Can we learn Feng Shui by reading books?

July 26, 2009

Nina Wang’s inheritance court case brought up an interesting question, “Can we learn Feng Shui by reading books?”

I once ask this question to my Sifu and he replied, “Of course we can, it is like learning how to cook by following the recipes of an experienced chef, but the result is often poor. Why? Because there are a lot of subtleties in cooking, and in Feng Shui for that matter, that can only be transmitted by a teacher mentoring to achieve the same result.”

I think it is a fair enough comment, we need teachers to learn better, but I can also hear some people who would disagree and say, “But with my own trials and errors and with my own logic and intelligence, I can even cook better than the author of the recipes.”

May be these people are right also, and that brings up another question, “Do we need face-to-face teachers any more when we have all the books and the technology (like eLearning) we need?”

Perhaps this story by Zhuangzi can throw more light on the subject, may be reading books is not enough, having a teacher and reading book are still not enough, we need to practice and practice:

Duke Huan was reading a book in the hall. Wheelwright Pian, who had been chiseling a wheel in the courtyard below, set down his tools and climbed the stairs to ask Duke Huan:

“may I ask what words are in the book Your Grace is reading?”

“The classic of a famous sage.” the Duke responded.

“Is he still alive?”

“Oh no, he is long dead.”

“Then you’ve been reading the dregs left over by a dead man, isn’t it?”

Duke Huan said,” How dare a wheelwright to have opinions about the book I read! If you can explain yourself, I’ll let it pass. Otherwise, it’s death!”

Wheelwright Pian said, “In my case I see things in terms of my own work. I chisel at a wheel. If I go too slow, the chisel slides and does not stay put. If I hurry, it jams and doesn’t move properly. When it is just right, I can feel it in my hand and respond to it from my heart. I can explain this to my son, but I cannot pass on the skills to him. That is why at seventy years old, I am still making wheels. The sage who couldn’t pass down his wisdom is already dead; and that’s why I say the book you’re reading is merely the dregs of a dean man.”

painting-of-man-reading-by-candlelight

One Response to “Can we learn Feng Shui by reading books?”

  1. Sherab Says:

    Hi Howard,
    Nice piece here.

    If we are full of ego, even the Buddha would sit on our laps and teaches us 24 hurs a day, we won’t even learn anything.
    But id we are humble and open, the whole Universe is teaching us EVERYRHING.

    The origin of Zen begins when the Buddha picked up a flower.
    Then Ananda smiled.
    That’s it, and he got the transmission!

    So even a flower is more than enough, sometimes.
    It depends on the learner and his/her attitudes rather the source of learning – sometimes.

    So even a lousy master can sometimes produce great students yeah?
    Haha, why not?

    Nina Wong is teaching us a lot about Fs and FS masters I guess.

    always like your sharing.

    cheers,
    Sherab


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