By Ole Bruun

Feng Shui has been recognized within the West for the final a hundred and fifty years yet has commonly been considered as a primitive superstition. through the sleek interval successive regimes in China have suppressed its perform. even though, within the previous few a long time Feng Shui has turn into a world religious stream with specialist institutions, millions of titles released at the topic, numerous web content dedicated to it and hundreds of thousands of clients. during this publication Ole Bruun explains Feng Shui's chinese language origins and meanings in addition to its newer Western interpretations and worldwide attraction. in contrast to the abundance of renowned manuals, his creation treats chinese language Feng Shui as an instructional topic, bridging faith, background and sociology. person chapters clarify: • the chinese language religious-philosophical historical past • chinese language makes use of in rural and concrete parts • the heritage of Feng Shui's reinterpretation within the West • environmental views and different concerns

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Yates (1868), one of the first attempts at an exhaustive account in English. Yates gave a sympathetic account of feng shui, with several examples of its extraordinary power of explanation among the Chinese, ending with a proclamation of the malicious influence of western constructions in the eyes of the Chinese, for which he saw the gospel as the only antidote. Then came a series of articles by Joseph Edkins in 1872, also in the Chinese Recorder and Missionary Journal, and in 1873, Ernest Johann Eitel (a German missionary and linguist serving in Guangzhou and later having several posts in Hong Kong) wrote his monograph on feng shui, the first of its kind in a western language, as well as the first western publication not entirely dismissing feng shui as plain superstition.

In a manual for local magistrates from the seventeenth century, the scholar Huang Liuhong clearly draws the line. He complains that ‘there is no lack of charlatans who take advantage of human psychology and hoodwink people by saying they can bring riches, power, long life and blessings to believers by some magic formula’ (Huang L. 1984: 552). ’ A locality with a large population is endowed with a huge amount of the spirit. Digging indiscriminately without considering the contours of the land can break the dragon vein, which is inauspicious for the inhabitants.

3 Title page from a Chinese work on geography/feng shui, in ten vols. (1627). Collection of the Royal Library, Copenhagen. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716) was much devoted to the study of Chinese philosophy, especially during the latter part of his life. He wrote introductions to the works of Jesuits, countless correspondences and a small book, Discourse on the Natural Theology of the Chinese. Apart from discussing issues of theology and morality, this work also salutes the Yi jing for its ancient discovery of binary arithmetic as given in its use of full and broken lines in the trigrams (Leibniz 1977).

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