The other day I cam across a saying by a colleague, “Luoshu is not Heaven’s Heart” that I wondered if it is crrect and it got me thinking further: how can I explain the subtle difference between the three terms: the Heaven’s Heart (Tianxin 天心), the Taiji 太極 and the Centre (Zhongxin 中心) in Feng Shui practice to my students? I thought about it over the weekend and this is how I would do the explanation:

A Zhongxin requires a boundary to locate, so the space in question has to be enclosed somehow to have a physical centre that we can locate with geometry, it is “below form” 形之下 that is a concrete thing.

A Taiji is where the Yin and Yang meet, it could be the meeting place between the active and the passive and the substantial and the insubstantial of a house. It can be an open space without an enclosure and it can even be where we spend most of the time, like the location of the pillow upon which our head rests as in the Xuan Kong Liu Fa School of Feng Shui, because according to this school it is our mindset that has to decide where the Yin and Yang would meet. Also since we have to decide, we will need to know what constitute an item under consideration, hence the popular saying, “One item one Taiji” 一物一太極, to guide us to decide on things like whether a home-office or a unit in a housing complex should have its own Taiji and its own chart or not.

In contrast, a Tianxin or a Heaven’s Heart is “above form” (an abstract idea); it can be looked upon like seeing the situation from heaven above to locate the reference point on earth below. For example, if I were to find out in which direction I should travel according to the yearly Flying Stars, I would have to decide: do I use my house as the Heaven’s Heart? Or the city I live in or the capital of the country I live in and so forth. Without deciding on the Heaven Heart for a reference point, I would not be able to find the four cardinal directions to calculate in which direction to travel, just like the red cross-hairs or the “Tianxin Shidao” 天心十道 (the Cross of the Heaven’s Heart) on a Luopan compass that we use to read the directions in a Feng Shui audit.

As we can see, sometimes the three terms can refer to the same point and sometimes only one or two, it depends on the situation under consideration and whether we are referring to something concrete or abstract, something manifested or un-manifested, as a place or as an idea or as something in-between for a reference point.

The more traditional practitioners are less concerned with accuracy and more with efficacy, so instead of casting the Luoshu Flying Star chart over the floor plan like the modern practitioners tend to do, they simply put it to one side and do their audit from comparing the two diagrams (See sample below from “Zhaiyun Xinan” 宅運新案 – a classic of Flying Star Case Studies published in the 1920s).


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