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A Feng Shui Workshop – Visiting the Yin Yu Tang at PEM

On February 22, we held a successful Feng Shui workshop in the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. It was a unique experience for everyone because we learned the principles of Feng Shui through an authentic Feng Shui influenced house, the Yin Yu Tang Chinese House.

As we stood in the courtyard of the Yin Yu Tang House, I discussed some basic Feng Shui principles and demonstrated how they were reflected in this 200-year-old house. The following are some Feng Shui principles we learned from the house:

1. The locations of the Heaven Gate and Earth Gate (Feng Shui terms)
2. The ways to enclose Qi, the vital life energy, in the house
3. What is the mysterious Feng Shui device that was used to determine the height of the house
4. The true purpose of the wooden screen inside the doorway (which is completely different from what is written in the PEM’s website)

The core idea of Feng Shui is to achieve a balance among the cosmos, human beings and the earth in both spirit and matter. In terms of Classical Chinese philosophy, the goal is to pursue “the cosmos and human beings united as one”. The medium that helps us to achieve this balance is Qi – a vital life energy. It is really hard to understand this concept by just reading a Feng Shui book. Actually Western-style Feng Shui books never tell you the amount of scholarly work that have gone into the development of Feng Shui principles. But it is easy to understand such abstract concepts when we observe the Yin Yu Tang’s architectural layout that embodies these relationships. That is why I always tell my students and clients that the best way to learn Feng Shui is to visit an ancient Chinese house, because Feng Shui plays a critical role in Chinese architectural history. The Yin Yu Tang is an excellent example of Feng Shui in architecture.

After visiting the house, we all sat around a table and discussed Chinese Feng Shui. I introduced some common Feng Shui principles and taught them how these principles can be applied in their daily lives. I also told the students that as a cultural phenomenon, Feng Shui has been influencing Chinese people’s thought and lifestyle for thousands of years. For example, Feng Shui and traditional Chinese medicine are closely related. Traditional Chinese medicine focuses on the Qi’s circulation inside the body, and Feng Shui focuses on the balance between the body’s Qi and the living environment’s Qi. They both emphasize adjusting a human’s Qi and the environment’s Qi according to the seasons to improve a person’s physical and spiritual health.

If you are interested in this three-hour Feng Shui workshop, please contact with me.

Lidong Yu


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