The Concept and Theory of Qi — Part 3

Part 3 on Qi

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Time Qi

The basic Time Qi时 气would be: hours, days, months and years (sexagenary cycle), the four main seasons and the 24 Jie Qi (24 seasons). All these are regulated and grouped into different pockets of time to denote a certain type of Qi. Time Qi correlates directly to climatic temperatures.

This Time Qi is directly caused by the Earth’s rotation on its axis and its orbit around the Sun. This effect causes the transformation of Qi in the phenomena of: hours, days and nights, months, years, four seasons and 24 Jie Qi.

Time Qi is denoted by the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches combinations called the 60 JiaZi years (sexagenary cycle). The combination of the elements of Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches will tell what type of Qi is prevalent in a particular hour, day, month or year.

In FengShui (and also in BaZi and Divination) this Time Qi is co-related to the planetary influences and the Sun’s effects on Earth. The Qi from Heaven interacting with the Qi on Earth will produce a certain type of Qi that in turn will interact with the prevailing Time Qi, to further produce another Qi. This latter mentioned Qi is represented by the element interaction between the Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branch of the time and also the NaYin element.

Hours, Days, Months and Years

Hourly and Daily Qi is quite easy for one to comprehend and feel the effects of Qi transformation within the day and night, because the effects are felt within a space of a few hours. Primarily, this hourly, day and night Time Qi is running directly in tandem with our body’s rhythm.

When we wake up in the morning, we can feel the fresh, crisp and cool morning air. As time approaches noon, the day’s heat gathers to peak at noon. The cool morning Qi has already changed and transformed to hot noon Qi.

As the day wears on, and the Sun sets, the heat of the day gives way to the evening cool. This is another part of the cycle of Qi transformation that of going from hot to cool. Generally, people have been experiencing these cycles in all their lives but did not take notice due to their ignorance of the effects of Qi.

Monthly Qi are also easily noticed if one is attuned to the effects of Nature. In the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, where there are four distinct seasons, it is easy to notice the changing Qi as the months wears out. For example, the onset of Spring is easily noticed when one feels the gradually increasing warmth of the Sun, and sees the sprouting of plants.

Yearly Qi is a little bit more difficult to comprehend because of its ‘macro’ nature that spreads throughout 365 days. But the example below should give the reader an indication ‘how to feel’ Yearly Qi

©Moon L. Chin 2013

The year 2008 is a Wu Zi year. The Stem Wu belongs to the Element Earth and the Branch Zi belongs to water. The Stem Wu Earth is controlling the Branch Zi water. Thus, there is a struggle going on between the Heaven Qi that is represented by Wu Earth and the Earth Qi represented by Zi Water.

Furthermore, the NaYin of Wu Zi is called ‘Lightning Fire’ which gives one a feeling of a ‘tremendously fierce striking form of energy.’ This struggle of Heavenly and Earthly Qi on top of the NaYin ‘Lightning Fire’ results in some form of turbulence and chaotic condition. It will translate into a turbulent year. That’s why there were many predictions by FengShui, BaZi and Divination Masters that pointed towards a difficult year for 2008 globally. This is exactly what I meant by the manifestation of the Qi.

There are endless possibilities to the manifestation of Qi and there are also many other ways to describe Qi. One of the major references of Qi, its nature and manifestation, is from the medical treatise HuangDi NeiJing, within which there are many references to the manifestation of Qi within the human body and also its intimate relationship with the manifestation of Heavenly and Earthly Qi.

Seasonal Qi

The four main seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter each have their own characteristic (Qi). Within these four seasons are eight Nodes 四时八节, with two nodes to each season. Each node is actually a time frame where the Qi varies from one time frame to another.

Expand that eight Nodes into the 24 Seasons called 24 JieQi in Chinese Metaphysics you would have 24 different Qi of varying degrees. The 24 Jie Qi can also be finely divided into 72 JieQi. Each of the 72 JieQi lasts only five days, which makes a total of 360 days. (There is a discrepancy of 5.25 days in relation to one Earth year. This is discussed in the chapter on The Chinese Calendar System).

The characteristic of the Four Seasonal Qi is similar to the directional Qi as mentioned previously, because the Four Directional Qi also corresponds to the Four Seasonal Qi. Take for example East, it is equated to Spring; South is equated to Summer; West is equated to Autumn and North is equated to Winter. Therefore the characteristics (Qi) of both four Directional and Four Seasonal Qi are similar.

However, the similarity is only macro in proportion. When it comes to the finer divisions of the 24 JieQi, the Qi characteristics will only display varying degrees of the main characteristic. As an example: the three months of Spring has six JieQi starting from Li Chun, to Yu Shui, Jing She, Chun Fen, Qing Ming and ends in GuYu.

