Eastern Civilizati​on, The Rising Sun Culture: “Wind & Water,” “Chinese “Feng Shui” Geomancy & Other Chinese Culture Original Concepts — Written on 06/08/12

“Chinese spiritual world concepts are cultural practices or methods found in Chinese culture. Some fit in the realms of a particular religion, others do not. In general these concepts were uniquely evolved from the Chinese values of filial piety, tacit acknowledgment of the co-existence of the living and the deceased, and the belief in causality and reincarnation, with or without religious overtones.”

  • Ancestral worship (拜祖) – A practice to honor the deeds and memories of the deceased. This is an extension to the filial piety from the teachings of Confucius and Laozi. Elders, seniors, extended families and particularly parents are to be respected, heeded and looked after. Respects continue after their deaths. In addition to the Qingming and Chongyang festivals, descendants should pay tribute to ancestors during the Zhongyuanjie, more commonly known as the Ghost Festival. In addition to providing a tombstone or urn cover, descendants are traditionally expected to install an altar (神台) in their home to pay homage regularly each day with joss sticks and tea. The ancestors, including parents and grandparents, are worshiped or venerated as if they are still living.
  • Three Realms (三曹) – the belief that Heaven, the living and the deceased exist side by side, heaven a place for saints or rested souls, hell for the criminous deceased. Three wun seven pak (三魂七魄) explains a person’s existence. The three realms is where a person exists, and the seven states are what makes a person exist. The Pumi people, for example, are a supporter of this concept.
  • Jian (間) – The living world where people exist in reality is referred to as Yang Jian (陽間). The underworld where spirits exist after death is regarded as Yin Jian (陰間), though this is not necessarily a negative place such as hell.
  • Fan Tai Shui (犯太歲) – is when an individual faces major obstacles in health, job and studies. The obstacles last for a single Chinese calendar year. An example is when Hong Kong Feng shui master Raymond Lo tried to explain the occurrences in 2008 in relation to People’s Republic of China leaders Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao. Within the animal astrology the horse clashes with the rat, causing a turbulent year. Both Hu and Wen are born in 1942, the year of the horse, which clashes with 2008 the year of the rat. Hence 2008 in China was one of the most turbulent year with Tibetan unrest, Sichuan earthquake and many more events. Another example is Henry Tang suffering from Fan Tai shui in 2012 where he experienced the illegal basement controversy as well as many other events during the 2012 election. Tang would end up losing the election.
  • Zung saang gei (種生基) – is when a piece of hair is placed in a particular fung shui location in an attempt to extend a person’s life. A publicised example is actress celebrity Tina Leung who performed this practice in 1998 at a place in Guangxi Beihai xingdaohu (星島湖). The maximum that she could extend was 12 years, hence she died exactly in 2010.”
  • Fuji (乩文) – planchette writing is practiced using either a rattan sieve (see coscinomancy) or a wooden stylus to write Chinese characters in sand or incense ashes. This Chinese tradition of automatic writing continues to be practiced in Daoist temples in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China.
  • Mun mai (問米) – is communication directly with spirits who have died. The most common usage is for finding and contacting deceased relatives or loved ones. It is an extremely rare skill within Chinese culture nowadays. The general cultural term is that people are raised from the underground or down from heaven to communicate. A western comparison is likely seance or necromancy.
  • Yum si lou (陰司路) – is the idea of flooding the spiritual road with spiritual money to ensure the person who died will reach their destination safely. In Chinese culture, the road to heaven, diyu or reincarnation may not be clear. By overloading the path with spiritual money, hopefully all troubled souls on the way will be too occupied with the money and leave the traveling-soul alone. This is an assurance for the living.
  • Villain hitting (打小人) – is a folk sorcery popular in the Guangdong area of China including Hong Kong used to demonic exorcising.
  • Tong ling (通靈) – is to tunnel and channel through to communicate with spirits.”
  • Gwai jen (貴人) – Someone who can help you. Or is destined to help you.
  • Siu jen (小人) – Someone who can hurt you. Or is destined to hurt you. Simple methods such as kau cim can usually inform you whether a guiren or xiaoren is visible in your near future.”
  • Peach wood sword (桃木劍) – the definitive weapon used for demon exorcism during Taoist exorcism.The ones from Long Mountain in Jiangxi province are particularly valued as the premium quality peach wood swords.
  • Stone tablets (石敢當) – the tablets are placed at main doors, junctions of small avenues, three-way junctions, river banks or ponds to gather positive energy and ward off evil spirit. Sometimes it is used to block natural mishaps such as natural disasters.
  • Tai mountain stone tablets (泰山石敢當) – the most powerful of the stone tablets are made from stones coming from Mount Tai. These stone tablets are shaped like the mountain forming the 5 fingers shape. The ones inscribed with (泰山石敢當) go with along with the legend of the fight between war deity Chi You and the Yellow Emperor. Supposedly goddess Nüwa dropped the tablet with the inscription on Chi You and scared him off. Yellow Emperor have since put the same inscription everywhere to scare off Chi You.
  • Spirit tablet – a spiritual home in your house for ancestor spirits.”
  • Zing coi (正財) – This is basic money earned from working or jobs.
  • Waang coi (橫財) – Is a type of destiny money that is earned usually in large sums. An old Chinese quote goes: “If it is yours, is yours. If it is not yours, is never going to be yours.” An example of someone with good Waang coi fortune is Idy Chan.
  • Po coi dong zoi (破財擋災) – Is the process of losing a lot of money to avoid a disaster. Some people are advised to prepare to lose money in certain astrological years.”
  • “In traditional Chinese culture, qì (also chi or ch’i) is an active principle forming part of any living thing. Qi is frequently translated as life energy, lifeforce, or energy flow. Qi is the central underlying principle in traditional Chinese medicine and martial arts. The literal translation of “qi” is breath, air, or gas.
  • Concepts similar to qi can be found in many cultures, for example, Prana in Vedantic philosophy, mana in Hawaiian culture, Lüng in Tibetan Buddhism, and Vital energy in Western philosophy. Some elements of qi can be understood in the term energy when used by writers and practitioners of various esoteric forms of spirituality and alternative medicine. Elements of the qi concept can also be found in popular culture, for example The Force in Star Wars. Notions in the west of energeia, élan vital, or vitalism are purported to be similar.”


