Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Spirit of Zen

The Spirit of Zen

S BS Surendran 25 Dec 2008 for Express Buzz
KOCHI: The adaptation of Zen-feng shui in our homes especially in gardens enhances the positive 'chi' of the building. We spend a lifetime earning and trying to meet up with our materialistic requirements and when we decide on investing in a property be it an independent home or apartment, we try to invest in a space which ushers in prosperity and happiness into our lives.

In simpler terms zen is understanding yourself and your environment.

The same philosophy exists in feng shui too. Merely placing objects or correcting a space without the positive affirmation or clear thought for achievement does not bring about the change of energy in a space. Our positive intention to move towards our target and aim is well supported by the feng shui of the particular place.

For instance, in a baker’s place products such as cookies are baked in different shapes and forms but the basic ingredient that is the dough is same for all and tastes similar too. In the same way, all things in the universe - the sun, the moon, the stars, mountains, rivers, people, and so forth - have different names and forms, but they are all made from the same substance. The universe is organised into pairs of opposites: light and darkness, man and woman, sound and silence, good and bad. But all these opposites are mutual, because they are made from the same substance though the difference lies in the names and forms. The substance is what remains if you don’t delve deep into its form.

This philosophy is very similar to the ancient Chinese philosophy of feng shui.

Arrangement and order plays a vital role in zen and in feng shui too. The Japanese art of floral arrangements, Ikebana is said to express the life of the flowers. Ikebana traces its history back to the 6th century when the Buddhist priests offered flowers to appease the spirits of the dead. By the middle of the 15th century, Ikebana became an art form independent of its religious origins but still maintained its symbolic overtones of representing the balance between heaven, man and earth. As is a poem or a lovely painting Ikebana expresses both the beauty of an object and the longing in our own hearts through the blooms.

In feng shui the use of fragrant fresh flowers and lush green plants are often suggested as enhancements for the flow of chi. For most of us we bring flowers into our home - whether from the florists or our own gardens - not just for placing them in a vase and then setting them aside. In the art of placement, we look for the right flower to decorate the appropriate compass direction of the home and the layout.

The pathway leading unto the main door could be enhanced if gravel or white powder from crushed stones are used as the top layer. In case the pathway from the door to the gate is sloping downwards, it is believed that the energy rolls back and goes out of the gate.

A simple and symbolic cure for this would be to place two large round stones on either sides of the gate. Many offices and homes in the Eastern countries display a pair of lions or even lion-headed dogs on either sides of the main door.

A pathway with plenty of hedges and greenery along with water feature enhances the energy of the building and at the same time makes it very inviting.

S BS Surendran

Master Fengshui Consultant and Traditional Vaastu Practitioner

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