Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Be Careful with Feng Shui

Nowadays we are deluged with many news articles on what the water dragon will bring to the new lunar year. Many people become interested in these sort of predictions and astrology readings. Never-heard-before feng shui masters suddenly are everywhere. Whether they have the necessary trainings and credentials nobody knows for sure. Who is there to check whether the advice they provide is right or wrong? Is there a professional body for Feng Shui Masters just as there are such bodies for lawyers, doctors, teachers, engineers and accountants? Do they have a professional code of ethics? I doubt so. Recently we read in the papers of one master who claimed was advised by some unnamed deities that the water dragon year is not a good year to have babies. Can you believed that?

I write this article not for the purpose of debasing the art of feng shui or any feng shui master but rather to give some advice to people new to feng shui so that they can look at it with the right perspective. I find it necessary to write this because many feng shui masters are interpreting the fortunes of individuals, groups, countries, etc based only on their own views. As we know feng shui is not a definite science. In definite science, things can be measured accurately. It can be seen and analysed in a laboratory and quantified. But in feng shui, such as a person’s Four Pillars of Destiny, it can only be represented in terms of a chart showing the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches. It is analysed into different animal signs and their respective elements. But what these chart tells you is up to the expertise of individual masters and their individual interpretation.

Some interpretation can be horrifying, in fact make things worse than before. An example is the case of the ”Flower Head” ("Thau Hua" in mandarin Chinese) star that appears in one’s sign. Even though it is commonly interpreted as a romance star, it is actually a star indicating one’s relationship with others. It does not necessarily mean there is a third party to an on-going relationship. Feng Shui masters with no wisdom will ask their clients to remedy it away with a certain object, or wearing a certain colour, or doing a certain prayer. In fact I know of one feng shui master who allegedly asked for RM3000 to remedy a “flower head” issue for one client. This master claims he has a Thai Buddhist monk as his master who can see one’s past and with some incantation, can eliminate one’s third party problems. The client was said to happily give the money to the master. But the client is not the only person susceptible to such follies. There are many people around us who easily “buy” into any feng shui advice given, without thinking with their own wisdom. Another client who supposedly has this “flower head” star who eagerly remedy it for her husband soon finds that her husband’s work had suffered instead. His colleagues now could not cooperate with him. Before his wife did the “remedy”, the office relationship was smooth but after the wife remedy it for fear of a third party, the career of the husband took a turn for the worst. So, you see, there is a saying in America I think – “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”. The wife should be more confident of her husband. Use her own wisdom to see the characteristic of her husband. If there is no potential relationship, don’t create unnecessary fear or doubt just because of some unfounded advice from some crack feng shui master. You can see how stupid people can be. Hence, that is why feng shui is not a definite science, even though some feng shui masters claim that is a science. It can be a science, but not definite science.

Read feng shui fortunes of you want, but take the advice with wisdom. As Buddhists, we must use our prajna wisdom to filter through these advice given and reflect whether it is relevant or not. If it is not relevant or petty, cast it aside. Most importantly, do not be so stuck-up with feng shui predictions. Don’t let your life be governed by these elements and animal signs. These are samsaric things. As Buddhists, we should strive to transcend it. Even for Tibetan Mo, I Ching, tarot, or other types of divination, let’s not get too stuck-up with these either. I am not saying feng shui and all these divination are false. I am just saying treat it and use it with care and wisdom. There is too much personal interpretation going into each reading, so much so that two different masters can provide conflicting interpretations into the same chart. That's the main reason we must be careful. Moreover, if you do too much divination, you will soon find that you depend too much on it. You become unable to use your own wisdom to make your own decisions, even for minor things. In the process, you lose your wisdom. As mentioned in my previous blog post, rely on the wisdom of Manjusri, which is the wisdom of all the Buddhas, and is not something that only Arya Manjusri or the Buddhas have. In fact, I understand from the Buddha that it is inside each and everyone of us. That is why it is called "innate wisdom". We just need to bring it out. For a start use common sense. There's much wisdom there too. We can see how many people put aside common sense for something absurd, right? That blog on Arya Manjusri with the picture was my first blog post for the lunar new year and is among the first article I have ever written about Manjusri. I have not written much on this Great Bodhisattva in the past but for this year, he is coming strongly this year. And that goes to indicate how important using our wisdom is for this year. Arya Manjusri is telling us to use our innate wisdom. And I beg you to share this message with others. Just remember to quote the full address of my blog.

That’s all I have to say and have a happy 2012 once again!

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