Master Tan Yang-Wu’s view on Feng Shui of Towns and Cities

September 4, 2013

A question on the qi of our over deloped world was asked by Gayle in “Feng Shui connecting people” and this gave me a chance to translate Master Tan’s writing on the subject:

If qi flows from the mountain veins……what do you think the quality of qi is like today in our over developed world? – Gayle

Hi Gayle,

Qi not only flow from the mountain veins, they also flow along the level plains, where correlatively speaking, one inch higher is considered “mountain” and one inch lower is considered “water”.

As for the quality of qi in our over developed world, especially in the cities, Master Tan Yang-Wu 談養吾 has this to say in the introduction to his book “Xuankong Benyi” (The Original Meanings of Xuankong)

玄空啟蒙緒言
玄空本義,談養吾
歷觀發祥之地,其山水形勢,必合於情意,而大有可觀者,毋論陰地陽基,以及城鎮繁華之地,莫不自天然之形勢得來,推而至於人事一切,莫不與山形水勢,如影隨形,凡城市之熱鬧地帶,大都屬於上水,大以成大,小以成小,亦事實也。

My rough translation:

“If we look at the prosperous places from the past, the form and configuration of their mountains and water must harmonize with our affections and intentions, and we can see it clearly everywhere, whether it is for burial or for the living, (and) this included flourishing towns and cities, where their origin laid in the natural contours of the land, the form of their mountains and the configuration of their water, thus influenced all human affairs, like shadows following an object, (and) wherever the cities are bustling, theirs usually have good quality water, a large body begets a large (city) and a smaller body begets a smaller (town), for these are facts.”

So according to Master Tan, even in our over-developed world, if we can maintain the quality of our water, and if we can build with affections and with appropriate intentions, then the feng shui of a modern city can still retain its good quality.

Ecology, environmental protection and sustainibility are all part and parcel of good feng shui, without them we are fighting a losing battle.

Most people who studied feng shui these days are sweating on the small stuff, things like how to get rich, how to find a mate and how to find a good date. There are bigger things to worry about for the sake of our future, but no one seem to care until it is too late.

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