Shen’s Xuan Kong Studies” (沈氐玄空學) was written by Shen Shao Xun (1849-1906,沈紹勛) and published by his son Shen Zu Mian (1878-1969,沈祖綿). This book was the first one to expose many “secrets” of Xuan Kong Feng Shui and is the cornerstone of modern Flying Star Feng Shui.

Shen’s grandson, Shen Yan Fa (1915-2001, 沈延發, see picture here), a civil engineer, had written “Shen’s Xuan Kong Kan Yu Studies” (沈氐玄空堪輿學). This book focuses on ancient architectural designs though it can also be applied to city planning and small scale district designs. I have not seen this book yet, so I cannot make any comment.

Shen Yan Fa had also written “Shen’s Skyscraper Feng Shui“(沈氐高層建築堪輿學). He said it is based on the 10 years Yi-Jing research of his father. His father had encouraged him to share this “skyscraper Xuan Kong code” with the Feng Shui community.

This book focuses on how to apply Yi-jing principle into skyscraper Feng Shui. The method is quite simple: using the storey number and the facing of the apartment door, translating it into one of the 64 hexagrams, then do TWO yao-changings and make some brief comments about the apartment. This method is not unique as there are similar methods in skyscraper Feng Shui. For example, “He-Tu-5-mice luck cycles” method assigns a He-Tu number to each storey and individual apartment and calculate auspiciousness based on nurturing-controlling relationship with the current He-Tu luck period. Another similar method (“Bamboo Node“) is used in applying Bazhai (8-mansions) in multi-storey buildings.

Shen Yan Fa has shown quite a few examples of how to apply this method. The sample audits shows heavy dose of personal judgment on the quality of environment and then mix with the interpretations of hexagrams. Other examples were based on the advertising brochures of buildings under construction. Shen did not show any concrete results showing his predictions worked. So at the time the book was written (around 1993), it seemed that this theory was just a conceptual model and not really tested.

How to determine the sitting and facing of an apartment in a highrise is one of the hottest arguments in contemporary Feng Shui. Shen is not clear on how he made the distinction though we can see he places heavy weight on the main door of the apartment. But he also seemed to talk about the sitting/facing of a building complex based on the main entrance of the building.

For the trivia bluffs– Shen Shao Xun was once the adopted son of a western mercenary. His son, Shen Zu Mian, was a revolutionary who had tried to over-turned the Imperial Qing Dynasty and had fled to Japan nine times.

Shen’s Xuan Kong Studies” remains the classic in contemporary Feng Shui though there are arguments on some of the theories and contents. Hats off to the Shen family for their sharing of major Feng Shui knowledge!

Ken Lai

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