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 Feng Shui, a brief history....

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PostSubject: Feng Shui, a brief history....   Thu 14 Jun 2007 - 4:24

BRIEF HISTORY OF FENG-SHUI


Several thousand years ago, ancient China's shamans, diviners, and sage-kings laid down the three building blocks of feng-shui: the compass, the pa-k'ua (eight trigrams), and the theory of change (as presented in the I-Ching). Legend has it that during the time of the Yellow Emperor in prehistoric China, the compass was originally used for navigation. This navigational compass would be modified later for use in feng-shui.

At the beginning of the Chou dynasty (1122-207 BCE), King Wen first used the pa-k'ua to describe patterns of change in the natural world. By the eighth century BCE, the Chinese were using the pa-k'ua and the theory of change to promote the flow of nourishing energy inside a city or a palace and thus bring the kingdom harmony and wealth.



The pa-k'ua (Eight Trigrams) of King Wen



K'an-yu / Yin- and Yang-domain Feng-shui

The Han dynasty (206 BCE-219 CE) saw the founding of the art of k'an-yu (k'an means "mountains"and yu means "low places"), or the study of the energy carried in landforms. K'an-yu was championed by the Taoists Huang-shih Kung and Ch'ing Wu, who argued that geological bodies, particularly mountains and rivers, are filled with vital energy. The pathways of energy in mountains are called dragon veins, while those in waterways are called water dragons.

The ancient Chinese thought the land's energy could make or break a kingdom. For instance, if the capital city was built on land with nourishing energy, the country would prosper; if it was built on land carrying malevolent energy, the country would suffer catastrophes. Likewise, if an emperor were buried on or near landforms with positive energy, his dynasty would last, and if he were buried on or near landforms with negative energy, his dynasty would fall. In fact, k'an-yu was first used only by emperors and nobles to select propitious burial sites. Not until the Chin dynasty (265-420 CE) did everyday citizens start using k'an-yu to choose sites for houses (yang-domain feng-shui) and burial grounds (yin-domain feng-shui).

Feng-shui Schools / The Lo-p'an / The Flying Stars System

The T'ang (618-906 CE) and Sung (960-1279 CE) dynasties were the golden ages of k'an-yu. In the T'ang, the geomantic compass (lo-p'an), with its twenty-four directions and seventeen rings, was incorporated into k'an-yu practice. (Today's lo-p'an differs only slightly from the lo-p'an of the T'ang dynasty.) Yang Yun-sun, the era's foremost k'an-yu master and founder of both the Three Periods (San-yüan) and Three Combinations (San-ho) feng-shui schools, theorized that you could chart the energy carried in mountains by looking at the features of surrounding valleys.

During the Sung dynasty, Hsü Jen-wang expanded the purview of the Three Periods School to include buildings as well as landforms and founded the Hsüan-k'ung (Mysterious Subtleties) school. To evaluate buildings, Hsü's school used the Flying Stars System, which combines information about the direction a building faces, the year it was built, and the pa-k'ua to locate auspicious and inauspicious energies inside the building. As cities grew and more and more houses were built far away from natural landscapes, the Hsüan-k'ung school increased in popularity.

Feng-shui's last phase of development overlapped with the Ch'ing dynasty (1644-1911) and the Republic China period (1911-1949). Early in the Ch'ing, Jo-kuan Tao-jen founded the Pa-chai (Eight Mansions) School. Applied exclusively to the feng-shui of residences, Pa-chai tries to match the occupant's guardian star (based on his or her year of birth) with the direction in which the main entrance of a house faces.

During the Republic years, the Hsüan-k'ung school began to use the principles of Landform Classification, in addition to the compass and the Flying Stars system, to evaluate the feng-shui of a building. Also during this period the San-yüan school expanded to include the study of residential and commercial buildings as well as landforms. The San-ho school, on the other hand, remained exclusively devoted to the study of mountains, valleys, and waterways. Today, the San-yüan, San-ho, Hsüan-k'ung, and Pa-chai schools remain in practice and are known as the Four Schools of traditional Chinese feng-shui.

Full article and other information can be viewed at the following website
Shambala Publications



http://www.shambhala.com/html/learn/features/fengshui.cfm

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