BaZi and Feng Shui – Distant Cousins?
** This article was written by Joey Yap and originally appeared on his blog in 2004
Man is always fascinated by the great mysteries of life. Often, we wonder what our purpose in this world is. How can we perform better? For centuries the Chinese have accumulated a vast amount of knowledge to study these great questions in search of answers.
By studying the interaction between Man, the environment, time and the Universe (often called Heaven), a pattern began to appear. This pattern represents the cyclical influence of the energies in the Universe imprinted on us during the time of our birth. This information is encrypted or coded in the form of Eight Characters (BaZi). Thus the study and practice of BaZi calculation is to allow us to decrypt this code and reveal our destiny.
BaZi is like the diagnostic method designed to understand the condition of the patient or the person. Feng Shui is like the prescription used to treat a problem or condition the person may be suffering from. It is common knowledge that many well known Feng Shui Masters are also BaZi Masters. (or at least, they are good in one form of a Destiny analysis technique, like Purple Star (Zi Wei) System).
First Destiny, Second Luck, Third Feng Shui
The Eight Characters or Ba Zi represents the static chart of our destiny. The eight characters are called our ‘Ming’ or Life. Our Life Path or Destiny is calculated in what we call the dynamic pillars where they represent 10-year periods of our life. These pillars are known as Luck Pillars.
Luck Pillars can be considered our Life Path. We call this the Luck factor. If we have a good natal chart (Good Life Chart), we need to be supported by the right luck in order for its true potential to be realised. Conversely, a mediocre Life Chart can be helped by a good sets of Luck Pillars.
With a good Life Chart, bad luck pillars are not too ruinous as opposed to a Bad Life Chart entering Bad Luck Pillars. The bumpy roads and smooth sailing journeys of our life all depend on the quality of our Luck Pillars. Each Pillar is made up of two Characters, a Heavenly Stem and an Earthly Branch. Their elements generally govern the 10 years of a person’s life with the influence being more pronounced in the Heaven Stem for the first 5 years and the Earthly Branch for the subsequent 5 years.
A common question often asked by students is this: Do I need to study BaZi in order to practice Feng Shui? So, it was no surprise to me when a student posed this question to me over lunch the other day.
‘The answer is simple really’, I explained to the student. ‘You can practice Feng Shui without studying BaZi but studying BaZi allows you to be truly effective in applying your knowledge of Feng Shui.’
It is said that Destiny comes first, then Luck, then only Feng Shui. Not knowing your capabilities or potentials makes it harder to know what lies ahead for you. BaZi is similar to a diagnosis provided by a doctor. Feng Shui can be likened to the prescription to manage your Destiny.
‘How will you know what prescription to use without getting a diagnosis first?’, I put forth the question to him. ‘In case you did not know, most acknowledged teachers and masters of Feng Shui are masters in BaZi as well. Why do you think that is?’
Although it is not absolutely compulsory for you to study BaZi in order to practice Feng Shui, by gaining proficiency in BaZi, you can take your skills and application of Feng Shui even further. Of course a true expert in Feng Shui is able to read most symptoms from the Feng Shui of the property alone, however, they should understand that there are limitations because Feng Shui is not a system designed specifically to analyze Destiny. It is the same with BaZi, we cannot ‘use’ BaZi to do Feng Shui as it is a system designed to analyze Destiny, not Feng Shui. But these two systems complement each other.
Just as studying Mathematics makes it simpler when studying and applying the knowledge of Physics, so too does the study of BaZi remove certain obstacles in the practice and study of Highly Advanced Feng Shui.
BaZi unlocks many doors in Feng Shui, for example, a lot of San He (Three Harmony) Formulas are similar to the formulas from the Four Pillars of Destiny. One of them is the 12 Growth Phases, this is what many people refer to as ‘secret’ water dragon methods – widely known as the water that creates wealth. But not many know that the basics and fundamentals are from the same BaZi Ming Li studies of the 12 Growth Phases of Qi. By having foreknowledge on these principles, the water formulas become much clearer and a student can immediately recognize and understand the true meaning behind the formulas. Some formulas seem ‘illogical’ or even wrong when you look at them only from the Feng Shui perspective. Because the original author of the ancient book may have written it in a way that presumed you already had ‘prior’ knowledge on other subjects such as BaZi’s 12 Growth Phases.
Furthermore, the Stems and Branches in BaZi bear a relationship to Feng Shui as they are very similar in Feng Shui studies. Even something as basic as the Five Element Cycle which is used extensively in Feng Shui applications is not fully unlocked until you study this in BaZi.
‘You may be familiar with the Five Elements but do you know which of these elements produces the fastest? How about which one produces the slowest? Does Earth produce Metal faster or does Metal produce Water faster?’, I asked the student further.
With an understanding of BaZi, you will not only know which element is the fastest producing element, but also understand when an element will produce, when it will not, how does an element get weakened, when it does not,etc.BaZi studies equips the students with firm and thorough understanding of Five Elements. Each relationship between each element is different. A clash between Yin Fire and Yang Metal is totally different than a clash between Yang Metal and Yang Wood. Even though, they are separate studies but knowing certain knowledge like this will allow you to apply your Feng Shui techniques and prescriptions even better.
Why the need to study our destiny?
- Help you plan your Feng Shui prescription for the long term.
- Help in making informed decisions
– by understanding our cycle of good and bad fortune, we are able to undertake proper planning and execute the right decisions that bring us the best possible outcome.
- Maximize our potential
– We can capitalize on good luck cycles for entrepreneurial ventures or investment decisions.
– We can reduce risk by being cautious and reducing our exposure during downward cycles
- Understanding Relationships, understanding others
– People react and respond differently to different people in different time periods. By understanding the cosmic relation between yourself and your family or partner, you can foster better communication and improve relationships
- Choosing the right career
– Knowing which type of career or industry is suitable for you could be a very important step in your life. Why not choose a career where you can perform at your peak, where you’d enjoy your work and where you can excel?
- People Around You
– BaZi allows us to understand the influence of people around you in your family or at work. Undoubtedly, we are very much influenced by our group of friends and family. Who is helpful and who is unknowingly impeding your progress?
BaZi is a not just a complementary science to Feng Shui, they both are equally important in the field of ‘Chinese Metaphysics’. They compliment each other both in terms of theoretical understanding of formulas as well as in application.