Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Geomancy Feng Shui And Global Conflicts

Copyright © Kim Roberts

February 18, 2019. I don’t often talk or write about Feng Shui principles but today is different. A friend’s house slid down the hill after a major rainstorm in California and she asked me what could have been the bad Feng Shui features applicable to her house, which she should know before that happened. I’ve been scratching my head. When I am in this mental state, I write compulsively.

1970. Saigon, Vietnam. “You are a revolutionary,” said Duong Thai Bang to me when I informed him that I came from Sadec. Shocked, I stared at him and asked, “Is it a joke?” He casually answered, “The majority of people from Sadec are.” I responded, “Ummm....”

Looking down on the palm of his right hand and doing some calculation by moving his thumb up and down on other fingers, he calmly explained, “The formation of the land gives birth to the people’s characters and formulates their destiny, mental state, and inclination to resist or to live in harmony. According to the configuration of your land in Sadec, you must be a revolutionary. This influence of the land on you is 33%. Then 33% influence on your life comes from the Feng Shui features inside and outside your home. The maximum control you have over your life by your own actions is 33%. With respect to your hometown, the best underground fighters—the Viet Minh during French occupation and the fierce Viet Cong fighters in this war—come from Sadec. Have you ever wondered why? You might not be an underground fighter but you have it in you, a resisting spirit and readiness to stand up for your beliefs and to fight back. Likewise, the conflicts in other regions of the world, especially in the Middle East countries, will go on for decades, if not centuries from now, because of the lands on which they live. It’s all in the Feng Shui reading of the lands. Take Israeli and Palestine; do you think the conflict over the disputed strip of land will end soon? They say the U.S. might shift their focus from Vietnam to Middle East. But if they believe they have solutions for the conflicts there, they must be dreaming,” he talked on.

I hesitated than told Bang, “They would not be the only ones who are wrong. You are too. Whatever Feng Shui principles to which you are referring, have absolutely nothing to do with my destiny or my character. By the way, since the time of the Russian and French revolutions, or maybe the Irish War of Independence, no one calls the resistance movement revolutionary. Just resist, resistant, and resistance. No revolutionary.” I immediately realized I had lost my cool as Bang might be right, to certain extent, of course.
As far as his reputation traveled, Mr. Duong Thai Bang was a renowned astrologer and Feng Shui (Phong Thủy) Master in Vietnam since he and family migrated south in 1954 and had lived in Saigon since then. Feng Shui land readers are known as Geomancers who interpret the configuration of the land, analyze the characteristics of the people living in that land, and predict future events. Legend had it, unlike most of well-known paid horoscope tellers or astrologers, whom South Vietnamese worshipped, who would foretell their clients’ future for a fee, Duong Thai Bang was considered a well-sought after oracle. People said he could tell, with accuracy, the future of the world, of Vietnam, of anyone in whom he was interested. He was a sage with a global vision. His limited list of clients included world leaders and biggest names in the business world in Cholon, a Chinese section adjacent to Saigon. President Nguyen Van Thieu was among his list of regular clients. Gold bars from those inner circle clients afforded him and his family a very good life.

The original Feng Shui (Phong Thuy), is derived from the ancient art and science of observing the land, hence evaluating the landforms to locate the best site for a dwelling but Bang used it to predict people’s behavior and future events. Feng Shui, or wind-and-water, also known as geomancy, is an ancient Chinese practice using complex compasses to read the configuration of the land by applying certain principles. Feng Shui offers a means to connect to the natural flow of the universe. Naturally, there’s a flow of beneficial energy, or “qi” (material energy), in a positive or a negative way according to the formation of the earth, such as hills and mountains, and water. Geomancers used visible landscape features to choose good sites that modulate the flow of qi. The ideal location, for example, is a land surrounded by mountains in a horseshoe shape. The ideal hill is said to curl around the dwelling in the shape of a dragon's lair, and have deep folds in their surface topography. The best land has visible appearances of four Heaven Animals, which are Turtle, Dragon, Tiger, and Phoenix. These animals are protectors of the land and its inhabitants. According to Feng Shui principles, the good geometric shapes of the land are square or rectangle with green ground. A geomancer must consider the celestial animals and their influence on each individual living on that land.

Still, the effective Feng Shui reading cannot be complete without an inclusion of Yin and Yang. The Yin in Feng Shui is in unmoving and still water, mountains, or landscape. The Yang is in active parts, such as lake, rivers, ocean, with active, moving water. Together with qi, or the life force, including elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water will bring about a balance of all elements. And that’s the goal of Feng Shui’s philosophy and practice, which center in the idea that the land is alive and filled with energy. Depending on the formation of the land, qi, the flow of energy can be positive or negative, affecting human lives and characters accordingly. Thus, Feng Shui is an empirical study of the landform consistent with the flow of qi, life energy in nature, to bring about positive returns.
Bang believed that understanding the land where one was born and brought up would offer solutions to many issues with respect to the operation and conflicts of the world.

“The land in your hometown Sadec has negative influence. Too much Yang and not enough Yin. Too many dragons and turtles and not enough tiger and Phoenix. The strip of land where you were born and raised is caught between the Mekong River and the Bassac River. The Mekong River is known as Cuu Long, or the Nine Dragon River, or a river with nine mouths. It’s believed there’s one dragon lies dormant in each mouth. Thus, there’s no stability or peace in that land,” Bang went on and explained. I was reluctant to agree that he was right for the most part. And I hesitated to admit certain rebellious and resisting nature in me although I was never an underground fighter, a resistant, left alone a revolutionary.

