena. The FengShui view does not take that into account. .........................................


The concept of Qi in this book is mainly based on the philosophical concept espoused by a prominent Sung Dynasty Philosopher and Cosmologist, Zhang Zai 张 载 (AD 1020-1077). Zhang Zai was a great adherrent of Zhuang Zi’s Yi Philosophy.

He wrote: “氣之聚散於太虛,猶冰凝釋於水,知太虛即氣,則無無。故聖人語性與天道之極,盡於參伍之神變易而已。諸子淺妄,有有無之分,非窮理之學也.”

“Qi accumulates or disperses within the Supreme Void, like ice coagulates or melts from water, to know that the Supreme Void is none other than Qi, so it is not ‘Empty’ as Void is. Therefore, the words of the Wise-men on the nature of the Supreme Void, fully refers to the Change and Transformation of the 5 elements. The various materialistic presumptions have a dualistic ‘have and have not’ differentiation and is not a study of 'absolute nothingness'.” ....................................


Understanding Sheng Qi

Understanding Sheng Qi


Sheng Qi is the most important factor in Fengshui and is also of similar importance in the study and research of other related Chinese Metaphysics (中 华 玄 学). Any student starting off to learn Fengshui should at least have a good working knowledge of Sheng Qi and how it works.

Here I shall only discuss ShengQi in the context of Fengshui. I shall also discuss the understanding of Sheng Qi (or different concepts of ShengQi) and the different methods and applications of theories of ShengQi by different Fengshui schools. Only then can the reader appreciate the theories and applications of ShengQi as propounded by Yang Gong Fengshui.

There are differing opinions on how to describe Sheng Qi and differing understanding of how Sheng Qi works. But it boils down to only one basic fact: every Fengshui school or method has only one motive, and that is to generate or to harness Sheng Qi for the benefit of either Yang Zhai (house of the living) or Yin Zhai (grave of the dead). All Fengshui schools and methods have this same objective.

In this chapter, I shall try to describe it and analyse it in the best possible way I know how. I may not have discussed and analysed Qi in its totality because this is not thesis about Qi but rather how Sheng Qi is used and applied in Yang Gong Fengshui.

What is Qi 气

Qi, In very simple words, is pervasive ‘universal energy’. It is called in many ways: ‘universal breath’; ‘cosmic breath’; ‘cosmic energy’; ‘cosmic life force’; etc, etc.

Chinese Metaphysicians believe Qi to be the life force of everything on earth whether it is animate or inanimate. Qi is pervasive and encompass everything from mountains to rivers, from trees to flowers, from human to animals. The general concensus is that without Qi, all the myriad living things on earth will perish.

It is not Oxygen per se but something more than just oxygen, and it is almost indescribable with our limited language. There are many attempts by scientists and scholars to describe Qi in the most apt term, but I think its best we stick to the most simple way to understand it.
In Chinese Metaphysics, Qi is the life force. From Traditional Chinese Medicine to Bazi (Chinese Astrology) reading, From Chinese Qigong to FengShui, the word Qi is an indispensable term and it almost always describes the same thing: Life Force.

So we now know that Qi is indispensable to all phenomena, especially to all living things. Without Qi living things would perish. This concept is synonymous with Fengshui whereby, Qi is the main target to be ‘managed’ and ‘harnessed’.

In Fengshui, as in other metaphysics studies and practices, Qi can be categorized as Benevolent Qi called ShengQi or Malevolent Qi called Sha. (There are many practitioners who like to describe Malevolent Qi as Sha Qi which is not totally wrong, but I feel its using the word Qi added to Sha is not giving Qi its due).

Sheng Qi can be analysed and viewed in two view aspects – the macro and the micro. We shall go into this when we analyse Sheng Qi, which is the main purpose of this chapter...............................

The above is part of a chapter from my new ebook -- Yang Gong FengShui: Fundamental Theories. (ISBN 978-983-43773-0-4) -- which is available from the following website:

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Is FengShui Superstition?


Contemporary FengShui has been given a lot of publicity, and public debate as to what it is and how to classify it still rages on. There are people who consider FengShui as an art, and some consider it as a Science, and some take the middle position and consider it both an Art and a Science. Whatever position anyone may take, the indisputable fact remains: Qi will affect anyone and everyone, irrespective of their beliefs; and FengShui will continue to evolve irrespective of whether it is a Science or an Art.

On the surface, in FengShui study and practice, there is no superstition whatsoever. But the word ‘superstition’ has multiple meanings and it would be debate material for some, if they want to argue about it. But in this discourse I will not try to debate on the different notion of ‘superstition’ and would rather let the reader decide whichever to believe.

