| Ba Zhai | San He | San Yuan | Xuan Kong Fei Xing | Xuan Kong Da Gua | Yi Jing Ba Gua
The practice of Feng Shui for assessing the best place to locate tombs, settlements, and later residences relies on two major methodologies, by way of Xing Fa
( 形法 )
and Li Qi
( 理氣 ).
The theory of forms Xing Fa, focuses on the physical aspects of the landscape and relates to the visible physical features of nature and their shape, form, contour, appearance, conformation and flow. The science of Li Qi orientates according to the cosmological forces of the universe. It relates to the invisible forces of nature, its quality, direction, influence, flow and the influence of time, deduced by the ancient masters and depicted as heuristics (meaning, a prescribed solution to a problem that comes from experience through exploration and trial and error, in domains where not all the parameters are known or will ever be known).
Through the millennia, several major schools of Feng Shui evolved incorporating aspects from these 2 categories. They are Ba Zhai
( 八宅 ), San He
( 三合 ), San Yuan (
三元 ) and Xuan Kong Fie Xing (
), Xuan Kong Da Gua (
), and Yi Jing Ba Gua (
Within each school, there are many heuristics and methodologies of application, depending on the lineage one belongs.
From here one must then understand the theory of forms Xing Fa ( 形法 ) and the science of Li Qi ( 理氣 ) to know what to look for and how to extrapolate this to our modern urban context, plus how to harness the good Qi and avoid the bad.
Together, they make for excellent Feng Shui and dispel doubts whether Feng Shui works. But applied in part they can not only render Feng Shui ineffectual, but cause distress and give credence to the disbelievers.
To reap the full benefits of this precious wisdom, the discipline must be understood and applied in all it’s entirety, otherwise we can easily stumble. For instance, a particular location in a property may hold good Qi according to San He, but according to San Yuan during particular periods of time, whether a 20 year cycle, annual, monthly or even daily, other overlying energies prevail. Furthermore, these energies may not affect every occupant in the same manner.
And finally but not least, many aspects of application are passed via oral transmission through the classical tradition of revered master to disciple. The student disciple is apprenticed to the master for many years till such time as the student is deemed to have learnt all there is to know from his master. Such questions as to which energy plate to consider, whether the sitting location or the facing direction takes precedence or forms of the basis of the heuristics, which System is more potent and takes priority, and many various subtleties not available in any texts, are just a minutiae of the considerations that will make the difference whether Feng Shui works or not, and dictates whether the Practitioner is a true master.