When l first stepped into the world of Feng Shui when I started to learn from my first Master, I was told by many that there are lineages in some schools while some say it is not necessary to learning this art. Until today after many years, I still hear this strongly debated subject in forums.
So I have chosen to write about it and the reality today.
A little back ground information of what is being meant by having a Lineage. Lineage means you have an ancestry in certain knowledge. In feng shui, means you have masters or grand masters who transfer knowledge down from generations to generations.
Traditionally, Chinese only hand over knowledge to sons or indoor disciples and they in turn pass it down to their own children or in door disciples. Masters of those days believe that only the privilege or those with affinity can acquire this art. The reason is because the art can harm, turn the fortune or to distinguish one from the others.
But then what is an Indoor disciple? An Indoor disciple is a student who had undergone tea ceremony to admit and to formally express their willingness to follow rules of the lineage. Ancient Chinese people has this bondage with the master whom they treat like their father. In return, the master teaches the disciple the knowledge so they can be proficient in the art they are mastering. This is not exclusive to Feng Shui, it applies to being a cook to studying medicine or martial arts.
In parts of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, this is being practiced. Here is a photo courtesy of Master Issac Chung during the tea ceremony with his Master Lui Hart Ming.
Here is Master Leyau with his Master, Master Sui Ming who handed this to him acknowledging him as his disciple:
To most Chinese, lineage is a privilege and honour to be part of one and this is very common practice in this part of the world. However, this is something Westeners do not practice or culturally absent in the west, so to speak.
After Marco Polo trip, western influence begin to set their foot into China. Over the many hundred years, their influence has also shaped China and the world at large.
This is very evident, look at the education system, the influence on attire and language. Education today in universities are indeed very structured unlike the old days of China where teachers or masters through that special bonding transfer their experience as well as knowledge to their disciples or students in a much unstructured way. No timeline, no spelled out syllabus, no qualification pre-requisites and no objective answers to select.
What are my views regarding both, the lineage believers and the non-believers ? Well…
Before I write further, I have to say that there are fake lineages. People who fake or buy lineages. Just like fake passports, they exists. I only speak for real lineages.
Ancient Chinese masters have to protect their knowledge. Just like we have passwords or encryption to do this today, the ancient masters too have to devise a way to keep the secret.
The reason they have to keep the secret is mainly for two reasons. First, to protect their life and secondly a moral reason that such knowledge is to be passed on only to deserving student whom after long time understanding his character so the master is comfortable of his moral values that he decides to pass on the knowledge to the disciple.
One of the best way is to keep the knowledge into two parts. Written to ensure the points are covered and orally to unfold the meaning behind. If you kill the master, you will never get the full picture and hence to keep them alive is in the interest of anyone who wants the secret will do.
When the master feels it is time to pass on the knowledge, he will pass on 3 things. The book, the oral knowledge and the experience. Experience he accumulated through out his life and the ones from his master.
Experience is important. The reason why in Malaysia and I believe is the same in other parts of the world, patient prefers private hospital over government run ones for various reasons but one of the prominent is because in government run hospitals you have what we call as Houseman, i.e. fresh men from universities who follows a doctor to gain experience versus private hospital where the doctors are already have the minimum experience. House man has a mandatory 3 years service in hospitals before they be called a Medical Officer. So instead of having a pair of hand to care for you, you will see many hands “caring” for you.
The only one that I can think of in the Western culture that resembles a lineage is Grandma’s secret recipe.
The Non Believers
The majority of the non believers are either residing in the West or have heavy western influence in their education or upbringing being it was never in the culture or heavily influenced by the upbringing and education system.
The three course providers who participated in the forum discussion resides 1 in Germany, 2 in Canada.
They have one thing in common and that is they have no lineage. So there you go why they expound the reasoning that lineage is not important. What they are saying is essentially, “If I can read from books and learn Feng Shui, So can you!”
Furthermore, Feng Shui is not a science though many tries to make it appealing to western educated people by trying to turn it into science. If you look at the Chinese educated market of metaphysics, this is totally the opposite. Good marketeers always understand their target market well. Oh when did I start to talk in marketing terms…
Non believers also tend to “create” new subjects. They have the tendencies to mix and match system.
Do they work? I would say yes too sometimes for this is metaphysics anyway.
By the way, they will not tell you whom their masters are.
My point is, no matter if the master has a lineage or claims that lineage is not necessary, is not the focus of my message but rather he has only one motive in forums and that is to promote their interest. In other words doing marketing as well.
Some have the intention of gaining fame, some to carry on the lineage, some to educate public & while some to get more students for the courses they offer, some to be number one or a mix of each.
So there is no absolute right or wrong answer with regards to your preferred choice. It has some part to do with affinity, karma, culture, educational belief and such sort that one person aligns himself to a particular stream.
At the end, it is the consistency of the good results that counts and this everyone knows deep inside their conscience after some time practicing. My take is that real lineage knowledge will have a better chance of succeeding, since they are proven by a few generations of master & hence my choice since day 1 when it comes to Feng Shui.
I am not saying there can be no miracle or talented individual that brings a breakthrough in this field without a lineage but I have yet to meet one. Ultimately, you have to decide if Lineage is your cup of tea.
Every school or methods will get some corrects but which one will get most rights or all rights, will depend on your affinity to acquire the right knowledge, understand it well and to practice. Happy Course Hunting.