The Six Schools of Xuan Kong
February 11, 2009
At the end of the Qing Dynasty and the beginning of the Republic era in China there were six major schools of Xuan Kong, they were the Wu Chang Pai (無常派), the Xiang Chu Pai (湘楚派), the Dian Nan Pai (滇南派), the Su Zhou Pai (蘇州派), the Guan Dong Pai (廣東派), and the Shang Yu Pa (上虞派).
Out the six schools only the Wu Chang Pai, that is the Feixing Pai 飛星派 or the Flying Stars Schools as we know it today, headed by Zhang Zhong Shan 章仲山 at the time, flies the stars in the way that is genuinely Xuan Kong. The others did not really survived or at least they are not practiced much any more, with the exception of the Shang Yu Pai originated by Zhang Xin-Yin 張心言, and is popularly known nowadays the Yi Gua Pai 易卦派 or Xuan Kong Da Gua 玄空大卦, where it divided the 360 degrees of the western compass into 64 Hexagrams of approx 5.6 degrees each.
Because everyone is very secretive, it is difficult to known exactly how the other four school worked, except they tended to be static and don’t fly the stars. Some don’t worry about sitting or facing; they take Period 1 as Kan Qi, Period 2 as Kun Qi and Period 3 as Zhen Qi etc. (that is, using the Early Heaven Trigrams and matched them with the Luoshu numbers instead of using the Later Heaven Trigrams like Flying Stars do).
Some fixed the stars in a particular palace, like the Qian palace as the Sheng Qi palace, and the opposite Xun palace is the Tong Gua Qi (Connected Gua Qi), therefore a house that sits or faces these two directions are always auspicious.
Some chose a different way to fly the stars, for example the Fu Mu Gua (the Parent Gua) always fly reverse ending up always a reversed house.
Some used the facing as the Period Plate and the sitting as the period 5 plate, that is the sitting is always Period 5 and only the facing flies according to the period the house was built.
Some used the Hetu paring to work the period, for example if it is Period 1 then add 6 a to do the chart. It was a confusing time.
There are no connection between these schools and the Taoist sects; they are practiced more by region (eg Suzhou Pai and Guangdong Pai, etc), rather than by religion.
The most authentic and traditional was the Wu Chang Pai and still survived today, thanks to Master Shen Zhu-Nai, who cracked their secrets and wrote books on them to pass down to us.
There were six schools of Xuan Kong and only one was genuine, because Zhang Da-Hong, the lineage holder of the Xuan Kong system, insisted that their art be kept secret from the public, so many not belonging to the lineage, tried their best to interpret Zhang’s writing to come up with their own interpretations that are often incorrect.
Most teachers don’t mention the other four schools because they don’t existing at all as far as the general public is concerned, especially in the West, so there is no need to say anything about them, with the exception of Da Gua of course. It is usually distinguish from the Flying Stars by name and teaching.
Some do mix some of the other schools techniques in their interpretations, but it is seldom the case and if they do, they would call themselves a special name, like the Imperial School of Feng Shui or the Central China School of Feng Shui (Zhong Zhou Pai).
Gradually, Feng Shui is opening up in the West, so the chance of being ripped off by the charlatan teachers is getting less and less. But nevertheless be extremely careful in choosing the right teacher and course to begin your Feng Shui study, as your first teacher always has a deeper influence on your future development then other teachers who come after.
Below shows a Liji Ruler used by the Xuan Kong Feixing School.