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Your Feng Shui Trust Fund

Sunday, September 24, 2006
By: Joey Yap

Many students often ask me why my annual China Excursion courses mostly involve visits to the tombs of dead Emperors and imperial ministers. There are a few Yang Houses thrown in, usually official palaces, but most of the time, it's, well, dead people places or what we call Yin House, in Feng Shui-speak.

Amongst the places that I have visited with my students include Yong Ling Mausoleum in Liao Ning province, where the early ancestors of the founders of the Qing Dynasty are buried, the Eastern Qing Tombs in Hebei where renown Qing Emperors like KangXi and Qian Long have their tombs, the tomb of Zhu Yuan Zhang, the first Ming Emperor and the tomb of Sun Yat Sen in Nanking, and the tomb of Mao Tse Tung's grandfather in Hunan and Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China in Xian. You see, the quest for Feng Shui knowledge actually begins in the Yin House.

It is from the Yin House that we can see how long prosperity will be with a person's family and the number of generations that will enjoy prosperity. For example, if you visit the tomb of Mao Tse Tung's grandfather in Hunan, you can see that the Feng Shui formations that surround the tomb, whilst powerful enough to create an Emperor or all-powerful leader and supported by a superb 9 Curve Water Formation, unique Dragon Vein and meridian spot structure, does not have afford longevity and staying power. It is only good enough to provide a Feng Shui boost to one generation of descendants - namely, Mao himself. By contrast, the Feng Shui formations in Yong Ling Mausoleum, the burial ground of the Qing Dynasty's founding ancestor, has a Reverse Dragon Facing Ancestor Formation with 12 lumps, signifying at least 12 generations in power.


Yin House can also influence which son (daughters didn't count in the old Imperial days) will be the most outstanding. If you visit the tomb of Emperor Kang Xi, it is extremely obvious which of his 14 sons would stand to inherit the Qing throne, especially since the Qing Emperors were not selected based on progenitorship, but by ability.

Even something as simple as checking which side of the embrace (Sha Shou) dominates the mountain formations at a Yin House can be telling. If you have visited all the tombs of the Qing Emperors, as my students have, a subtle pattern emerges - the right side of the mountain embrace, known as the White Tiger, is always slightly higher than the left side of the mountain embrace, known as the Green Dragon. The White Tiger stands for women-power whilst the Green Dragon represents the male's power. Of course, as the Imperial lineage drew closer towards the end of the dynasty, the White Tiger in the landform formations in the Qing Imperial tombs became less subtle and more prominent. Hence, the Qing Dynasty's last three Emperors were heavily influenced, and dominated by the Empress Dowager Ci Xi. It was the Feng Shui of the Qing Dynasty ancestors that influenced outcomes of these Emperors.

Yin before the Yang

So why is it that my students get so many visits to the houses of dead people? Many people do not know that Feng Shui in fact has its origins in Yin House or burial grounds or tombs. Originally, Feng Shui was known as Kan Yu and was used to help select burial spots during the Tang Dynasty. It was only as Feng Shui advanced and progressed, that its application and principles were extended to Yang House, or places for the living. Many of the classics written during the Tang Dynasty renaissance era on Feng Shui relate to Yin House specifically. During the Imperial Dynasties of Ming and Qing, more attention was paid to Yin House than Yang House most of the time.

A good illustration of this is the Forbidden City in Beijing. If you've visited the Forbidden City, you might be falsely led into thinking that it has superior Feng Shui. Do not get distracted by the turtles, dragons and phoenixes that adorn every pillar, staircase and floor. These have nothing to do with Feng Shui and everything to do with cultural symbolism. The reality of it is that the Feng Shui of the Forbidden City is messy and only of very average quality. If Yang House was all-important, surely more attention would have been paid to it?

Hence, any Emperor, upon his immediate ascent to the Dragon Throne, would deal with selecting his own tomb as one of the first orders of business during his reign. Emperors who were careless with the selection of their tombs never paid the price themselves of course. But their descendants would, as the empire crumbled and the dynasty was overthrown. This is because Yin House Feng Shui is to ensure descendant luck. When the tombs or burial spots are not well-managed and properly selected, it is not the individual who feels the effects, but their descendants.

When an ancestor is buried in a place with favourable Feng Shui, his descendants get the benefit of the favourable Yin House Feng Shui, and at the same time, their own Yang House Feng Shui becomes more powerful and strengthened. Good descendant Feng Shui helps ensure continued prosperity for the family heirs - it can be the difference between each generation building on the previous generation's success or a generation of wastrels that squander away whatever their ancestors have worked hard to build up.

Yin House Today

Yin House Feng Shui is widely misunderstood by many people, including Feng Shui enthusiasts, often because many people do not know the origins of Feng Shui and over the years, it has moved from its roots, to become a 'Chinese cultural practice'. Some New Age Feng Shui practitioners assert that Feng Shui is about positive energies and so any discussion or consideration of Yin House is morbid and negative. On the contrary, any serious classical Feng Shui practitioner worth his salt (and there are many of them in Malaysia) handles Yin House Feng Shui.

Of course, the approach to Feng Shui is now changing, especially since we are now in Period 8. The change of energies indicates a 'back to basics' approach for many things, including, Feng Shui. There is a revived interest in classical Feng Shui and with it comes a revived interest in Yin House. Some people are looking to ride the trend of burial ground real estate speculation but most people are genuinely interested in securing a good burial spot for themselves to ensure good descendant Feng Shui.

In places like Hong Kong and Taiwan, there is no morbidity or superstition attached to Yin House Feng Shui practice. In these societies, it is considered a privilege to be able to select your personal burial ground and is usually regarded as something only the wealthy and educated have the means to undertake. Up until the turn of the century in China, selecting a burial spot was exclusively the purview of wealthy merchants and Imperial officers. It was considered an important responsibility by the head of the family to make efforts to secure his own burial ground or spot, so as to head off needless hassles for the family, but more importantly, feuding and debate over who will foot the bill or find the spot, when the time comes.

In my next article, I will delve more into the practice of Yin House Feng Shui and give you an insight into the role of the Feng Shui master in Yin House Feng Shui. For now, let me say that Yin House Feng Shui should not be something that we should be fearful, superstitious or morbid about.

Yin House Feng Shui is about ensuring that your descendants get as much of a good start in life as possible and perpetuating prosperity in the family. That's why I think one should look at selecting a good burial spot or ground for oneself as an integral part of estate planning. It's part of making a will and setting up a trust fund for your kinds. Of course, this is a different kind of 'trust fund' - hence, I like to tell people to think of Yin House Feng Shui as not about picking out a place where you will "lie in eternity" but rather, a Feng Shui Trust Fund. If you want to leave them an inheritance to give them a good start in life, then making sure you are buried in a good location to give them an extra little Feng Shui boost is no different.

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