Welcome back! This is the fourth lesson of the Feng Shui Master Class. We shall continue our study of external Feng Shui. In the last lesson we talked about the natural environment, trees, hills, rivers and other natural objects. In this lesson, we shall look at artificial objects outside the building.
In ancient times there are not so many artificial objects that may affect Feng Shui. So when modern Feng Shui masters need to apply Feng Shui, they need to think of ways to interpret the artificial objects using the old Feng Shui theories. How do we do this? We compare things by analogy.
Let’s see how we compare the man-made things with the natural objects.
In Chinese Feng Shui theories, “with one inch higher it is the mountain, with one inch lower it is the water” (高一寸即是山，低一寸即是水). Even if there is no mountain around your home, if there is a taller building nearby, we treat it as a mountain for Feng Shui’s sake.
Remember in the last lesson we mentioned that it is preferred to have a mountain / hill behind your house? We used the Forbidden City in Beijing, China to explain this. If you live in a city where it is a large flatland, chances are your house does not have a mountain/hill behind. In this case, the second best choice is to have a building behind your building.
There are two things to remember. Firstly, we consider everything in front of the main entrance of your building as “in the front”, “behind” is the opposite. What if there are more than one entrances? In the past most houses in China has a main entrance and a few side doors. The side doors were only used for delivery of garbage and ingress/egress of the servants. The owner of the house and his family, who are the master of the house, goes in and out via the main entrance door. Nowadays, we consider the mostly used entrance as the main entrance, and certainly we ignore those back doors used for delivery only.
Secondly, not all buildings are useful as an artificial hill behind your house. Only those which are taller count. In other words, if the building immediately behind is lower than your own building, this is bad Feng Shui. It means no support by others.
Then, how about buildings in front of and on both sides of your own building?
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As we said last time, we do not want a hill in front of our own house, so we certainly don’t want a building in the front. Of course, in modern cities it is very hard that you have a house with no buildings in front, unless you live at the seafront. So our next best choice is to have no buildings “immediately in front”, and preferably have a small space there.
On the left and right, we want things on both sides, something higher than the ground but not as high as the back. If I have to make an analogy, I would say something just like the arms of a chair. High at the back, support on both sides and nothing in front.
The photo below was downloaded from the Hong Kong Public Library web site. It shows the Hong Kong central business district in the early 20th century. The big white building in the middle is the old HSBC headquarters (now demolished). HSBC is one of the biggest banks in Asia, it is also a multinational bank with presence in all continents except the Antarctica. I’m not sure if those architects at that time know Feng Shui (probably not), but it so happen the location of the building and it’s design was a good demonstration.
Firstly, there is a hill at the back. Secondly, there is no building in front. What you can find in the photo is a garden in front of the main entrance of the HSBC building. And further in the front is the sea. On left and right are two buildings, none of them taller than the HSBC building nor the hill at the back. This is a perfect Feng Shui example.
After knowing some good buildings around your home, let’s see the bad ones. Look at the picture below which shows the top view of some buildings, your house faces a narrow slit between two buildings (it must be narrow to constitute a bad Feng Shui).
What’s wrong with it? Please looking at the flow of Chi, a narrow slit creates a strong movement of the intangible Chi that comes to your house like a sword. This is bad Chi. Besides, if there is light shining through the slit, the light would be so bright that makes everybody seeing it uncomfortable. All in all, it is not good for the health of the occupiers of the house.
The case below is another innocent crime that could be caused by buildings across the street. The sharp angle of the opposite building looks like a knife pointing to your house. The narrower the angle the sharper the knife and the greater harm caused to the health of the occupier of the house. If you find this situation in your house, you could hang a convex mirror facing the sharp angle to neutralize the adverse effect.
Any more? Yes, as I mentioned before, you can use analogy to analyse Feng Shui. Imagine the window/door of your house as your face, what you don’t want to see immediately in front of you are not good Feng Shui. Use your imagination, you can find lots of bad (and good) Feng Shu examples!
Apart from shapes of outside buildings, the types of building also have impacts on your house. The worst type of community to live in is nearby cemeteries. Besides, it is also not good to live near a power station (and sub-station), fire station and police station. The former is pure Yin while the latter is pure Yang. Both Yin and Yang to the extreme are not good according to Feng Shui theories.
We said “with one inch lower it is the water”, therefore roads are usually considered by modern Feng Shui masters as water streams. So the good and bad Feng Shui originated from natural rivers could also be applied to roads.