Before the war ended in April 1975, Bang predicted that we would safely get out of Vietnam at the last minutes and we would see each other again. In September 1975, at Ft. Chaffee Refugee Camp in Arkansas, I was in line to get my lunch. The gentleman in front of me suddenly turned around and I burst into tears, it was Duong Thai Bang. For years after we started a new life in the U.S., he wrote me and kept giving me astrological advice. One day he paid me an unannounced visit in Castro Valley, California. Bang, still dressed as a gentleman with an expensive hat and a walking cane, came with an escort. His goal was to study the hills, the lake, and the configuration of the land where I lived. I can’t say I believe in everything he said but if he were alive today, he would be pleased to see my current home in a parcel of land in the shape of a dragon wrapping itself as a horseshoe, being surrounded by water.

P.S. Although Bang was wrong about my character, he was perhaps right about the configuration of the land in East Sadec where I was born. My childhood friend and classmate, Tong Thanh Mai, was arrested, jailed, and tortured when we were about 13 years old. She went north for training and became the one of the top Viet Cong military leaders who took over the city from the South Vietnamese regime at the end of the war in 1975. Madame Nguyen Thi Binh, the famous leader of Viet Cong, was born in 1927 in Sadec (Dong Thap Muoi Province) under the name Nguyen Thi Chau Sa (with the name Sa as in Sadec)  went to school in Cambodia.  Wikipedia in English incorrectly lists that she was born and went to school in Saigon but the Wikipedia in Vietnamese clarifies that it isn't so and confirms she was born in Sadec. Nguyen this Binh, the head of the National Liberation Front, negotiated and signed in the peace treaty during the 1973 Paris Peace Negotiation Conference that ended the war. Info about Binh's birth place can be found in 

https://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/government/66192/reflections-of-the--viet-cong-queen-.html as well as other sites in Vietnamese.

END copyright © Kim Roberts.  www.sadecinmyheart.com

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Dying Moments: A Twilight Zone between Life and Death

Copyright © Kim Roberts

February 17, 2019. If Sigmund Freud were alive and analyzed my nightmare from which I woke up a few hours ago, I wonder what Freud would say. The setting of my nightmare was paranormal and my feelings were most terrified. I felt my heart was about to stop. Yet nothing in the nightmare makes any sense to the conscious me. During the nightmarish ordeal, I felt I was dying as I felt choked up and had no air in my lungs. And I was desperately and miserably following a transient lady who stole my one and only copy of my manuscript. As I regained my consciousness and mental clarity after I awoke, I realized this could only be Elaine’s physical and mental state—not mine. Elaine is the dying spiritual mentor I love and have frequently visited in the past seven months. I spoke to Dan on Friday after my work and in his words, “Elaine is the same.” But I knew it’s not the same. And I couldn’t help but feeling how desperately she held up her fragile body as she had mentally and verbally shown her desire to see the end of my book before she died. 

For the first time in my life, I clearly felt a sense of Clairempathy for and with Elaine. I could feel what she was going through—her shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and heart palpitation. Thus I’ve been feeling very sick myself. The book is something I have done for the love of writing. The casual writing process has given me much joy and it has been sufficiently satisfying. I have never pushed to finish it on any deadline or had an ambition to see the final result, as ardently as Elaine has. I never knew how or why it seems so passionately crucial to Elaine—except the fact that she loves me and has been deeply moved by my story. But, even Dan has said, her persistent demand to see the end of it is unreal—as if she never wanted anything that earnestly. Yet there is a psychic feeling in me to telepathize with Elaine’s intense emotion, even when she seemed foggy about her surrounding. 
As I complained of shortness of breath, Dr. Deutsch, my pulmonologist, had prescribed a drug for my lungs. I have two best health insurance policies that allow my healthcare providers to treat me without any hesitation or restriction. But when the Walgreen’s Pharmacist, Dr. Fong whom I know well, said, “You don’t want this drug. The co-pay for 1 month supply is $11,000.00,” I was in a total shock. Of course I did not fill the Rx. At home and in front of my computer, I looked up the drug and Google showed me the cost for a whole year supply as $96,000.00. I texted Alex, my MD godson, and he too was flabbergasted. Then Dr. Fisher ordered an XRay and said the thickened wall of my lungs might be the reason I needed the expensive drug. Well, perhaps the drug price has triggered my fear of death and led to my nightmare.

Kevin, a FB friend, wrote about his feelings and reactions toward death and I answered, “It is only when we forget ourselves that we find ourselves.” In the Hindu “Upanishads,” the sages say so centuries ago. Our eternal life is not in the perishable body but in our imperishable souls—or the infinite Being. That time and space is a delusional veil woven by our imperfect senses that will not last. The early Chinese philosopher Chuang-tse calls death a great awakening and life a dream. And Plato who believes in a god, declares that God creates the world according to a plan, which is the best of all possible plans. Accordingly, we have a visible and perishable body and an invisible, imperishable soul. I have, and to certain extent, Elaine has, believed in a better world after death and therefore the importance is investing in the soul and spirit while alive. We all have body, spirit, and soul and death only ends one, not the others.

I remember the months before this month, every time Dan, Elaine, and I met for lunch, we would laugh, poke fun at death, and discuss the changes as if Elaine will have a change of address and Jesus is anxiously waiting for her at her new home and in a future date, Dan will be joining her. Everything seemed so clear, logical, calm, and normal. Then the current psychological chaos crept in and destroyed my peace of mind. How did it happen? Perhaps I’ve been shortsighted in my vision of the upcoming Elaine’s dying moments. Everything is in a twilight zone now and I am panicked and scared. But no philosopher on earth can define what this moment is in relation to death. This is reality. This is experience. This goes beyond the realm of logic, philosophy, or idea.

END © Kim Roberts www.sadecinmyheart.com