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Feng Shui N. Zealand

Important Questions About Feng Shui Explored

In her interview with Honey Lim, Brenna Martin of Oil City, Pennsylvania explores some key and important questions about feng shui and how it has developed today!

by Honey Lim (January 2003)

What is unique about classical Chinese Feng Shui as opposed to Feng Shui practised in other cultures?

Feng Shui is a Chinese way of living that teaches us how to organise and harness energy around us for a good life. To the Chinese, good life means having a comfortable, prosperous and healthy life, with children that bring honour to their parents. In many other cultures, systems with similar essences to feng shui exist in various parts and forms. For example, the Indian culture also has a way of orientating their homes – and this is called Vaastu Shaastra. The Maoris of New Zealand also practise their own flavour of symbolic and Yin feng shui – from symbols of protection to choosing sacred ancestral burial lots to perpetuate tribal dominance and mandate from heaven. While they defer in method, their intention is the same. They all strive to improve one’s lot in life, or to be more specific, to help one live a life which leads to the attainment of happiness.

How has Western influence impacted the traditional methods of Feng Shui? What do you believe are the most important similarities between Feng Shui in the East and West?

Chinese Feng Shui methods as we know it originated from China so the methods are the same – only the ways in which feng shui is practised by consultants in different countries can sometimes have various flavours. Many Chinese practitioners in the East such as Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand are well schooled on the interpretation of form and imagery (symbolic feng shui) because the meaning behind them are deeply rooted in their cultural traditions and customs. Advanced spiritual Tibetan and Taoist masters can actually effect change in the surrounding energy by meditating on it. In Western countries like North America, Canada and the European countries, many practitioners are also schooled in European methods of divination and astrology such as dousing, gypsy horoscope, tarot card reading, and certain variants of space clearing. In recent times, these practitioners have adopted many eastern practises such as Yoga, Reiki, martial arts and Nine Star Ki. Since the introduction of English texts on Chinese feng shui, many have begun to incorporate Chinese feng shui into their practice to be able to offer more holistic solutions to their clients and themselves. So feng shui practised in the West have Celtic, Gypsy and other non-Chinese Asian flavours to them especially in the areas where imagery is used.

What role has the changing of times played in the progression of Feng Shui?

Feng shui is now becoming more acceptable in modern life rather than dismissed as out-dated Asian superstition. This shift in thinking over the last 3 decades has included not only feng shui but many other “new age” practices as well. For the past century, we have been living in an era of Science – where most of us need “empirical evidence” to sway our way of thinking. We are living in what I term as “advanced society” – a society that has or tries to have a fix for everything in life. However, there are questions and problems in life that no amount of science has been able to answer or fix – such as – “Why are we not happy?” “Why do some people respond well to medication while I’m an exception?” “Why are we fighting all the time?” “Why are my children rebelling even though I’m such a loving parent?” “Why do some people seem to have it all and I don’t no matter how hard I work?” In these matters, science can only offer statements of phenomenon, and not answers. So many people have started turning to alternative methods of finding answers. It is interesting to note that what we are now calling “alternative” used to be considered mainstream! Medical science and psychology were previously considered “alternative” in the old days, where druids and shamans were considered doctors, priests and monks were considered counsellors!

What impact has Feng Shui had on your life?

This is too broad a question to answer. For starters, feng shui has helped me find a truly wonderful man to marry! In feng shui, a lot of your luck is dependent on your parent’s luck until the day you get married. That is why it is so important to find someone suitable and good to marry! To all young sweet things out there, don’t take marriage lightly. It will change your life forever. This is especially so for women. To give you an example: marry a good, hardworking and honest man and your life has greater chances of becoming better, you get plenty of opportunity to help others and your children have better chances of growing up into good people who will bring you honour. Marry a lazy and dishonest man, and chances are high that you’re saddled with a life of hard work, running away from the law and misfortunes galore! It’s a never-ending cycle – your children too will suffer all your mistakes and bad luck in life!!

How have you proved to skeptics that the beliefs of Feng Shui are to be taken seriously?

I do not need to prove anything. Feng shui speaks for itself. I appreciate that there are skeptics out there but whether they believe in feng shui or not, it’s there! Energy is there and it does what it does. I’d like to remind people that feng shui governs only 1/3 of their luck! The other 2/3 is governed by mankind luck and heaven luck. Oh how I would love to say that feng shui overrides everything, but unfortunately, it does not work like that. Feng Shui works best for you if you practise it with a healthy dose of mankind luck! If you activate your career corner but don’t send out a single resume or apply for any jobs, how can any employer know you are available? Likewise, if you activate your love corner, but do not attend parties or join clubs – how are you going to meet anyone if you stay home all day?

