Disclaimer: Ken Lai is neither a lineage-hugger nor a “no-lineage independent”.  He is a “whatever works” opportunist regardless of the origin.

A common criticism of the lineage system is the practice of “keeping a hand” (留一手  liú yī shǒu; witholding some secrets) by the Sifu (teacher) from his disciples.  This practice is probably as popular if not more common today than ancient times.

In the old days, choosing an “indoor student” was like picking a life-long partner. The master checked everything and especially the moral character of the potential student.  The student will serve the master  from cleaning his toilet to carry his luopan for many years before getting some “real knowledge”.   Today, this type of fellowship is replaced by commodity economy — paying a huge sum of money to the master.  There are cases of “guaranteed indoorship” without even looking at the incoming student provided US$5000 or more is paid.  It is like selling a franchise to the student who will in turn market the same thing as soon as he “graduates”.  The master has more incentive to “keep a hand” to maintain his “upperhand”  because people are more materialistic than those in the old days.

Some critics frequently use a simple math formula to discredit the lineage system.  The logic is simple:  if every generation keeps 10% secrets from the next generation, a lineage will have nothing left after 10 to 12 generations.

This argument is mathematically and even logically sound.  It is an example of simplistic or deceptive reasoning using numbers.  It assumes:

1.  the lineage’s knowledge-base does not grow over generations
2.  “keeping a hand” always happens, even between father and son situation
3.  the junior generation will always be satisfied with whatever craps that previous generation gave them
4.  the junior generation will not THINK and develop their own solution when critical info is witheld

If you do not believe my arguments, just look at how many different “varieties” of Flying Star Feng Shui out there— at least 10+ with variations from funny ways of flying the stars, counting yang-yin, tai-ji, periods to mixing concepts with other schools.  Most come with their own re-interpretations of Feng Shui classics like the “Green Satchel Classic“.   All claim to be “authentic”. Same scenario with Bazhai Feng Shui.

Therefore, this “keeping a hand” practice actually simulates creativity and explorations instead of killing or diluting the lineage system.  People are always curious and trying to “figure out” if something are missing or witheld. Whether the end results are positive or negative will be another long discussion.  Everything comes in a package of both good and not so good.

Ken Lai

“Practical Date-Selection Methods (incl. XKDG) w/ 12 hr. video
“Practical Imperial Qi-men-Dun-Jia” w/ 10 hr. video
“Daoist Talismans for Feng Shui & Blessing” v.2 w/ 24 hr video
“Practical Door Feng Shui for Wealth” w/ 3 hr. video
“4-Pillars Forecasting Bootcamp” with 12 hr. video