“The ancient Chinese described it as “life-force”. They believed qi permeated everything and linked their surroundings together. They likened it to the flow of energy around and through the body, forming a cohesive and functioning unit. By understanding its rhythm and flow they believed they could guide exercises and treatments to provide stability and longevity.

Although the concept of qi has been important within many Chinese philosophies, over the centuries the descriptions of qi have varied and have sometimes been in conflict. Until China came into contact with Western scientific and philosophical ideas, they had not categorized all things in terms of matter and energy. Qi and li (理, li, pattern) were ‘fundamental’ categories similar to matter and energy.

Fairly early on, some Chinese thinkers began to believe that there were different fractions of qi and that the coarsest and heaviest fractions of qi formed solids, lighter fractions formed liquids, and the most ethereal fractions were the “lifebreath” that animates living beings.

Yuán qì is a notion of innate or pre-natal qi to distinguish it from acquired qi that a person may develop over the course of their lifetime.”


“Qigong, chi kung, or chi gung ( literally “Life Energy Cultivation”) is a practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness for exercise, healing, and meditation. With roots in Chinese medicine, martial arts, and philosophy, qigong is traditionally viewed as a practice to cultivate and balance qi (chi) or what has been translated as “intrinsic life energy”. Typically a qigong practice involves rhythmic breathing coordinated with slow stylized repetition of fluid movement, a calm mindful state, and visualization of guiding qi through the body. Qigong is now practiced throughout China and worldwide, and is considered by some to be exercise, and by others to be a type of alternative medicine or meditative practice. From a philosophical perspective qigong is believed to help develop human potential, allow access to higher realms of awareness, and awaken one’s “true nature”.”


