A Brief Origin Of Burial or Tomb Feng Shui

A Brief Origin Of Burial or Tomb Feng Shui

Geomancy aka Feng Shui rests on a variant of intellectual foundations and most of Chinese oriented traditions have been difficult for the laypersons to truly appreciate or taken seriously as such deep knowledge was only accessible to the elite class or restricted to the imperial court in ancient times.

Oral transmission was a crucial means in these transfers of guarded knowledge till it was documented in the Book of Burial (葬書 Zang Shu), later translated into English, for further dissemination to gain wider reach especially to English speaking audience which includes the increasing English educated Chinese population. The Book of Burial plays a major contribution to our understanding of Chinese Culture and the concept of filial piety is implicit in its wider implications amongst the Chinese mindset.

Yin Feng Shui Visit - Lion Design Tomb

The Book of Burial is one of the oldest and most widely cited classic manuals for Geomancy aka Feng Shui, the key to any understanding of the practice of Feng Shui during the last several centuries and its interconnections to the foundations of cosmological ideas and the school of thought variously termed as Neo-Confucianism or the Learning of the Way (道學 Dao Xue).

The profound principles laid premises for the interconnections between human and its natural environment and the formulaic processes involved in understanding the operations of Yin and Yang and the workings of Li 理 ( principle & pattern) and Qi 氣 (natural vital force). As the word Feng Shui (風水 - Wind Water) enters into the everyday lives of the common people, this Chinese cosmological concept experienced a transformation. The common folks relate their simple understanding of Feng Shui to home improvement, landscaping works, even in business success. It is also practiced in many daily rituals such as births, wedding, particularly burial or tomb feng shui, also known as Yin House Feng Shui.

Besides being read extensively by professional Feng Shui practitioners, the educated elite or confucian scholars often dabbled in Feng Shui and were familiar with its basic theory and its associated terms & implications on one's family prosperous living well-being and also their important duties to carry out the parents' funeral and burial properly and let them continue to rest peacefully beyond earthly lives. The great importance given to the treatment of the dead in Chinese culture gives impetus to the widespread use of Feng Shui.

Interesting observations from outsiders into the Chinese Culture, particularly in this age of globalization, are seeking answers to : What has enabled the Chinese to survive and prosper for so long? What has been the role of Feng Shui in Chinese Culture in different locations of the world and how it has evolved over time?. Such observations are likely to raise more questions with no simple answers in sight. The secrets of such insights can be summarized in the Chinese practice or the belief in burying the deceased at a site with auspicious Feng Shui in order to harness the good fortune for the descendants. A deceased buried at an inauspicious site will encounter misfortune for at least next three generations of descendants. Those seeking appropriate professional guidance or knowledgeable about the auspicious orientation, buried in the auspiciously influenced environment and conducted at the auspicious time, the prosperity will befall upon the family members for a long time.


The following are some Frequently Asked Questions About Burial or Tomb Feng Shui ( FAQs)

1)  What are the three good tips on Good Burial / Tomb Feng Shui?

Ans: The selection of tomb site is very important in that the auspiciousness can be harnessed for the descendants. The three good tips are:

a) The terrain of the Dragon Vein is in ideal formation.

b) The landscape of the site is of ideal quality.

c) No trees are allowed within the perimeter of the grave site and the soil quality is of excellent grade.

2)  How to carry out auspicious burial?

Ans: An auspicious date and time, including observing local customs and rituals, must be chosen and ensure that the selected date must not be in afflictions with the annual negative influences or natural inhibitions.

3)  What is the meaning of "Hou Tu 后土" and its role?

Ans: People variously regard the "Hou Tu" as the "Deity of the Earth" but according to ancient records, "Hou Tu" has many interpretations. Some said, it is only the name of the Deity, while some said, it is a high ranking officer and yet others said it is an ordinary title with a natural twist to it as "Deity of Nature". Other findings in ancient records also reveal that all emperors in ancient China were required to offer ritualistic prayers to "Hou Tu" as its status is as supreme as Mother Nature, thus grand ceremonies were observed as a respect and appreciation to "Hou Tu" for guarding the tomb all day and night.

