“Loushi Ming” – Inscription about a Crude Dwelling
March 20, 2013
One of my favourite poems on how to achieve good Feng Shui of a dwelling is Liu Yuxi’s 劉禹錫 Loushi Ming 陋室铭 (Inscription about a Crude Dwelling). Below the Chinese is my own translation:
Inscription about a Crude Dwelling
By Liu Yuxi
Mountains don’t need to be too high; they become famous with immortals.
Seas don’t need to be too deep; they become magical with dragons.
Thus is my simple hut, which has only the fragrance of my virtue.
Green lichen is growing up the steps; the color of grass is coming through the windows.
Fine talk and humor have erudition; no ignorant people possess them.
(A learned scholar) can play a simple qin, or read the Diamond Sutra.
There is no jarring sound of common music, or straining over laborious official records.
Zhuge Liang had (such) a cottage in Nanyang, Yang Xiong had (such) a pavilion in Western Sichuan
Confucius said, “(If a virtuous gentleman lives there), how can it be (a) crude (dwelling)”?
This poem by Liu Yuxi, a poet, philosopher and essayist from the Tang Dynasty, resonated deeply with me, because to me, Feng Shui is not just about Heaven Qi like calculating the Flying Star to imprve our “luck”, but it is also about the quality of Human Qi and where we chose to live. A knowledgeable gentleman living in a simple rustic hut has a better chance of obtaining good Feng Shui than an ignorant ruffian living in an artificial and opulent mansion. Keeping things simple and straight-forward rather than coarse and complicated is a “ziran” 自然 (being natural and self-thus) way to achieve good Feng Shui. We tend to keep forgetting this age-old wisdom.