“Tao Yin is a series of breathing exercises practiced by Taoists to cultivate ch’i, the internal energy of the body according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. The practice of Tao Yin was a precursor of qigong, and was practised in Chinese Taoist monasteries for health and spiritual cultivation. Tao Yin, along with Shaolin Ch’uan, is also said to be a primary formative ingredient in the well-known “soft style” Chinese martial art, T’ai Chi Ch’uan.”


“Taoism is a philosophical and religious tradition that emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao. The term Tao (or Dao, depending on the romanization system used) originally means “way”, “path” or “principle”, and can be found in Chinese philosophies and religions other than Taoism. In Taoism, however, Tao denotes something that is both the source and the driving source of everything that exists, and that ultimately is ineffable: “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.”

The keystone work of literature in Taoism is the Daodejing, a concise and ambiguous book containing teachings attributed to Laozi. Together with the writings of Zhuangzi, these texts build the philosophical foundation of Taoism. This philosophical Taoism, individualistic by nature, is not institutionalized. Institutionalized forms, however, evolved over time in the shape of a number of different schools, often integrating beliefs and practices that even pre-dated the keystone texts – as, for example, the theories of the School of Naturalists, which synthesized the concepts of yin-yang and the Five Elements. Taoist schools traditionally feature reverence for Laozi, immortals or ancestors, along with a variety of divination and exorcism rituals, and practices for achieving ecstasy, longevity or immortality.

Taoist propriety and ethics may vary depending on the particular school, but in general tends to emphasize wu wei (action through non-action), simplicity, spontaneity, harmony between the individual and the cosmos, and the Three Treasures: Compassion, Moderation, and Humility.”


“Taoism has had profound influence on Chinese culture in the course of the centuries, and clerics of institutionalised Taoism usually take care to note distinction between their ritual tradition and the customs and practices found in Chinese folk religion as these distinctions sometimes appear blurred. Chinese alchemy (especially neidan), Chinese astrology, Zen Buddhism, several martial arts, Traditional Chinese medicine, feng shui, and many styles of qigong have been intertwined with Taoism throughout history. Beyond China, Taoism also had influence on surrounding societies in Asia.”


“After Laozi and Zhuangzi the literature of Taoism grew steadily and used to be compiled in form of a canon – the Daozang, which was at times published at the behest of the emperor. Throughout Chinese history, Taoism was several times nominated as state religion. After the 17th century, however, it fell much from favor. Like all other religious activity, Taoism was suppressed in the first decades of the People’s Republic of China (and even persecuted during the Cultural Revolution), but continued to be practised in Taiwan. Today, it is one of five religions recognized in the PRC, and although it does not travel readily from its Asian roots, claims adherents in a number of societies.”


“Geomancy ( Greek: γεωμαντεία, “earth divination”) is a method of divination that interprets markings on the ground or the patterns formed by tossed handfuls of soil, rocks, or sand. The most prevalent form of divinatory geomancy involves interpreting a series of 16 figures formed by a randomized process that involves recursion followed by analyzing them, often augmented with astrological interpretations.

Once practiced by people from all social classes, it was one of the most popular forms of divination throughout Africa and Europe in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Books and treatises on geomancy were published up until the 17th century when most occult traditions fell out of popularity. Geomancy has recently seen a new interest through the works of John Michael Greer and other practitioners, with more mainstream occult circles practicing and teaching geomancy.

In Renaissance magic, geomancy was classified as one of the seven “forbidden arts,” along with necromancy, hydromancy, aeromancy, pyromancy, chiromancy (palmistry), and spatulamancy (scapulimancy).”


“”Feng shui, or Fung shui, is a Chinese system of geomancy believed to use the laws of both Heaven (Chinese astronomy) and Earth to help one improve life by receiving positive qi. The original designation for the discipline is Kan Yu (simplified Chinese: 堪舆; traditional Chinese: 堪輿; pinyin: kānyú; literally: Tao of heaven and earth).

