Continuing with the bad sad of the coin…
Contemporary feng shui
Today, feng shui is practiced not only by the Chinese, but also by Westerners.
Christians around the world still criticize it. . Many modern Christians have an opinion of feng shui similar to the one of Mateo Ricci.
It is inconsistent with Christianity to believe that harmony and balance can be result of the manipulation and channeling of nonphysical forces or some kind of energy, or that placement of physical objects in a certain order can do so, or even affect anything. According to Christians, such techniques belong to the world of sorcery.
Others are simply skeptical – “evidence”that feng shui actually works comes mostly out of anecdotes and, very often, different practitioners of feng shui offer different, sometimes completely opposite, advice for the same question/thing. Feng shui practitioners say that these differences are due to variations in practice or different branches of thought. Critics, on the other hand, describe feng shui as something that has always been based one mere guesswork.(Edwin Joshua Dukes, The Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, T & T Clark, Edinburgh, 1971, p 834)
After Richard Nixon visited People’s Republic of China in 1972, feng shui became marketable in the United States. Since then, it has been “reinvented” and “redone” by New Age entrepreneurs for Western needs, understanding and, of course, consumption. Critics of contemporary feng shui are concerned that with the passage of time much of the theory behind it has been lost in translation, not paid proper consideration, frowned upon, or even scorned (as it actually has happened in some cases with some other Chinese arts and crafts, for example Taijiquan).
Others say that if feng shui is not applied properly, it can even harm the environment, quoting the example of people planting “lucky bamboo” in ecosystems that could not handle them. (it often happened that people did a little bit of research on Chinese acupuncture and then presented themselves as certified doctors of Chinese medicine, treating people, taking the money from them, achieving no results or, in worse cases, worsening patient’s condition; nothing on feng shui, but the principle here is the same)
Feng shui practitioners in China find superstitious and corrupt officials easy prey. In 2009, on the advice of feng shui practitioners,county officials in Gansu spent $732,000 to haul a 369-ton spirit rock to the county seat to ward off bad luck.
Feng shui contemporary practice
Many of the higher-level forms of feng shui are not easily practiced without having connections within the community or a certain amount of wealth.Hiring an expert, altering architecture or design, moving from place to place…all of these require a significant amount of money. This has led some people of the lower classes to lose faith in feng shui and say that it is only for the rich. Others practice less expensive forms of feng shui like hanging special (cheap, of course) mirrors, forks, or works in doorways believing they will deflect negative energy.
Recently,a new brand of do-it-yourself feng shui called“Symbolic feng shui” is being practised by Feng Shui enthusiasts. It involves placements of auspicious and aesthetically pleasing five element objects, likeMoney God and tortoise, at various locations of the house in order to achieve a pleasing and substitute-alternative productive-cycle environment if a good natural environment is not present or is too expensive to build.
Feng shui is so important to some believers of it that they use it for healing purposes (there is no empirical evidence that this practice is effective in any way). They also use it to guide their businesses, create a peaceful atmosphere in their homes, especially in the bedroom where techniques are used to improve comfort and make sleep more peaceful.
In Singapore many working professionals from various disciplines (including engineers, architects, interior designers and property agents) take courses on feng shui with a number of them eventually becoming part-time or full-time feng shui consultants.
Officially maybe not, but it is hard for me to believe that feng shui wasn’t taken into consideration (probably tacitly) when building even such a piece of work as “The Bird Nest” Olympic stadium for 2008 Olympics in Beijing.If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for The Lazy Way to Learn Chinese. You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram.