Five Arts of Chinese Metaphysics

Thus I have heard, from various sources:-

The Chinese divide Chinese Metaphysics into five main subjects of study call Wu Shu (五 术) or the Five Arts. They are Mountain 山, Medicine 医, Life 命, Divination 扑 and Appearance 相.

The first of the Five Arts are Mountain (Shan). It is also called the Philosophical art as it includes the thoughts and teachings of well known ancient Chinese philosophers on the study of man and nature. Other study that fall under this art includes diet, physical health, martial arts, meditation and self-healing. Examples include Qi Gong and Tai Chi Chuan.

The Second art is Medicine (Yi) which deals with healing. It includes all form of traditional Chinese medicine including acupuncture and medical prescriptions.

The third is Divination (Pu) or Prediction and the Yi Qing feature prominently in this study. Popular study in this art includes Tai Yi, Da Liu Re, Qi Men and Dua Yi. They rely on numerical analysis to reveal one’s part and future.

The fourth is Destiny Analysis (Ming) or fate. It includes horoscope studies, Ba Zi (Four Pillars or Eight Characters) and Zi Wei Dou Shu Purple Star Astrology).

The fifth and last study is Appearance/physiognomy (Xiang) which refers to the study of forms. It includes between others, Yin (burial) and Yang Feng Shui (form of the living environment), Palmistry (form of the hand) and Face Reading (form of the face) and Naming.
The five arts are the fundamental guide to living for the Chinese people throughout the ages. The content of each of the five arts are complex and very difficult to master. As such, practitioners focus in one or two of the five arts and many only on one of two of the disciplines within the arts.

What is Feng Shui?

In order to understand WHAT really Feng Shui is, one needs to refer to the old manuscripts. Feng Shui is classified under physiognomy of the living environment. Physiognomy refers to observation of appearances through formulas and calculations in order to assess the potential and outcome of a person, or in this case, the out come of a person living in a certain property.

Feng Shui is therefore an art of “assessing” the quality of life through observations and analysis of the persons’ living environment. Feng Shui in the old days was known as “Kan Yu” (the observation of the forces between Heaven and Earth). Only towards the end of the Qing Dynasty did the term “Feng Shui” come to be used unanimously to represent “Kan Yu”.

Feng Shui today is seen as many things from interior design, house decorating, fashion jewellery and village type superstition. The true form of Feng Shui is not and never will be a fashionable idea.

Feng Shui is a metaphysical science where one learns to recognize and tap into the Qi (cosmic energies) of the living environment to help the many endeavours in life. The study and presence of Qi, is today recognized by Western medical doctors when it comes to acupuncture and acupressure. Feng Shui is about Qi in the living environment and how to go about harnessing it. Not only do we want to harness it, we also want to use it to help specific goals in our everyday lives. Qi is a natural phenomenon of the living environment

The second aspect of Feng Shui is that it is also a form of “forecasting”. The nature of Qi is cyclical and as such, can be calculated. Practitioners of Feng Shui have learnt to assess outcomes based on the influence of Qi upon a particular living environment. The “predictive” and forecasting part of Feng Shui is often neglected or unknown to many practitioners today. If you know the types of Qi that will affect the environment in certain months of the year, one can prepare for the best or worst of the situation. Making informed decisions are in fact, part of both Chinese Feng Shui and Chinese Astrology.

Approach Feng Shui with an open mind. Have a “goal” in mind when practicing Feng Shui. After all, Feng Shui is about harnessing the Qi in your living environment to help you achieve your goal. But it is not a miracle cure as it only represents 1/3 of the Cosmic factor that influences our lives. (the other two being Destiny and the Human factor).

The connection between Tao cultivation and Feng Shui practice?

Tao cultivation and feng shui practice share the same root, as both disciplines evolved from the ancient wisdom of understanding the inter-connectedness of everything around us; the one Universal energy Qi as expressed in many forms.

The wisdom of Tao cultivation is that of listening to the voice of nature, as well as the wisdom of knowing that human can genuinely thrive only when aligned and in harmony with the rhythms of the Universe.

That which cannot be named is the true study of Tao, so no matter what words, terms or explanations we might use to define Tao, we will still be far from its true essence.

The true Tao cannot be explained in words; in can only be felt and understood at a level much deeper than words.

Tao also means the Way, or the Path.

“The way to what?”, you might ask. Good question.

Tao is about a way to experience your life in an effortless way; a way where you are active when the energy is flowing and slow down when the energy is slowing down. You wait when the energy is blocked and you make a major leap forward when the energy is moving forward.

You TRUST in the deep, mysterious wisdom of the Universe and allow it to carry you to your goals; you achieve what needs to be achieved without unnecessary strain.

You get the support of powerful qi at the right time, and rest when the energy is not there for you. It is a way to accomplish everything that needs to be accomplished in an easy and effortless way.

This leads us to one of the main principles of Tao, the Wu Wei principle of Action Through Inaction. Wu Wei means you know when to act and when not to act because you understand the flow of energies around you; you know the best timing for your actions.

Another fundamental principle of Tao is the yin yang principle, or the study of the two opposing Universal forces. All feng shui schools, especially the classical feng shui schools, are based on the study of creating a harmonious quality of energy; and the Yin Yang principle, along with the five elements principle, are at the foundation of good feng shui.

While Tao cultivation is applied to one’s way of being; feng shui is the study of creating environments that are aligned with the natural flow of the Universe, environments that can nurture and sustain one’s energy and quality of life.

Various feng shui schools look at various aspects, or feng shui criteria, for creating the most nurturing spaces for humans. Complex feng shui formulas are applied to the design of various buildings, be it for business or personal use; as well as gardens and even whole city blocks!

One can always be sure of creating good feng shui if one is aligned with the way of Tao; vice-versa, feng shui application is an invaluable tool to acquire a simple quality of life, filled with peace and tranquillity of Tao cultivation.