“Yin Yang” of Yinzhai Feng Shui
August 12, 2008
Throughout Chinese history, many learned scholars, especially the Confucians and the Neo-Confucians like Wang Chong and Zhu Xi, have criticised the false assumptions people have made with Yinzhai Feng Shui, namely that if we bury our parents in an auspicious place, then the dead would help the living to be prosperous via the Earth Qi. This unrealistic expectation is called “Yin Ying” or Hidden Resonance of Feng Shui.
I have made a rough translation below (not word by word but by my own interpretation of the author’s intent) of a scholar by the name of Xiang Qiao, who wrote a common-sense piece about Yinzghai Feng Shui:
People often asked Xiang Qiao, “Do you believe a good burial site is related to Feng Shui?” and he replied, “To bury one’s parent is an important matter, this is something everyone has to do and to bury them in a safe and sound place is our responsibility. I am also someone’s son, so I must do likewise and find a good Feng Shui place for burial. But to me, the “wind” in Feng Shui refers to the landform that can protect the grave site from the attack of the sha qi wind and the “water” in Feng Shui refers to the landform that keeps the soil dry, so the water would not attack the dead body and make it rot too soon”.
Then the people followed with another question, “If Feng Shui is so important for burial, then do you also believe in the “Yin Ying” of Feng Shui?” and he replied, “We are alive when our Qi is assembled and we die when our Qi is dispersed and when that happens, our body rots and our spirit returns to its origin, there is nothing left to “Yin Ying” the descendants. The situation is not unlike when our parents are alive, they can look after us when they are awake and mindful, but when they are asleep and don’t know that we are in danger, there is no way they can come to our rescue when we need them. If when they are alive but unaware, they cannot help us, how can they continue to do so after they are dead and gone?”
What scholars like Xiang Qiao are saying is Yinzhai Feng Shui is more about respect for the dead and keeping their memories alive, and not about creating false expectations that the dead will continue to help us even when they are no longer able to do so. Let the dead rest in peace and let us fulfill our own destiny.
(Photo by Kristiina M)