Another dimension of luck is heaven luck – what Christians call “God’s Plan” or in Buddhism we refer to this as karma. Suppose one was not destined to be a billionaire – no amount of good feng shui can make it happen. But, for this person, feng shui can help them perhaps, become a millionaire if not a billionaire and that is not half bad, is it? Feng shui can help this person live a life with minimal illness or gain community respect! So back to your question, if one does not believe in feng shui, then for me it is not their karma to discover this beautiful and wonderful practice in this lifetime! Perhaps God has other plans for this individual. There are many avenues to achieving success and happiness. Feng shui happens to be a great and accessible avenue so anyone is welcome to take it or leave it.

Why do you think that Feng Shui has suddenly gained so much recognition in the West?

First and foremost, my aunt Lillian Too has done the world such a wonderful service by writing it in English in more than 50 books! Before this, one had to learn how to speak and write Chinese and then persuade a very secretive master from China, Taiwan or Hong Kong to reveal his knowledge in drips and drabs! Secondly, more and more people are turning East to answer one simple question – “Why are we not happy?” The West has been hailed with their technological advancements, superior business systems and robust economy. Yet they continue to have the highest divorce rates, crime and children who bring only dishonour to their parents. Not surprisingly, feng shui has provided a really systematic approach to providing hope and sensible solutions for these people. Most importantly, I believe it has flourished simply because many have tried its simple concepts and found that it works!

What are the basic principles that are similar in classical and modern Feng Shui and why have they maintained their importance? What are the basic principles that are different in classical and modern Feng Shui and why have they changed?

Fundamentally, they are not different at all. Labelling them as Classical and Modern Feng shui is simply a way of categorising them in their approach to solving feng shui problems or presenting them for easy discussion. In the end all approaches to feng shui refer to the Form School, Symbolism, 5 element theory, Trigrams and the I-Ching from which they draw their recommendations. “Classical schoolers” call themselves that because they believe that the only way to move or shape energy is to break down walls and build new compartments – all of which involve extensive changes. Some extreme classicists believe that the only way to benefit from landscape feng shui is to find a landsite that “naturally exists” in the Cheng Lung Pak Fu formation. But today, we have access to bulldozers, cranes, and cement carriers! We are able to build 200 story high buildings and reclaim land from the sea! You cannot tell me that a 200-story building has no impact on how wind energy settles across a city! Therefore, the difference is not a fundamental one but more an approach in terms of thinking and recommendations.

The other extreme are what classicists are calling “new age” consultants, and they [classicists] shun the use of symbols of good fortune as a means to remedy situations. In my experience, I feel that both are equally important - like two peas in a pod. They compliment each other and are not mutually exclusive branches of feng shui as a whole.

I’d like to add that what classicists are calling “the new age or modern approach” is not really that modern - take a walk down the streets of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Canton and Beijing and you will observe that symbols of good fortune are evident everywhere from ancient palaces to modern airports, old family mansions to modern corporate buildings. This approach to feng shui is not only an ancient approach, but ironically, it gives modern practitioners tremendous room and creativity to work with as well. A highly skilled and clever feng shui consultant is well grounded on the classical fundamentals but incorporate both classical and modern thinking to make recommendations that will seem to work like magic! The serious application of landscape and formula analysis in shaping energy alone will work, but when used with symbols and symbolic imagery, the results are astonishing!

What is your opinion on faux Feng Shui and the impostors behind the falsities?

I honestly don’t believe anyone who practises feng shui sets out to intentionally cheat anyone - especially since feng shui is a practice that only aims to bring happiness to people. But for consultants who have misinterpreted the texts or received incorrect instruction or teaching, I feel real humble compassion for them because unfortunately, they will have to bear the consequences of recommending wrong solutions or causing harm to families because, remember – what goes around comes around. I refer to a Buddhist saying, “It is not only suffering but the cause of suffering which creates bad karma”. From a Christian viewpoint, God alone will be the judge and from a Buddhist viewpoint, this is their karma.

It is said in classical legends that it takes a good heart to do good feng shui for someone – that even if the recommendations are wrong, the sincere good intention of the practitioner alone can override the bad outcome. It is also said in classical legends that even the worst feng shui recommendations cannot touch a person with a pure good heart.

There is an old story of how a feng shui master who had travelled for miles under hot sun stopped at a farm to ask for water from a farm lady. She ran quickly to fetch a bowl of water but threw some straw/chaff into the water bowl. Furious of this act of disrespect, the feng shui master told the woman to move her home to the other side of the mountain to receive more good feng shui, when in his heart and mind, he knew that this would only bring her misfortune. A few years later, he returned to find that the lady had taken his suggestion. Her family flourished and her farm had extended beyond sight! Puzzled, he told her of what he had done, and she explained to him “Your body was overheated and you would have drunk the water too fast and this would have caused you a heart attack. I threw the chaff inside because it would slow you down in drinking, without contaminating the water - and allow your body to adjust.”

Honey Lim is a graduate of the MCC (Distinction) from the Lillian Too Institute of Feng Shui. She provides consultations, seminars, workshops and pre-purchase site inspections.

You can reach Honey at Fortune Space Consultants, PO BOX 12101, Wellington;

Contact Honey
Mob: ++ 6421 48 11 88 (anytime before 10pm);

Click here for more info on Honey Lim.