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Chinese Culture: A place for everything

2008年4月28日 20:59:34 sz12 Culture

---The fengshui craze in the West has deep roots in ancient China

A fengshui craze has spread like wildfire across the Western world with everyone from householders to office managers trying to take advantage of its alleged benefits.

Fengshui as understood in the West relates to a belief in good and evil influences in the natural surroundings which can be considered when sitting buildings or even arranging furniture in a room.
But where does it come from and how seriously can it be taken?

The age-old practice of determining locations in this way has been greatly influenced by ancient people's superstitious beliefs.

Due to the backwardness of science and technology, ancient people thought that different natural circumstances made different impacts on their future prospects and fate.

As a result, ancient people tried their best to choose the most suitable spots for their buildings or tombs with the help of geomancers (fengshui practitioners).

Here is what an ancient Chinese geomancer usually did before starting his work: In addition to washing his compass, he would take a bath and then go on a vegetarian diet in an attempt to get rid of impurities and show his devout reverence towards the gods.

In their eyes, only in this way could they achieve a harmonious relationship with nature.
For many people in ancient times, seeking out a dragon-shaped mountain as the venue of their tombs was a must before their death.

What would such a mountain have to look like to comply with a fengshui practitioner's demands.
Chinese geomancers likened a steep and winding mountain range to an awe-inspiring dragon. In their eyes, a dragon's backbone symbolized the mountain's main ridge.

If the "dragon's backbone" was easy to be discerned, then the mountain could be considered to be a suitable one with the shape of a dragon.

After that, fengshui practitioners needed to further observe the source and run of a mountain's ridge. Only the starting or end point of a mountain range could be considered ideal as a location for a tomb.
People would not establish their tombs on a mountain range extending afar without a discernible end point because such a range was likened to a traveling dragon.

If people established tombs on a mountain range without a discernible end point, they would be considered to have broken or hurt the backbone of a traveling dragon.

Apart from the above-mentioned pre-requisites, the best spot for establishing tombs should have "vitality." The so called "vitality" was comprised of cloud, mist, moist soil, luxuriant vegetation and flowing water.

In addition to the configuration of the land, ancient geomancers put great emphasis on the key role of water.

In their opinion, a person's soul survived the death of his or her body. After a person's death, the soul would drift aimlessly in the air. However, the soul would come to a standstill whenever it met with water.

Otherwise, the soul would be a wandering homeless spirit. As a result, many tombs were established on mountain slopes facing rivers, lakes or seas.

According to contemporary scientific opinion, what fengshui practitioners did was unreasonable and ridiculous. However, their techniques of determining locations had a close relationship with people's lives in ancient times and were taken very seriously.

Beijing Weekend 2001


Tag:Chinese Culture  

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