Feng Shui Schools
The Many Approaches To Feng Shui
Feng Shui has been evolving for over 4000 years, and that process continues today, both within China as well as in other areas of the world such as Europe and the U.S. Here in the States, Feng Shui is becoming extremely popular.
During its vast and colored history, Feng Shui has had many Masters who have developed numerous and differing approaches to teaching and using the art and this is all loosely referred to as "Feng Shui Schools". Today, the world of Feng Shui as we know it in the West falls into two main categories, the Compass School and the BTB School, (Black Hat Tantric Buddhism).
The Compass School
The most established branch of Feng Shui in Asia is commonly referred to as the Compass School. Its popularity has increased in the West in the last 10 years with the publication of many excellent books written in English by master Chinese practitioners familiar with this tradition. Compass School practitioners generally incorporate aspects of the Land Form or Landscape School too, so we will include both under this one heading.
Central to the Compass School is not surprisingly the use of a compass! The various techniques used by Compass School practitioners rely heavily on first determining the direction a building faces and how the rooms within it line up on the compass. Then, within each room, a similar directional analysis is performed. Everything proceeds from here in doing the calculations to decide what activations or remedies will be recommended to increase or harmonize the flow of energy in the space (Space Feng Shui). The time analyses done in the practice of Time Feng Shui also orient around compass directions.
Learning to take precise compass readings is critical to the application of many Feng Shui techniques that are practiced in this branch of Feng Shui. This has been a challenge for new students, particularly in the West. The invention of new, more precise compasses and the Fortune Compass specifically, offer an easier approach to taking compass readings.
Your Gua Number
One of the most accessible aspects of Compass School Feng Shui is the concept of personal best directions based on a Gua or energy number. Every person has four best directions and four that are less favorable, determined by his or her date of birth. Learning your Gua number and incorporating the knowledge of your best directions into the placement of your bed or desk is a great place to start in practicing Feng Shui. You can experience profound effects from just these simple adjustments to your environment.
Land Forms Are Also Important
The Land Form or Landscape School focuses on major geographic features, like mountains, hills, rivers and lakes, in assessing the energy of a place and its auspiciousness for its inhabitants. In modern times, it also considers how high-rise buildings and other manmade structures play similar roles in defining a place and its effect on the people who live there.
The BTB or Black Sect Tibetan Buddhist School
The BTB or "Black Sect Tibetan (or Tantric) Buddhist" School is a more recent development and is practiced mainly in the United States. This approach was the inspiration of Professor Thomas Lin Yun, who incorporated the teachings he learned within the Tibetan mystical traditions with the practice of Feng Shui from China. He introduced these teachings to the West in the 1970s.
The BTB approach relies more on spiritual training and intuition in determining the energy of a place and what it needs to be done to bring an environment into harmony. Rather than using a compass, BTB applies the traditional Ba Gua (or Pa Kua) diagram of Feng Shui by aligning all buildings and rooms as if their doors faced magnetic North. While this may seem incongruent with the Compass School teachings, many other aspects of the BTB approach are similar. In the end, results depend a lot on the intention of the practitioner and the care with which the principles are applied. It is up to you to decide which approach works best for you but your intelligence and personal responsibility are not to be ignored.
Whatever approach you take when learning Feng Shui, learn it well and stay open to the skills and wisdom of others. As world-renowned Feng Shui writer and teacher Lillian Too likes to say, "Feng Shui is a living skill, like cooking or gardening." Have fun with it and, along the way, you'll discover which approach suits you the best.