The term feng shui literally translates as “wind-water” in English. This is a cultural shorthand taken from the following passage of the Zangshu (Book of Burial) by Guo Pu of the Jin Dynasty:


Qi rides the wind and scatters, but is retained when encountering water.


Historically, feng shui was widely used to orient buildings—often spiritually significant structures such as tombs, but also dwellings and other structures—in an auspicious manner. Depending on the particular style of feng shui being used, an auspicious site could be determined by reference to local features such as bodies of water, stars, or a compass. Feng shui was suppressed in China during the cultural revolution in the 1960s, but since then has increased in popularity.

Modern reactions to feng shui are mixed. The Skeptic Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience states that some principles of feng shui are “quite rational”, while noting that “folk remedies and superstitions… [have been] incorporated into feng shui’s eclectic mix.””


“In Asian philosophy and Chinese philosophy, the concept of yin yang, which is often referred to in the West as “yin and yang”, literally meaning “dark and light”, is used to describe how polar opposites or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn. Opposites thus only exist in relation to each other. The concept lies at the origins of many branches of classical Chinese science and philosophy, as well as being a primary guideline of traditional Chinese medicine, and a central principle of different forms of Chinese martial arts and exercise, such as baguazhang, taijiquan (t’ai chi), and qigong (Chi Kung) and of I Ching divination. Many natural dualities—e.g. dark and light, female and male, low and high, cold and hot, water and fire, earth and air—are thought of as manifestations of yin and yang (respectively).”


“Yin yang are not opposing forces (dualities), but complementary opposites, unseen (hidden, feminine) and seen (manifest, masculine), that interact within a greater whole, as part of a dynamic system. Everything has both yin and yang aspects as light cannot exist without darkness and vice-versa, but either of these aspects may manifest more strongly in particular objects, and may ebb or flow over time. The concept of yin and yang is often symbolized by various forms of the Taijitu symbol, for which it is probably best known in western cultures.

There is a perception (especially in the West) that yin and yang correspond to evil and good. However, Taoist philosophy generally discounts good/bad distinctions and other dichotomous moral judgments, in preference to the idea of balance. Confucianism (most notably the philosophy of Dong Zhongshu, c. the 2nd century BCE) did attach a moral dimension to the idea of yin and yang, but the modern sense of the term largely stems from Buddhist adaptations of Taoist philosophy.”


“The Wu Xing, also known as the Five Phases, the Five Agents, the Five Movements, and the Five Steps/Stages, are chiefly an ancient mnemonic device, in many traditional Chinese fields. Within Chinese medicine texts the Wu Xing are also referred to as Wu Yun (五運 wŭ yùn) or a combination of the two characters (Wu Xing-Yun) these emphasise the corresondence of five elements to five ‘seasons’ (four seasons plus one). Another tradition refers to the wu xing as wu de 五德, the Five Virtues (zh:五德終始說).

It has customarily been translated as Five Elements probably because of the similarity of this doctrine to the Western system of four elements. Text from the Ma Wang-Dui suggest that it was originally like the Western system representing elemental substances. The Wu Xing were mainly used as memory tools, hence the preferred translation of “movements”, “phases” or “steps” over “elements”. By the same token, Mu is thought of as “Tree” rather than “Wood”.












































The system of five phases was used for describing interactions and relationships between phenomena. It was employed as a device in many fields of early Chinese thought, including seemingly disparate fields such as geomancy or Feng shui, astrology, traditional Chinese medicine, music, military strategy and martial arts.

The system is still used as a reference in some forms of complementary and alternative medicine and martial arts. Some claim the original foundation of these are the concept of the Five Cardinal Points.”


“The doctrine of five phases describes two cycles, a generating or creation (生, shēng) cycle, also known as “mother-son”, and an overcoming or destruction (剋/克, kè) cycle, also known as “grandfather-nephew”, of interactions between the phases.

The five elements are usually used to describe the state in nature:

Wood/Spring: a period of growth , which generates abundant wood and vitality;

Fire/Summer: a period of swellness, which overbrews with fire and energy;

Metal/Autumn: a period of fruition, which produces formation and bears fruit;

Water/Winter: a period of retreat, where stillness pervades;

Earth: the in-between transitional seasonal periods

The common memory jogs, which help to remind in what order the phases are:

Wood feeds Fire;

Fire creates Earth (ash);

Earth bears Metal;

Metal carries Water (as in a bucket or tap, or water condenses on metal);

Water nourishes Wood.

Other common words for this cycle include “begets”, “engenders” and “mothers.”

Wood parts Earth (such as roots; or, Trees can prevent soil erosion);

Metal chops Wood;

Fire melts Metal;

Water quenches Fire;

Earth dams (or muddies or absorbs) Water;

This cycle might also be called “controls”, “restrains” or “fathers”.”


“The I Ching (Wade-Giles) or “Yì Jīng” (pinyin), also known as the Classic of Changes, Book of Changes and Zhouyi, is one of the oldest of the Chinese classic texts.The book contains a divination system comparable to Western geomancy or the West African Ifá system; in Western cultures and modern East Asia, it is still widely used for this purpose.”


“Neidan, or internal alchemy, spiritual alchemy  is a concept in Taoist Chinese alchemy. It is a series of physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines intended to prolong the life of the body and create an immortal spiritual body that would survive after death.

In Neidan the human body becomes a cauldron in which the Three Treasures of Jing, Chi and Shen are cultivated for the purpose of improving physical, emotional and mental health, and ultimately merging with the Tao, i.e. becoming an Immortal. It is believed the Xiuzhen Tu is such a cultivation map. In China, it is an important form of practice for most schools of Taoism.

Neidan is part of the Chinese alchemical meditative tradition that is said to have been separated into internal and external (Waidan) at some point during the Tang dynasty. The Cantong qi (The Kinship of the Three) is the earliest known book on theoretical alchemy in China; it was written by the alchemist Wei Boyang in 142 AD. This text influenced the formation of Neidan, whose earliest existing texts date from the first half of the eighth century. The authors of several Neidan articles refer to their teachings as the Way of the Golden Elixir (jindan zhi dao). The majority of Chinese alchemical sources is found in the Daozang (Taoist Canon), the largest collection of Taoist texts.

Neidan shares a significant portion of its notions and methods with classical Chinese medicine, fangshi and with other bodies of practices, such as meditation and the methods for “nourishing life” (yangsheng). What distinguishes alchemy from these related traditions is its unique view of the elixir as a material or immaterial entity that represents the original state of being and the attainment of that state. The Neidan tradition of internal alchemy is practiced by working with the energies that were already present in the human body as opposed to using natural substances, medicines or elixirs, from outside of the body. The Shangqing (Supreme Clarity) tradition of Daoism played an important role in the emergence of Neidan alchemy, after using Waidan mainly as a meditative practice, and therefore turning it from an external to an internal art.

Closely related to Taoism, it is believed that the goal of Neidan is to merge the two energies of yin and yang and return to the primordial unity of the Tao.”


“Wu wei (lit. non-doing) is an important concept in Taoism that literally means non-action or non-doing. In the Tao te Ching, Laozi explains that beings (or phenomena) that are wholly in harmony with the Tao behave in a completely natural, uncontrived way. As the planets revolve around the sun, they “do” this revolving, but without “doing” it. As trees grow, they simply grow without trying to grow. Thus knowing how and when to act is not knowledge in the sense that one would think, “now I should do this,” but rather just doing it, doing the natural thing. The goal of spiritual practice for the human being is, according to Laozi, the attainment of this natural way of behaving .”


“Wu may be translated as not have or without; Wei may be translated as do, act, serve as, govern or effort. The literal meaning of wu wei is “without action”, “without effort”, or “without control”, and is often included in the paradox wei wu wei: “action without action” or “effortless doing”. The practice of wu wei and the efficacy of wei wu wei are fundamental tenets in Chinese thought and have been mostly emphasized by the Taoist school. One cannot actively pursue wu wei. It is more a mere observation of one’s behavior after they have accepted themselves for who they are and release conscious control over their lives to the infinite Tao.