Remember the image below we saw in the last lesson? Consider the river as a curved road and the two farmlands as two houses. You can easily figure out that the Feng Shui of house A is better than house B, applying the principle I taught you in the last lesson. In fact, we have two terms specifically used to call these two situations. A is “環抱水” or “玉環帶腰” (“embraced by water” or “jade belt around one’s belly”) and B is “反弓水” (“convex water”).
In traditional Feng Shui, water means wealth (水為財). However, if there is a long and straight road pointing directly to the entrance of your house, it is not good.
Imagine a water hose with strong running water pointing to your face. You won’t feel comfortable since the splash of water goes into your mouth and nose. For the same reason, a long and straight road/water stream creates a movement of Chi which is too strong to the occupiers of the house.
A road is not limited to one on the ground. Flyover (or overpass) also counts. Look at the photo below, you will see that the buildings fronting the blue circled area have bad Feng Shui due to convex water (just like the Farmland B).
(Photo source: http://kxcyg.blog.163.com/blog/static/59492764201010795324443/)
Besides, even if a flyover is not curved, if it passes right outside your window, it is not good. Firstly, it will block the natural light and ventilation. Secondly, the view outside would look very tense. Finally, the traffic outside may bring sound and air pollution.
Having sufficient lighting is good, but if there is strong light from outside it is bad. The image below, which shows a real situation in China, is a good demonstration of bad Feng Shui due to strong light from outside. On the right hand side is a residential building and on the left there is a giant signboard. Do you think you can sleep well if you live in this building? Certainly not.
(Photo source: http://www.hj.cn/html/200710/09/098266510.shtml)
Another common source of strong light is the sunlight reflection from glass wall of the opposite building. Although the light would only exist in daytime, the annoyance it brings is not to be under-looked.
On the other hand, if your house is surrounded by buildings that shade the natural sunlight, it is also a bad Feng Shui situation. Sunlight is Yang, without sufficient sunlight the house would be heavily inclined to Yin, which is a source of bad luck.
Just now we mentioned how roads could affect Feng Shui. No matter the shape of the road, if the traffic is heavy and the road is close, there is chance of noise pollution. You don’t need to ask a Feng Shui master to tell how bad living in a noisy place is.
Similarly, if unfortunately you live in a community with many pubs that operate overnight, chances are you had the experience of annoyed by noise (from strong music and the drunk men who yell).
I has the experience of living on the second floor of a building which faces a garbage collection station. Everyday at 6am garbage trucks come to that station to collect the garbage, while producing lots of noise. It worked like an alarm, I could wake up everyday at 6. This experience told me that I should never live nearby a source of noise again.
Remember the image below that I showed you in the last lesson? Imagine it is not a tree but a light pole. The bad effect is the same. Basically, we don’t want any think similar to a flag pole that goes directly into the heart of a building.
Other artificial objects outside your home that could cause bad Feng Shui include electricity pylon (transmission tower), chimney and any other things that looks bad. Just use your imagination and you could find out more.
We studied the effects of artificial objects. How about our actions? Would what we do affects Feng Shui? Sure.
Years ago I examined the Feng Shui of an office. The company that occupies that office ran into trouble. I tried Ba Gua and Flying Star Feng Shui but found no reason of that problem. Later, I found that the trouble was caused by the fault of the gardener.
What did the gardener do? He trimmed a tree right outside the office entrance! The tree originally looked like a big umbrella that shelters rain and wind. Now with much less branches and leaves, it became a bad-looking fork! A folk that is pointing towards the office! Now you see why the company experienced a bad time since the tree was trimmed.
Takeaway Feng Shui
In traditional Feng Shui we call the above bad Feng Shui designs “Sha” (煞). Usually Feng Shui practitioners in Chinese society recommend hanging a Feng Shui compass on where the Sha exists. The rationale is that a Chinese Feng Shui compass has all kinds symbols representing all elements in the universe. No matter which type of Sha there must be one or more symbols that could neutralize the Sha effects, like acid neutralizing alkali. Knowing that Feng Shui compass is less common outside China, an alternative is to print out the graphics of a Feng Shui compass.
Another common Feng Shui items for Sha neutralization is calabash. According to traditional Feng Shui theories, calabash can absorb negative Chi and Sha and trap them inside. Therefore, if you want hang a calabash facing a source of Sha, make sure it is opened. A top-sealed calabash does not neutralize Sha. If you live in places reachable by Amazon online store, you can easily purchase one by searching for “Feng Shui Calabash“.
Or you can hang a convex mirror out, facing the Sha direction. It reflects the Sha and decentralize its effects. However, since the mirror may accidentally reflects the Sha to the building opposite to you, I usually would not recommend this method unless there are no other choices.