4) How should one conduct themselves at the Qing Ming Day aka Tomb sweeping (All Souls Day)?

Ans: The traditional concept is to observe the order of seniority in tomb sweeping and the same applies during fresh burial. The parents must be the first to offer the joss-sticks followed by the children in the order of their seniority status. This applies to all present. Children are not allowed to play or run about in the grave site. The adults should abstain from using inappropriate language and conduct themselves properly in order not to offend the departed loved ones. Pregnant women are advised not to attend.

5) What types of dressing are appropriate when visiting the grave site during Qing Ming festival ( tomb sweeping ) and can I repair the tomb myself if it is damaged?

Ans: Many people are of the view that when visiting the grave site during tomb sweeping, the dressing must be decent and wearing bright colours associated with "Yang energy" can eliminate the possible interference from "Yin energy". While some viewed it as a solemn matter and thus recommended that a toned-down dressing would be appropriate as a show of respect for the departed loved ones. The common ground views are that brightly-coloured dressing could invite undesirable yin "tao hua" and black colour is associated with death. As a rule of thumb, just stay away from these two extreme colour theme and putting on light coloured clothing without fancy details would be a safe bet.

As for the repairing of tomb, it is important not to conduct repairs on your own discretion. As compared to living dwellings, the tomb has a much greater impact on the living descendants. As the departed ancestors have bloodline relationship with the descendants, it is paramount that if one's ancestors cannot rest peacefully, the effects on descendants can prove everlasting challenges due to the corresponding interconnected influence between the dead and the living.

6)  What is the difference between a Burial Feng Shui and Columbarium-Style Feng Shui?

Ans: Due to land scare constraint in certain countries like Singapore, the next appropriate choice is the Columbarium-style Feng Shui. A simple analogy would be like staying in landed property or one could choose to stay in modern "high-rise" condominium-style luxury living. It is a matter of personal choice. Due to stringent land policy, any burial site will be subjected to certain ever-reducing expiry date in some future years where the exhumation process will have to be carried out by the living descendants at some future date and to ensure continuing prosperity for the descendants, the next logical step will be to adopt the Niche concept or Columbarium-stlye Feng Shui arrangement.

7)  What does "Digging The Gold" mean which I have often heard about relating to Burial or Tomb Feng Shui?

Ans: The phrase "Digging The Gold" is a colloquial term which refers to the person in the trade carrying out the process of picking up the skeletons and placing them into an urn. The collected bones will be cleaned, carefully arranged and upon choosing an auspicious date and time, the urn will be positioned in either in another newly chosen grave site or in the Columbarium-style entity where auspicious Feng Shui practice can be incorporated. The latter approach will serve a lot of convenience to the modern descendants where they can balance against continuing to observe the Chinese oriented mindset of filial piety to their ancestors and also alleviate the external elements when visiting the grave site to pay their heart-felt respect in loving memory of their departed loved ones.

8) I have seen cracks on the Tomb Stone and "Hou Tu" Stone. Do they have any significance at all?

Ans: From my research findings, such cracks could lead to tell-tale signs that there are disharmony in the descendants' family including scenarios like separation, constant bickering, divorce or one will lead astray life. Also, depending on which side the cracks appeared can lead to siblings becoming on hostile terms and sustain serious acrimonious relationship with either one or both parents.

So ultimately, what is/are the purposes and/or benefits of Burial or Tomb Feng Shui then. Well, I shall not let out the secrets as they said metaphorically " Heaven's Secrets Cannot be Revealed". I shall respect those professionals in the trade even though many modern day claimed Grand Masters are ignorant about its potency, let alone have the know-how and/or understand its intricacies.


May the Auspicious Qi Be With You Always!

Garrett Lee

Founder, Ancient Feng Shui

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