Let us now look at a perspective of FengShui that is sometimes brought up in forums -- Is FengShui Magic or Miracle?

Now can we define FengShui as Magic or Miracle? Well why not? If and if a Fengshui Master could harness the invisible Qi to correct an adverse household situation, would that be a form of “magic” or “miracle”? He is taking “something from nowhere” -- something not seen by naked eyes, something not understood by the uninitiated, something that is ‘not real’ to the non-believers – would that be defined as “magic” or “miracle”? FengShui has never been proven “scientifically” in the context of contemporary mainstream definition of Science. Therefore is Fengshui superstition too?

Well, when we are talking about harnessing Qi, something that is intangible and mysterious, we might as well be talking about the emptiness, the void as in the cosmic universe. Or the concept of Emptiness as in Buddhism, whereby everything can be as seen in conventional reality, the flesh and bones of a person, but in the ultimate reality, that person is “Empty” or “Void” of inherent existence. That person cannot exist all by himself. That person can only exist dependant on a myriad of factors.

That “Void” is something so mysterious and so hard to grasp or comprehended by our simple human minds. This ‘void’ could have in it a myriad of things going on that our naked eyes cannot see. And, this “Void”, is being called by the many ancient Masters of Fengshui and Metaphysics, the Xuan Kong 玄空.

It is an indescribable ‘place’ or ‘space’ whichever you like to call it. It is in the Void where things happen, where Qi moves and flows, where different Qi marries to produce ShengQi生 气 or Sha, and where the invisible hands of the power of the Cosmic Universe manipulates.

These ancient masters knew that there is something there, that when the harnessing of Qi is done correctly, beneficial things can happen. They knew it works, based on the Metaphysical formulas passed down from generation to generation. Even contemporary Masters and practitioners, those who have experimented and researched FengShui formulas, and found that it works, are also “feeling” the existence of the “Void”, but, for whatever reasons, many could not or would not talk about it in detail.

As for me, after studying FengShui, practicing it and doing research on it also knew that the Xuan Kong does exist. But people like us who are just mere mortals could only get a whiff of it and be satisfied that we have the conviction to believe in its existence. The Mysterious Void or Xuan Kong, is surely an attractive destination for many who would like to really experience the Truth.

It is a very difficult task to describe Xuan Kong with mere words, much more difficult to describe it in a short chapter like this. There are books on the concept of Emptiness (or in Fengshui terms Xuan Kong) in Buddhism that has somethng like hundreds of pages, and even after reading the whole book, there is no guarantee that the reader can really understand and experience or realize the Emptiness. Therefore I will also leave it to the readers to explore and research themselves into this subject of Xuan Kong.

Is believing in the Void or Emptiness superstition?

This too, I am going to leave it to the readers to come to their own conclusion as to whether believing in the Void or Emptiness and on the whole, FengShui, is superstition or not. What remains is for the many who appreciate it, who are learning it and are practicing it, to hold an open and logical mind and ponder over its significance.

Let us move on to other things, like – the conflicting opinion that certain placement methods as advocated by some FengShui practitioners, especially the New Age FengShui schools, are deemed as superstition.

Purists and Classical FengShui practitioners disagree that the placement of items such as a Chai Shen statue or a Three Legged Frog figurine can change an adverse FengShui situation to a better one.

If we base FengShui purely on the perspective of it being “the manipulation of the environment to produce beneficial Sheng Qi”, then would the placement of, for example, a Chai Shen figurine, be enough to produce Sheng Qi? Can it, by sitting in a certain sector as advocated by certain Masters, produce Sheng Qi? Is there a reaction within XuanKong produced by the presence of the said figurine in a certain sector of the house?

Logically, it could not generate Sheng Qi at all, but what it could produce is most probably only an aesthetic perception!! These placement methods while being quite illogical from the standpoint of Sheng Qi generation, is in actual fact, bordering on the superstitious.

There is no way a figurine, by itself, can react with the Qi flow of the sector where it is placed. The only possibility is that the material of the figurine, especially if it is made up singly of any of the 5 elements, may have some reaction with the Qi flow to produce either Sheng Qi or Sha.

This concept comes from the theory of the ‘5 elements’ generation and control cycles’. For example in Xuan Kong FengShui, if a certain sector has an abundance of Earth Qi that could be malevolent, then, placing a substantial amount of metal in that very sector could deplete the malevolent Qi and balance the Qi factor.