I had no intention of writing a Part II. But someone makes a big fuss out of “lineage sucks”. So here is Part II…

In Part I, I did not choose a position on whether “lineage rocks” or “lineage sucks”.

In real life, most of us belong to both camps at one time or another– when we learn from more than one teacher, we are on the “lineage sucks” side of the lineage-rocks/ lineage-sucks continuum. When we stick with only one or two teachers, we lean towards the “lineage rocks” side.

I did state that it is hazardous (to your wallet) to “shop” a school based on its lineage claims because it is difficult to prove or disprove the claims.

I have also pointed out the Modius Operandi (M.O., modes of operation) of lineage claims from mainland China.

Like everywhere else, there are real lineages and “not-so-real” lineages in China. However, the “not-so-real” lineage claims from mainland China are easier to detect than the ones from Hong Kong, Taiwan and southeast Asia because of their “unique” approaches in building up a lineage. Here are some red flags or patterns:

title-piling: they are likely to pile PhD, PhD advisor, PhD Post-doc, Professor, Yi-Jing Society Chairman… titles on the same line (you may laugh your head off if you know the how these titles are ranked). These titles are often from non-existent foreign universities or paper-mill OR counterfeit certificates of famous Chinese universities. If the “master” is a real PhD, he is better off chasing the IPO gold-rush in China now than working as a Feng Shui master with low social status.

— elevating an old man as grandmaster of the lineage: If you do some Math, even an 80 years old man was only 22 when the Chinese Communists took over China in 1949! Where did he learn and practice his Feng Shui skills, not to mention that he might be killed during the Cultural Revolution of the ’60s?

— claiming their Feng Shui will work 100% (even God cannot promise that!)

— using famous old tombs and temples to prove their Feng shui work

— claiming only selected few will be accepted as their “in-house students” (but with certain amount, like US$5000, you are automatically chosen without interviewing and seeing you in advance).

Someone is unhappy about my pointing out of this M.O.. He thinks I wrote “lineage sucks” to make myself look better.

This someone has no reason to be unhappy IF his/ her lineage does not match the descriptions above.

I have also received private emails thanking me for this info.

I think consumers will make better decision if given more information.

So, is there any compromise between this lineage-rocks/ lineage-sucks continuum?

If you were an extreme “lineage sucks” person, you will have problem learning the innermost secrets of real lineages. Most masters are no idiots. They will not show you the real thing when they know you are a “bar-hopping” student with little or no loyalty.

If you were an extreme “lineage rocks” person, your vision will be limited by one or two perspectives or schools.

One common alternative is “lineage-hopping” for a while to sample different schools. Then stick with one or two teachers that you have affinity to.

Yes, I know. It is getting darn expensive.

A few young masters of the “lineage sucks” camp use the “Tony Robbins template” to promote their schools. Tony Robbins is the motivational king (speaker) in USA.

These young masters simply substitute Tony’s motivation or NLP stuff with “Feng Shui” for power, relationship and wealth….. Some even imitate Tony’s mannerisms, gestures, vocabularies, website design and even the name of Tony’s “Mastery University”.

With Tony’s template, you don’t need to be a genius to act like one.


Fortunately or unfortunately, these young masters do not copy the fire-walking trick in their syllabus.

When one subscribes to “lineage sucks”, one is less likely to extol his teachers or old masters. He may keep all the glory and goodwill to himself. He may tell people that they can also “be all they can be”, just like him (the genius) by taking his courses and buying his books.

Think and act BIG” is the mantra. Tony Robbins’ M.O. fits this philosophy perfectly.

Amazingly the “Tony Robbin template” seems to work for some young masters. I hope Tony does not read this message or it may “awaken the Feng Shui giant within” him and push his own version of Feng Shui (he probably will call it “associative environmental conditioning”).

Tony has already “invaded” the health and nutrition territories with his motivational talks. Feng Shui may well be the next target.

It does not matter whether lineage rocks or sucks— as long as it works. It still sucks if the lineage is real but the contents do not work. However, it seems difficult to get the “real thing” without joining a real lineage.

“Real thing”, most of the time, refers to the “execution” of a high level FS technique, like where to do your luopan measurement and how to operationalize the “mountains”, “dragons”, “water”…..

Many “lineage-graded” secrets are amazingly simple, but they are the critical links or “buttons” for the whole model or system to work. These “secrets” normally cost big bucks (US$20,000 or more) to buy or nothing (if you have good relationship with your master). One cannot expect to learn these secrets in a US$2- 3000 class.

So, do you need these “secrets”? Not really, unless you want to push the “wealth” envelop to the max. For most practitioners, what you learn from reputable teachers out there should be suffice for common situations.

Now you should be able to decide if “lineage rocks” or “lineage sucks” or simply put, “Is lineage relevant?”

It all boils down to your pocket book– if you just want to be a “general practitioner“, then lineage is not that important. You can learn from a variety of teachers or schools. If you want to be a “specialist“, then lineage becomes important (and expensive!).

Joining a “real” lineage is just the beginning of a long journey. There is no guarantee that you will get the “real thing”. You may also be susceptible to internal lineage politics and the “in-house discipleship” bait that turns you into a slave of the master. But if you are in good luck or have good karma with the lineage, you may get the “real thing” goodies.

I deliberately avoid the question of age or experience here. I guess you can figure it out yourself.

Like any professions, there are good FS masters and not-so-good FS masters— you need to find the good one yourself.

Ken Lai

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