The Environmental Psychology of Chinese Burials

by M-Gillies

With feng shui you can live and rest in peace in balance.

There’s a resurgence in the West with a new form of interior decoration. It’s that ancient Chinese custom of aesthetics that has long been believed to use the celestial laws of Chinese astronomy to help improve life by rearranging the chi in a person’s home. Whether you call it Tao of Heaven & Earth, Wind/Water or pseudoscience, the art of feng shui has often been a remedy as a holistic healing method by manipulating the space around you in order to create a spiritually comforting surrounding.

While feng shui is the practice of redirecting positive energy in one’s household, few, if not many are aware that the origins of feng shui doctrine stem as far back as the Jin Dynasty (265-420). First written in the Book of Burial by Guo Pu, feng shui or Yin House feng shui is the continuing practice of seeking proper burial locations to ensure the long-term effects and consequences on a lineage and its descendants, so as to offer a family a good future and years of prosperity.

For a country like China, with its expansive topography of mountains, hills, lakes and rivers, the Chinese have long judiciously studied their surroundings, applying feng shui in both Yang Houses (living homes) and Yin Houses (burial tombs) for many years. However, it was during the Ming (1368-1644) and the Qing (1644-1912) Dynasties that Yin feng shui saw an increased popularity.

With feng shui consultants commissioned to scour the lands (walk the dragon), to find suitable burial spots, imperial burial sites were located to house the deceased of the ruling Dynasties. However, in order for a location to be deemed suitable for yin feng shui, consultants must take into consideration the following three principles for an auspicious burial.

1) The location of the burial site must avoid strong winds, though it should be breezy with a consistent soft, warm flow of wind;

2) There is a strong importance that the correct position, direction or facing must be observed, this means that in order to decide how the deceased should be facing, it must be established whether the person is a West or East group. To determine the orientation of the body, consultants will use the date of birth as a means of deciding the compatible facing in order to ensure unity and harmony in the flow of chi;

3) While climatology is an important factor in choosing a burial location, it is also important to ensure the location is in favorable configuration of the four celestial animals of feng shui (the green dragon; the white tiger; the red phoenix; and the black turtle). Furthermore, the burial site must not face a straight road or a temple.

When it comes to land selection, feng shui practitioners often encourage conducting these preparations well in advance of old age or illness, to avoid familial disagreements and preemptive rushing as the process can be a lengthy. However, upon location of a burial site, feng shui consultants will then select a suitable date for the alignment, placement and burial of the casket.

Though cremation is on the rise, yin feng shui is not limited to just selecting burial location but can also be applied when selecting a location in a household for a family urn.

Read more:

Feng Shui Wonders in Landscape Architecture

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