Feng shui first appeared as an organized science during the early part of the Han Dynasty (fl. 200 BC). It has a long history and a complex discipline with great attention to detail. Altogether, it probably has a history of more than 6000 years. In the authoritative Cihai encyclopedia, fengshui is entered under the label Kanyu. XuChen, the famous scholar of the Eastern Han Dynasty explains Kan as the “Dao of Heaven” in his Showenjiezi dictionary. Yu is explained as the Dao of earth.
No matter whether Heavenly or Earthly Dao, what he emphasizes here is the word Dao.
What is Dao?
Dao is a principle that governs everything (li); it is an all-encompassing method (fa); it is a mystery technique (qiao); it is love (qing); and it is purpose (yi), it is power (qi), it is polar force (yin-yang), and it is nature (ziran). Anything that works in cyclical patterns and can be explained in rational theory is worthy of being called Dao.
In our universe replete with myriad creatures and phenomena, people often ask a common question: what is the greatest? Some people say, “Heaven is the greatest.” Some people say, “Earth is the greatest.” Some people say, “Mountains are the greatest; the ocean is the greatest; or the human being is the greatest.”
I think that none of these answers is quite right. I think it is the Dao that is most great. Dao is the soul of the universe, and of all creatures and things contained within it. Without Dao, everything would be without substance and foundation, and lack the power of attraction and believability. Therefore, I think that the Dao is the greatest of all things in the universe.
In China, the cradle of fengshui development is located in the times of the Qin, Han, Wei and Jin dynasties. The development of fengshui was during the dynasties of the Tang and Song. During the following Ming and Qing dynasties fengshui science develop even further and reached its heyday. In modern times, fengshui has not seen any further advances.
For a long time, fengshui was even labeled as feudal superstition, as witchcraft, as the garbage byproduct of cultural evolution. In academic circles, it has thus been a while since it was recognized as a genuine science. The valuable art of fengshui, therefore, has existed in a state of oblivion, especially during the 1960s and 1970s. True fengshui knowledge has thus been scattered into the wind.
I personally believe that fengshui is an important an extremely valuable part of Chinese folk culture. It is a science that uses the philosophical thought of the I Ching as a foundation, to determine the energetics of place and person environment. It is a science with a rich theoretical background. Feng shui occupies an incredibly important place in the hearts and minds of our ancestors.
It is a culture of science that includes spiritual values, as well as the very tangible assessment of our situation in the material world. Feng shui is not limited to China, but is a widespread cultural phenomenon in most of East Asia. Overall, we can therefore say that fengshui is a discipline that has displayed an incredible survival force during the past millennia.
China’s ancient science the stars in the heavens, the geographical features on earth and the correlating physiology of the human body are three main pillars of the science that I call fengshui. In my opinion, it is easy to differentiate the superstitious and the scientific elements of fengshui. As I just mentioned, the I Ching is a book that is revered as a classical work in the Eastern Hemisphere.
It contains the theoretical basis for all practical applications of fengshui. It incorporates the ancient knowledge of all heavenly constellations, all earthly shapes, the science of polar opposites called Yin and Yang, the symbolic categorization called the five phase elements, observations on the movements of the five planets, the six climate patterns on earth, the categorization of all material phenomena called the eight trigrams (bagua), the science of assessing one’s personal situation at any given moment in time (zhanpu) and finally,the craft called fengshui. It is, in essence, the grand signs of correlating the cycle of macrocosmic movement with the microcosm of our human life.
What does the unity of macrocosm and microcosm mean?
Resonance – the fact that we are in constant co-vibration and unity with heaven, which is to say that we are all one with the universe. There is no separation whatsoever. In the ancient work of Hou Han Shu (Book of the Latter Han), in the Annals of Craftsmanship, specifically those on universal mastery, it is said: “In the heavens, we can observe the movements of 780,000 stars. As a reflection thereof, the human body has 780,000 pores. In heaven, there is the moon and the sun.”
“Similarly, humans have the faculties of inner and outer sight. Heaven has wind, clouds, rain, thunder and lightning. Correspondingly, humans have the five functional networks of the heart, liver, spleen, lungs and kidneys.” Heaven is the universe and everything within it. Humanity is a microcosmic reflection thereof. Ancient thinkers always thought correlatively, and connected the mountains in nature with the element, which is most material and firm in humans, namely our flesh and muscle layer.
In the universe at large, moreover, there is the vital element of water, which can circulate ceaselessly in nature, day after day, month after month. The human body, in turn, contains the vital circulating substance of blood. Just like water in the universal space of nature, blood circulates through veins and arteries generating, nourishing and repairing, day after day and month after month.
Just like there are stones in the macrocosm, the ancients thought, there are bones within the human body. There are four seasons in nature, and four extremities in us humans. The ancient sages thus recognized correctly that we humans are never separate from the universe, and are therefore subject to its seasonal changes.
When spring arrives, we would get stifled and wear a thick fur coat. During the heat of summer, we put on light summer clothes. The same applies to fall and winter. All ancient treatises on medical hygiene and longevity practices emphasize that a different type of behavior, including clothing, is appropriate for different seasons.
To modern observers of the ancient record, some of this sort of data may seem contrived. In the Han shu (Book of Han) there is another entry reporting that the famous astronomer Zhang Heng once spent three years and nine months of his life counting all of the stars in heaven and then, meticulously drew a map of different regions of China where these stars would be reflected; and further, a map of the human body showing which regions of the body that were in direct resonance with these regions on Earth and the sky.
The point I am trying to make here is not how articulate the specifics of his calculations were, but how there is clear evidence of an ancient science that entails not only the profound fact that humans are an inextricable part of our cosmic environment, but also an enormous amount of detail, which is the hallmark of every genuine science.
When studying ancient sciences, we need to take into account the culture of the time they were created – otherwise nothing will never measure up to our present understanding of science. This correlative resonance between microcosm and macrocosm,in a nutshell, is the core essence of Taoist thought in China. It is its most important piece.
Heaven, therefore, is a name for the largest layer of the systems theory of the world. The human being comprises another very much related layer. Together, these substrata systems form a giant entity in which everything is related in an infinite web of relationships. Modern science calls these relationships within a super system. Therefore, it is my opinion that fengshui is a system of confirmed scientific value.
It is not a surprise the science of fengshui, just like other aspects of I Ching science, including the I Ching itself, the science of Chinese medicine in the craft of acupuncture in Boca Raton and moxibustion has proliferated in Europe, America and the world at large. The 21st century is a time when we are seeing a rapid development of all aspects of knowledge and technology, including space travel.
At the same time, the science of fengshui has the extremely powerful feature of assessing the energetics of space, measuring the Yin and Yang properties of a house and recommending specific room usage therein. Even this sort of useful detail can be entered and calculated. For people who understand the ramifications of climate changes expressed in the so-called heavenly stems and earthly branches, moreover, this device can act as a personal weather station and an indicator of the changes the different life cycles bring.
This includes the accurate prediction of subtle changes in the physical body that go along with larger macrocosmic transformations. With all of these capabilities, this kind of device can of course, be an extremely useful tool, especially in the building trade, as well as in the field of medicine and in certain areas of the business sector. Whenever non-beneficial energetics are encountered in time and space obstacles can be overcome more easily.