Feng Shui Its Ancient Origins

For many hundreds of years feng shui was practiced by the ruling classes of imperial China. From the Tang dynasty right up to the last of the Ching rulers, feng shui remained an important part of imperial court practice and feng shui masters were often revered for their knowledge. Sometimes, however, they were executed to ensure that others would not use their mastery against the Son of Heaven. In an atmosphere of continuous Court intrigue, emperors protected their feng shui secrets with cunning and care.

Chinese folk tales are filled with tales of feng shui's impact on the birth and death of dynasties. The founder of the Ming dynasty in 1368, for instance, who was a beggar and a bandit, was believed to have succeeded in overthrowing the last Mongol emperor to create the Ming dynasty because of the radically favourable feng shui of his father's grave.

Chinese history books describe how, upon becoming emperor, Chu Yuan Chuan ordered all feng shui masters to be put to death. In some old stories it is even speculated that he caused fake feng shui books to be written in order to confuse the knowledge of this practice. When Yong Le later became the third Ming emperor and began construction of the new northern capital (what is now the Forbidden City in Beijing), it is speculated that his architects and builders used some of these fake books to arrange the feng shui of the new palace. It was perhaps this that caused the palace to be burned down almost immediately after it had been completed.

The architectural history of China's Forbidden City is filled with speculation concerning the input of feng shui. When the Manchus overthrew the Ming dynasty in the seventeenth century, they too subscribed to feng shui. Indeed the emporer Chien Lung took a personal interest in the subject and succeeded in introducing correct feng shui features. His reign was one of prosperity and good fortune for his people, and feng shui may well have played a major role in bringing this about. Chien Lung period coins are highly prized as amulets of good fortune.

In the twentieth century even the latter-day "emperors" of China - Mao Tse Tung and Deng Xiao Ping, communists who scoffed openly at feng shui - are believed to have benefited from the excellent feng shui of their ancestors' graves. Mao's grandfather's grave was said to reside in the palm of the Heavenly Moon Goddess, a configuration so auspicious that it was to bring good fortune to the grandson of the family. In Deng's case, the feng shui fable concerns his father's grave, as well as the presence of three auspicious peaks within sight of the family home.

Feng shui did not flourish in the China of Mao Tse Tung. In fact during his period of power the practice of it was strictly forbidden.

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