Each of these JieQi would display a different characteristic (Qi) from the previous one. Although the macro portion of Spring Qi is ‘warm and affectionate’ and is similar to the Wood Qi, the micro portion of this Qi would have varying degrees of this ‘warm and affectionate’ nature and also varying degrees of the Wood characteristics of ‘straight and crooked and branching out.’

©Moon L. Chin 2013

Li Chun is just after winter. Therefore it is still very cold. But compared to the winter frost, it is warm. If compared to the coming summer heat, it is still cold. But when it comes to Gu Yu, which is just before Li Xia (Beginning of Summer), the temperature has already gone up to that of close proximity to summer temperatures. It is hot and not ‘warm’ any more.

Therefore, one should get to know JieQi as Time Qi or Seasonal Qi. It is an important element in FengShui (and also in Bazi, date selection, etc.).

(Please see the chapter on The Chinese Calendar System, for more information on the 24 Season JieQi.)

Qi and its Relationship with Earth and Water

Guo Pu (274 AD) had already established the relationship between Qi with Earth and Water when he wrote the ZangShu during the Western Jin Dynasty era circa 270 AD.

He started off the ZangShu by saying:
“To bury is to store and to ride on ShengQi (Lively Qi). The Yin Yang Qi, emits to become wind, rises to become clouds, descends as rain, and seeps underground, is like ShengQi (Lively Qi).”

He also said: “气行于地中。其行也,因地之势。其聚也,因势之止。古人聚之使不散,行之使有止,故谓之风水.”
“Qi moves underground. This movement is because of the terrain. Its accumulation is because terrain ceases. The accumulation without dispersion, and its movement stops is what the ancient sages call FengShui.”

Then he said: “土者,气之母,有土斯有气。气者,水之母,有气斯有水.”
“Earth is the mother of Qi. Qi is the mother of water. Whenever there is Qi, there is water.”

The relationship of Qi with water is like the relationship between oxygen and hydrogen in water. One cannot be without the other. Without oxygen and hydrogen combining, water cannot form. The relationship of Qi with Earth is like rainwater seeping from the surface of the earth inwards. In the hills and mountains, they exit to become springs, streams, rivers and waterfalls.

Therefore, what Guo Pu said is true: Qi, in the form of oxygen and hydrogen combines to become water, and thus is the mother of water. Earth acts as the container of water (which is in fact the manifestation of Qi), is like a mother embracing, protecting and accommodating the child. Water contained within earth can give life to vegetation, and thus is also equated to ShengQi.

What Guo Pu meant when he said that Qi moves underground is that water moves underground. It is common knowledge in geography that water seeps underground to form underground streams, and exits as springs, streams and waterfalls. If one digs a hole deep enough, water will seep from its walls into it. This proves that water moves underground.

©Moon L. Chin 2013

His other sentence that Qi moves underground because of terrain also meant that the movement of water underground follows the gradient of the terrain. It’s a natural phenomenon that water follows the gravity of the earth and flows downwards and outwards, sometimes seeping or gushing out of apertures at the side of a hill or mountain as a spring or waterfall.

The most apparent manifestation of Qi in the form of water flowing according to the gravitational pull of the earth is the rivers in valleys. In XingFa (study of Landforms), rivers are termed Water Dragons.

The other point about the accumulation of Qi, without dispersion, in accordance with the ceasing of the terrain is all about the movement of the so-called Mountain Dragon in FengShui terminology, which means hills and mountains or highlands.

Highlands are open land and when rain falls, it takes in all the water. The water will slowly seep into the earth and will work its way downwards according to gravitational pull and find its way towards an opening. Once it reaches an opening, it gushes out and flows along crevices on the ground as rivers.

The hills and mountains are one big pressurized container of water and, naturally, as water seeping through the earth via gravitational pull it will tend to converge at crevices or openings at the side of a hill or mountain, and gushes out either as a spring or waterfall. There are certain types of waterfalls that just gush out of an opening by the side of a hill or mountain. Mountain streams are also formed this way.

As the mountain range’s terrain moves and winds its way there are naturally vales and valleys connecting different hills. These are the low points where streams and rivers are formed. These are the places, the foothills, where the terrain stops. It is here that Qi stops and flows out as water in streams and rivers, and they are but the real carrier of Yin Yang Qi.

There is no doubt about Qi’s relationship with earth and water. In FengShui, all three are indispensable to each other. That’s why landform is such an important factor in the auspiciousness of a FengShui site.

©Moon L. Chin 2013

The Concept and Theory of Qi — Part 2

Part 2 on Qi

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The Different Types of Qi Described in FengShui.

The different types of Qi as described in FengShui are all subjectively postulated. No one can objectively pinpoint or categorize any type of Qi without a reference point. This is called discriminatory reference. It is a subjective reference. The reference point is the discriminatory concept of good and bad, black and white, and night and day. It is the natural progression from the Limitless WuJi that transforms into the TaiJi of Yin and Yang. The TaiJi is the Mother of Dualistic perception. In FengShui there are Yin Yang Qi, Heaven and Earth Qi, Sheng and Shi Qi, Wang and Tui Qi, etc.

Yin Qi and Yang Qi

The most fundamental of divisions is the Yin and Yang of all phenomena. It is the positive versus the negative. Yang is positive and Yin is negative. Yang is white and Yin is black. Yang is hot and Yin is cold. Yang is movement and Yin is stillness. The comparison can go on forever.

However, in the matter of Qi, this basic division into Yin and Yang gives it a reference point to further develop into different sub-categories within these two.

Yang Qi being positive is supposed to be benevolent Qi and Yin Qi being negative is supposedly malevolent Qi. This perspective of Yin Yang Qi is NOT ABSOLUTE.

Yin Qi is supposedly negative, but when there is a positive transformation interaction with Yang Qi it can be turned into Benevolent Qi. Likewise, if Yang Qi has a negative transformation interaction with excessive Yin Qi, it could possible lose its benevolent quality and turn malevolent.

Yin or Yang Qi, if standing alone, without any interaction with each other, could possibly stay neutral, neither benevolent nor malevolent. It just stays as Yin or Yang Qi.

Then there is a third party involvement – Human Qi. This shall be discussed in the next section.

Tian Di Ren (Heaven, Earth and Man) Trinity

In FengShui, great emphasis is placed on the complimentary nature of ‘marriage of Yin Yang Qi or Tian Di Qi (Heaven and Earth Qi) to produce Sheng Qi.’ The resultant Sheng Qi (Lively Qi) would then be beneficial, in the case of a house, to those living in it.

Yin represents Female and Yin Qi would be Earth or Di Qi. Yang represents Male, and Yang Qi would be Heavenly Qi or Tian Qi. Or this can be described alternatively as Internal Qi (Di Qi) marrying External Qi (Tian Qi) to produce Sheng Qi. All these had to be done right using the special formulas as passed down by the Ancient Masters of FengShui.

©Moon L. Chin 2013

Here is Guo Pu’s 郭璞 (274 AD) postulation on Sheng Qi as recorded in the ZangShu:
葬者, 藏也 , 乘生气也 . 夫阳阳之气 , 噫而为风 , 升而为云 , 降而为雨 , 行乎地中 , 谓之生气 . 生气行乎地中 , 发而生乎万物.

To bury is to store, it is to multiply Sheng Qi; Yin Yang Qi emits to become wind, rises to become clouds, descends as rain, moves underground, it is as Sheng Qi. Sheng Qi moves underground, it gives life to myriad things.

Tian Qi天气is Heavenly Qi and is Yang in nature. Di Qi地气is Earthly Qi and is Yin in nature. Ren Qi 人气is Human Qi and is supposed to be Neutral because within a human body, there is both Yin and Yang Qi in balanced proportions.

Tian Qi 天气is external Qi and corresponds to the planetary influences, and especially the Sun’s influence on Earth that causes changes in seasonal temperatures and also causes transformations in vegetation, animal and human lives. The Sun’s light, causing the evaporation of water from the seas, rivers and lakes, is also a latent force to be reckoned with in the study of FengShui.

Tian Qi is also Time and Space. Time is as in seasons, in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years. Time, can also be sub-divided into Yin and Yang time. Daytime is Yang and night is Yin. The season of Summer is Yang and Winter is Yin.

Di Qi 地气 is internal Qi that is latent within Earth. Di Qi is as in Landforms – rivers, oceans, flatland, hills and mountains. Earth Qi does contain both Yin and Yang Qi. It can also be sub-divided.

And on Di Qi, GuoPu said:
“土者, 气之母, 有土斯有气. 气者, 水之母, 有气斯有水.”
“经曰:土行气行, 物因以生.”

“Earth is Qi’s Mother, where there is Earth, there is Qi. Qi is Water’s Mother, where there is Qi, there is Water.”
“The sutra said: Earth moves, Qi moves. Myriad things grow because of this.”

His postulation on Earth as the container of Qi confirms the latent nature of Di Qi 地气.

Ren Qi 人气is Human Qi. Human beings are affected by all the forces of nature. This shows the fragile nature human beings and their dependence on the forces of nature for their well-being.

In Chinese Metaphysics, the study of FengShui is the study of the forces of Nature. The Ancients had developed theories and formulas for us to manipulate these forces for the benefit of Man.

The point that I’d like to emphasize here is: When the Qi from the Heaven descends and interacts with Earth Qi and gives rise to myriad things, the resultant Qi also interacts with human beings to complete the trinity of Tian Di Ren (Heaven, Earth & Man).

Thus, the FengShui concept of Tian Di Ren trinity is none other than to harness the Qi of the Heaven and the Earth to benefit Man in a complete cycle of interaction.

©Moon L. Chin 2013

Sheng Wang Shuai Si

Generally, all FengShui methods agree on the four basic definitions of Qi conditions: Sheng 生, Wang 旺, Shuai 衰 and Si 死. The concept of Sheng Wang Shuai Si Qi is an important component of all FengShui schools. It is a crucial factor in determining the auspiciousness of the site/house and the different sectors within it.

Sheng Qi生气is ‘Lively Qi’ that benefits mankind. It is Qi that can multiply or transform into more ‘Lively Qi.’ It is the Qi that gives life to all phenomena in the universe. It is the Qi that gives life to all plants and vegetation. It is the Qi that gives health and wellbeing to mankind. It is the Qi that is the most sought after in all the FengShui practices. It is Yang in nature.

Wang Qi 旺气 (prosperous Qi) is sometimes called Ji Qi 吉气 (auspicious Qi) and Shuai Qi 衰气 (declined Qi) is sometimes called Xiong Qi 凶气 (inauspicious Qi). Wang Qi 旺气is the prosperous Qi that is benevolent and is Yang in nature.

Shuai Qi 衰气is Qi that has retreated and is Yin in nature. This is in line with the general principle of ‘forward is Yang and reverse is Yin.’

Si Qi死气means ‘Dead Qi.’ It is also sometimes called Sha Qi. Si Qi is malevolent Qi. It is Yin in Nature.

Elemental Qi

‘The 5 Elements’ is matter that is coagulated from the Primordial Qi. Each element possesses its own characteristic called Qi.

According to ShangShu Hong Fan (尚书•洪范):
“水曰润下 ; 火曰炎上 ; 木曰曲直 ; 金曰从革 ; 土爰稼穑 . ”
“Water lubricates downwards; Fire blazes up; Wood straight and crooked; Metal transforms and Earth sowing and harvesting.”

Therefore the characteristics of these elemental Qi are as follows:

• Water Qi: whatever has a downward flowing motion like fluid
• Fire Qi: whatever has a scorching, blazing or sweltering effect like heat, upward rising motion
• Wood Qi: whatever grows upwards straight or crooked, or whatever grows apart like branches, branching out
• Metal Qi: whatever can experience transformation (much like the weather transforming from Summer to Autumn, where there is a visible transformation of the weather from hot to cold and, trees’ and plants’ leaves falling)
• Earth Qi: whatever sustains growth and gives life; whatever has a vast expanse.

©Moon L. Chin 2013

Directional Qi

In FengShui, all the Cardinal and Ordinal directions have Qi and each direction is allocated an element. This element represents the Qi of that direction.

The following is an elaboration of the elemental qualities of the Cardinal directions.

a) The Northern Qi is ‘Pure and Clear,’ and it has a wet and damp nature. Its movement is downwards, as water flows from higher ground to lower ground. It is transformed from the quality of Water. (北方之气清,其性质也润而下,故由湿以成水之气化之.)

b) South’s Qi is ‘Dry and Scorched,’ its nature is “Flaming upwards and Hot,’ and it is transformed from the quality of Fire. (南方之气燥,其性质也炎而上,故由热以成火之气化之.)

c) East’s Qi is ‘Warm and affectionate,’ its nature is ‘Perishable and Empty,’ and it is transformed from the quality of Wood. (东方之气缓,其性质也散而虚,故由温以成木之气 化之.)

d) West’s Qi is ‘Cold and Chilly,’ its nature is ‘Firm, Hard and Sharp,’ and it is transformed from the quality of Metal. (西方之气萧,其性质也坚而锐,故由寒以成金之气化之.)

e) The Center’s Qi is ‘Affable and Amiable,’ its nature is ‘True, Upright, Secure and Solid,’ and it is neither Pure nor Impure; it is either Dry and Warm or Wet and Cold, and it is transformed from the Neutralized Qi of the Center. (中央之气和,其性质也正而固,不清不燥不缓不萧,而又亦湿亦热亦温亦寒,是谓之中和之气化之.)

©Moon L. Chin 2013