The accuracy and applications of Feng Shui is critical as an old saying goes…
“A lousy doctor would only kill one person. However, a lousy Feng Shui master could cause disaster to the entire descendants.”
The entire knowledge of Feng Shui can be divided into Yin and Yang Feng Shui. Yin Feng Shui refers to the study of the Feng Shui for graves and burial grounds; whereas Yang Feng Shui refers to the study of Feng Shui of residences and commercial dwellings for living persons.
In the olden days, there was no demarcation on the studies of Yin and Yang Feng Shui as the theories were interconnected and intertwined. Therefore, the complete study of Feng Shui must consist of both Yin and Yang Feng Shui, which are inseparable. We must however remember that Yang Feng Shui is not derived from Yin Feng Shui and vice versa as both systems are intertwined.
Nowadays, most Feng Shui masters only learn one part on Yang Feng Shui and not the entire knowledge of Feng Shui. In order to be a competent and qualified Feng Shui master, one must know both the theories and applications of Yin and Yang Feng Shui.
Location and date
In Yin House Feng Shui, the location of the grave and surrounding environment can have a profound effect on the fortunes and well-being of the descendents. The ancient Chinese believe that souls are connected and families share karma. If the body (or bones) are correctly laid to rest and are able to tap beneficial qi, they can transmit these positive energies to their descendent and enhance their fortunes.
There are plenty of stories on how families have suffered because of an improper feng shui burial sites and others have prospered for several generations because of good yin house feng shui.
Yin house Feng Shui is a very complicated science, maybe even more than Yang House feng shui. The natural landscape is very important. The shape of the hills in particular can effect certain outcome. Unfortunately the intepretation can be very subjective since a dragon to one master may look like a snake to another! Needless to say a lot of experience is needed.
For example, if no animals live on the mountain and there are no oily, green plants, then this is the type of land that is too barren to store good chi. Another way to find a good burial site is to discover a small space that is distinct from the basic characteristics of the land. For instance, if the land is essentially flat, then the best spot is where you find a ripple of hill formations. This is where the best energy is stored. Or if a big area is full of mountains with lots of variation in height, then finding the nice flat pad is where the energy gets stored for that particular area. This is like reading the I-Ching Trigrams; notice the line that is different from the others. (Like a blonde in China!)
On a more personal scale, the best direction for the head and feet when laid to rest can be determined by the personal astrology of the deceased. There are also calculations to figure out the best day for a memorial service, even a cremation or scattering of ashes. While Yang House feng shui is done for the benefit of the person who enlists the feng shui services, Yin House feng shui is done for the benefit of the living relatives and future generations to follow.
In addition to the surrounding, the orientation of the headstone, outgoing water and the selection of burial date is very important. Luckily the fomulas for these are quite well defined and not subject to too much variation in interpretation.
The location of water regarding a burial site is less important. Proximity to water is for the living. But virtual water can include a road or highway, since it carries so much energy with it.
Yin House Feng Shui is still quite seriously practiced by some Chinese families. They are even known to dig up a grave and re-locate the body to a auspiciousfeng shui burial site if it is deemed necessary. And some of these works are done at odd hours like 3 in the morning!
Chinese graveyards are usually located on hills. Graves on hills usually have good Feng Shui and it is believed that the locations of the graves will determine the well-being of the descendants. If the Feng Shui of the grave is not good the descendants will suffer ill luck and misfortunes. On the other hand if the Feng Shui of the grave is properly done, the descendants of the person will enjoy prosperity and success.
Upon reaching the gravesite, family members would lay everything they have brought in front of the grave. After offering some incense they would proceed to clean the gravesite area – getting rid of overgrown grass and dirt. Food and wine would then be offered (real, authentic food and quite a feast) along with candles and more incense. There is no cause to worry about ‘wasting’ good food. After the food had been offered, family members would enjoy a picnic by the gravesite or divide the food among them to be brought back home.
Every measure is taken to ensure a comfortable life for the ancestors in the spirit world. Items made from paper such as paper shirts, trousers, mobile phones, watches, televisions and so on (sometimes even houses, cars and yachts) are burnt as offerings to the dead. In ancient times, real items such as fabric clothes were burnt (television was not invented yet) until a ‘voice’ from the underworld told the people that spirits and humans are not the same – their necessities differ. For the spirits, paper made products would be sufficient. From then on Chinese have been burning paper products to their dead ancestors.
Joss paper with silver and gold imprints are shaped like ingots and burnt. The fear of having evil spirits seize the offered money and goods cause the Chinese to burn “Hell notes”, money-like paper with imprints under the authorization of the ‘Bank of Hell’. This will distract the evil spirits and the ancestors can ‘receive’ their belongings safely.
Rites and Rituals:
1. When digging starts, the family membrs who were present, MUST turn away when the first grain of dirt is unearthed. Chinese custom considers it unlucky to look when an ancestor’s grave is dug up.
2. When the diggers reach close to the depth of the coffin, they set up a plastic cover over the grave because the Chinese believe that the dead cannot look at the sky.
3. Bones MUST be picked up in the RIGTH order. The first few bones unearthed are placed in a basin and washed in rice wine. There were situations where the corpse were in `excellent condition’. In such a situation, arrangement must be made to cremate the body together with the coffin.
4. Next, a relative will carry the bones in a white bag, with an identification tag under a Chinese wooden canvas umbrella to “guide the soul of the dead” out of the grave to it’s new “home”. The bag is handed to the diggers, who will then meet the family later in the day to cremate the remains.
Do not accept any `valuables’ e.g. black buttons or items of clothing in the grave. These are very unlucky.
This is a true story: “There was one situation where I recall, the diggers were not happy with the `red packet’ or `ang pao’ extra money given on the spot to the diggers and they asked the family member to give a black button to her child who was with her. Her child, a 4 year old boy cried non-stop after holding the black button for the whole day. Later, she had to approach to priest to `bless her child’. After that, the child immediately stopped crying.”
We can’t just hike the Santa Monica Mountains to find a wonderful spot for a burial. Everyone must be buried in a cemetery and even the direction of the plot is limited. Because of health laws or Judeo-Christian religious beliefs, burials must usually be performed within a certain time frame after death. The Chinese are known however for waiting until the best time, even if weeks pass. They are even known to dig up a grave and re-locate the body if it is deemed necessary for better yin house feng shui.
5. After the bones were cremated, some families prefer to place all the ash into an urn and place it at a crematoria. While some family members may decide to bring back some ash and place them in an urn to pray at home.