Saturday, April 23, 2011

Feng Shui and nuclear energy

The recent radiation leak in Japan raises the issue of the potential disaster of using nuclear energy. It casts doubt on man's wisdom in tampering too much into nature, in pursue of economic gains (and perhaps with accompanying psychological superiority).

It reminds me of a NHK program ran in the 1200th anniversary of creating the city of Kyoto (formerly known as 平安京 City of Safety). The program featured the popular Japanese writer Hiroshi Aramata (荒俣宏), together with a Feng Shui (風水) master Mr. Liu from Hong Kong, explaining the city planning of Kyoto based on Feng Shui principles. The gist of the planning is with a high mountain at the back with ridges descending to a basin there by the Dragon hole is protected left and right by two small mounts. The requirements are firstly, the ridges should not be disturbed (the ridge is the dragon), secondly, the most important human structure must be built on the dragon hole, and thirdly, water (e.g. a pond) must be created so that the dragon will stay and give good fortune to the people.

The practice of Feng Shui was an advanced development from the mentality of the primitive man. As Carl Jung pointed out, participation mystique was the hall-mark of the psychological make-up of primitive man who couldn't distinguish between real and fantasy resulting in viewing inanimate objects as possessed by demons and spirits. With the progress of civilization, organized religions with singular (or a manageable number of) god or higher being relieved man's burden from thousands of spirits. The practice of Feng Shui in the area of finding the Dragon hole released the then city planner (and its ruler) from possible (fear of) harmful spirits that might have been dwelling in the vicinities. Except in response to occasional local outcries (that actually still happens occasionally, albeit infrequently, nowadays in Hong Kong's rural area, the New Territories), Feng Shui for town planning is not being practiced in the East now.

The philosophy behind finding the Dragon hole and protecting the Dragon is a respect for the Earth. In ancient Chinese thinking (from which Taoism and Confucianism evolved), the Sky, the Earth, and Man were of equal standing, with the Emperor representing Man in this triadic structure. There will be prosperity if the balance between the three forces can be maintained.

The development in the West is quite different. with the triumph of Christianity, man becomes triumphant with God's supporting the faithful. All idol worships and their accompanying spirits should be banned, and with them the entire earth in which the spirits previously dwelt turned second-grade, much inferior to Man, to be conquered and to be worked upon at Man's wishes. Man becomes above Sky and Earth, their masters instead of their equals. Without any holding back, economies prospered together with rapid scientific progress. And with it, unfortunately, the development and rapid expansion of the usage of nuclear energy. A force unleashed that Man believes he can manage. But can't he?

The ancient wisdom of respecting the Sky and Earth sounds a clear alarm. Needless to say, following the route of the Dragon-hole practice would be anti-progress; modern man must find his own path, with his rational mind, his free-will, his (hopefully) enlightened spirituality, and above all his respect for the environment, a lesson we all can learn from a Feng Shui master.

Feng Shui diagram of City of Safety (平安京)

1 comment:

  1. Able to converse fluently with both Shamans and scientists. Love to demystify rather than mystify. feng shui


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