Interesting Matter to Ponder

January 5, 2010

This posting in the Five Arts Forum on the different ways of thinking used in Feng Shui, was written by Terrence Chan (aka Zeng Yong-Xing), the author of “Earth Discerning Truth – A Translation of the Feng Shui Classic Dili Bianzheng“, I have found it so memorable that it is worth re-posting here:

Some forms of thinking (used in Feng Shui):

1. Correlative Thinking – in simple terms, thinking of an item of one class by correlating it with an item of another class – has been used to describe what is supposed to be ‘Chinese thinking’. My impression is that such thinking is also used in the study of magic (sympathetic magic) where a symbol of a thing is taken as having a relation with that thing e.g. ‘picture of tiger’ talisman with a tiger.

2. Aristotelian or Logical Thinking. Correlative Thinking has been criticized as being illogical in contrast to Aristotelian, Logical or rational thinking. However, there could be an argument that Correlative Thinking is a variation of (Edward De Bono’s) Lateral Thinking, a concept accepted by the West.

3. (What could be called) Dialectic Thinking. The ability to think of and accept diametrically opposing ideas at the same time, a form of thinking applied by some of the philosophers of Chinese communism, for example (yes, they also have philosophers!).

4. System thinking. To always think of any one thing as part of a system, rather than in isolation.

What has this to do with metaphysics?

I suggest all four modes of thinking are useful tools:

1. The ‘-physics’ part of ‘metaphysics’ has to be answered with Aristotelian or Logical Thinking. The scientific side.

2. The ‘meta-‘ (which means ‘beyond’) part of ‘metaphysics’ is dealt with through Correlative Thinking. The arts side.

3. The conflict between, and within, the two has comes within the scope of Dialectic Thinking. Any resolution of such conflict has to come through further theoretical research and empirical findings.

(An example of ‘conflict within’ is the argument over ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sectors of a house plotted using Ba Zhai versus Shen’s Fei Xing.)

4. Bringing it together is System Thinking.

I suggest that merely using one mode of thinking constrains progress in any field.

Let me cite an example of correlative thinking applied in science – it was the Manhattan Project (which created the atomic bomb). An architect of the bomb explaining how a conceptual breakthrough came about (emphasis mine), said:

“…We walked up and down in the snow, I on skis and she on foot. …and gradually the idea took shape… explained by Bohr’s idea that the nucleus is like a liquid drop; such a drop might elongate and divide itself… “ (source: Wikipedia).

In other words, it was the idea of correlating the nucleus (of an atom) to a water drop (base component of snow) which helped progress their research.


5 Responses to “Interesting Matter to Ponder”

  1. Sherab Says:

    I suggest that there should be one more way of thinking: Synchronistic Way of integrating EVERYTHING at once, and make them WORK TOGETHER without any conflicts. It is more like a meticulous application, but nevertheless it involves some mental attitude and altitude as well. Carl Jung’s works play an important role here, and The Essence of the East and West can meet and InterBe together – this is the vision and the transcendance of current thoughts, hence uplifting the content of all schools of thoughts, and solving all kinds of conflicts between various beliefs and practices in FS/ Metaphysics!

    Sherab Wong

  2. Tiffany Says:

    I would like to contact you about the Lohan form.
    I am located in Spain and would like to learn.
    Can you recommend an instructor, or are you doing workshops that I could come to?
    You are in Berlin now?
    My e mail is

    Thank you in advance.

    • howardchoy Says:

      Hi Tiffany,

      I am base in Berlin, so it is not much use to you, please contact Jose Fernandez and he will direct you to someone near your home town who teaches the Lohan Qigong system:

      Wing Sing Tong España
      Sifu Jose Fernández
      Apartado de correos 148
      34080 Palencia
      Teléfono: 655771401

      Thank you for your interest.

      Howard Choy

  3. David Nassim Says:

    Dear Howard, (I hope this is an appropriate place for this question on your site)

    Thank you for your website and comments they are always so informative. I have spoken to you once before a long while ago and I have a similar question but I hope one that’s a bit clearer in content and I hope interesting to you.

    My interest has been for a while in the historical origin of Feng Shui and in the origin of the gua system of Xuan Kong. Being unable to read Chinese limits things but I was able to get some understanding from reading the brilliant work by Terrance Chan; Earth study Discern Truth. This book has helped me a great deal. However my Question is specific and historical.

    In his text Trance explains (p. 149) that the Gua system was manipulated in the Tang dynasty by the mathematician Yi Xing on orders from the Emperor of the time to stop outsiders getting hold of feng-shui classical material.

    Some Feng Shui teachers connected to the Japanese work of Takashi Yoshikawa, for example, explain that it was at this point in history that the male-female gua’s were created, ie one gua for male and one for female per year/ month etc like 1-5, 2-4,3-3, etc.

    My question is weather this is accurate,…. was the male -female gua system created by Yi Xing,….what actually did he invent to through off the “barbarians”, although i realize this work is lost….but has feng shui been altered by his work as the section of the “green Satchel Classic Preface” suggests, and if so I presume that it would mean that Classic feng-shui would be using only the male numbers, which isnt used by all of the main exponents of Classic Feng-shui world wide…. so I assume that this cant be the case. As I do not know this point in feng-shui history I was hoping that yourself or Terrance would be able to bring light to this and explain the root of the male-female gua patterns historically? I would be most grateful.

    I hope this finds you very well, thank you again for your work

    Best wishes

    David Nassim

    • howardchoy Says:

      Hi David,

      Welcome back, sorry to take so long to answer you I have been busy teaching.

      When you said “one gua for male and one for female per year/monthly etc.”, I presumed you are talking about the “ming shu” or the “number of fate” of a person and if that is the case then the story you mentioned is not true, because the Feng Shui classics have always made it clear that since everything has yin and yang and male and female are different, therefore when counting a person’s “ming Shu”, there should be the rule of “forward and reverse” as well.

      That is when the male number is counted forward, then the female number should count reverse, and the 9 qi number can meet at 3 (san cai) and that applies to all time cycles. For example, for the 3rd. month of 1995, the male obtained big yun (180 years cycle) number 3, the small yun (20 years) number 7, yearly yun 5 yellow and monthly yun 9 purple; for a female, it is big yun (180 years cycle) number 3, the small yun (20 years) number 8, yearly yun 1 white and monthly yun 6 white.

      In the Bazhai Mingjing system, the male’s yearly number is counted reverse while the female is counted forward to arrive at their ming gua or their trigram of fate. In the Flying Stars system, the period number is counted forward while the yearly number is the same as the male and is counted reverse.

      So you can see in the history of Feng Shui, there has always been a male and female number and it was not made up just to fool the barbarians.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: