Please don’t ask an American to explain their understanding of fung shui. It isn’t a new age religion or cult – like most religions, it is based on good, old fashioned common sense. ‘Fung‘ is air; ‘shui‘ is water. At the most fundamental level, fung shui is the practical flow of air and water in relation to to human existence, in for example, a village.
For comfortable habitation, a village requires a regular flow of water (to sustain life) without flooding during storms. Similarly, a village in southern China (amongst the most humid places on earth in the summer wet season) needed air circulated just to make life bearable. At the same time, the village would require protection from typhoon strength winds (and rains) by trees and landforms (such as hills).
So most historic villages in the new territories are constructed at the break of slope between the valley floor and the steep mountains. The villages have ‘fung shui‘ woodlands in an arch behind them which provides fruit, firewood and building materials; shelters the village from the wind an run-off.
It also happens that in modern day terms, fung shui woodlands are species rich ecosystems.
Good common sense…how did it all get so warped in modern Hong Kong, where developers throw up houses in the middle of floodplains, next to dirty highways? See ‘Fung shui – modern’ to judge the respect developers and the common man have for keeping water and air (both vital to life) clean?