There is another less commonly referenced sense of wu wei; “action that does not involve struggle or excessive effort”. In this instance, wu means “without” and Wei means “effort”. The concept of “effortless action” is a part of Taoist Internal martial arts such as T’ai chi ch’uan, Baguazhang and Xing Yi. It follows that wu wei complies with the main feature and distinguishing characteristic of Taoism, that of being natural. To apply wu wei to any situation is to take natural action.

In Zen Calligraphy, wu wei has been represented as a circle. In China, the Wu Wei Characters themselves resonate with old Taoist stories.”


“De is a key concept in Chinese philosophy, usually translated “inherent character; inner power; integrity” in Taoism, “moral character; virtue; morality” in Confucianism and other contexts, and “quality; virtue” (guna) or “merit; virtuous deeds” (punya) in Chinese Buddhism.”


“Tao or Dao is a Chinese word meaning ‘way’, ‘path’, ‘route’, or sometimes more loosely, ‘doctrine’ or ‘principle’. Within the context of traditional Chinese philosophy and religion, Tao is a metaphysical concept originating with Laozi that gave rise to a religion and philosophy referred to in English with the single term Taoism. The concept of Tao was later adopted in Confucianism, Chán and Zen Buddhism and more broadly throughout East Asian philosophy and religion in general. Within these contexts Tao signifies the primordial essence or fundamental nature of the universe. In the foundational text of Taoism, the Tao Te Ching, Laozi explains that Tao is not a ‘name’ for a ‘thing’ but the underlying natural order of the universe whose ultimate essence is difficult to circumscribe. Tao is thus “eternally nameless” (Dao De Jing-32. Laozi) and to be distinguished from the countless ‘named’ things which are considered to be its manifestations.

In Taoism, Chinese Buddhism and Confucianism, the object of spiritual practice is to ‘become one with the tao’ (Tao Te Ching) or to harmonise one’s will with Nature (cf. Stoicism) in order to achieve ‘effortless action’ (Wu wei). This involves meditative and moral practices. Important in this respect is the Taoist concept of De (德; virtue).”


“In all its uses, Dao is considered to have ineffable qualities that prevent it from being defined or expressed in words. It can, however, be known or experienced, and its principles (which can be discerned by observing Nature) can be followed or practiced. Much of East Asian philosophical writing focuses on the value of adhering to the principles of Tao and the various consequences of failing to do so. In Confucianism and religious forms of Daoism these are often explicitly moral/ethical arguments about proper behavior, while Buddhism and more philosophical forms of Daoism usually refer to the natural and mercurial outcomes of action (comparable to karma). Dao is intrinsically related to the concepts yin and yang, where every action creates counter-actions as unavoidable movements within manifestations of the Dao, and proper practice variously involves accepting, conforming to, or working with these natural developments.

The concept of Tao differs from conventional (western) ontology, however; it is an active and holistic conception of Nature, rather than a static, atomistic one. It is worth comparing to the original Logos of Heraclitus, c. 500 BCE.”


“Taiji is understood to be the highest conceivable principle, that from which existence flows. This is very similar to the Daoist idea “reversal is the movement of the Dao”. The “supreme ultimate” creates yang and yin: movement generates yang; when its activity reaches its limit, it becomes tranquil. Through tranquility the supreme ultimate generates yin. When tranquility has reached its limit, there is a return to movement. Movement and tranquility, in alternation, become each the source of the other. The distinction between the yin and yang is determined and the two forms (that is, the yin and yang) stand revealed. By the transformations of the yang and the union of the yin, the 5 elements (Qi) of water, fire, wood, metal and earth are produced. These 5 Qi become diffused, which creates harmony. Once there is harmony the 4 seasons can occur. Yin and yang produced all things, and these in their turn produce and reproduce, this makes these processes never ending. (Wu, 1986)”


















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