Home Chinese Culture A Feng Shui Master’s Bowl of Water

A Feng Shui Master’s Bowl of Water

The ancient Chinese believed that five factors can help a person achieve a good life. Being a person of virtue is of greatest importance, followed by a good destiny. The location of one’s house (feng shui) can influence minor aspects of one’s life, while a person who has inherited a great fortune has the financial means to lead a good life. The last factor that can help a person achieve a good life is being knowledgeable.

There was once a feng shui master who helped others to decide where to live. His belief was that a house located in a good place could change one’s fate for the better.

One day, after walking a long way, he became very thirsty and tired. He wanted to rest at a farmer’s house that he saw on the side of the road, so he stopped and asked for some cold water. The lady of the house saw that he was out of breath, with sweat running down his face. She said: “Please wait for a moment and I will bring you some water.” The feng shui master waited, but the lady didn’t come back for a long time, so he began to wonder what had happened.

When the lady finally came back, she was carrying a large bowl of water. When he tried to grab the bowl, the lady withdrew it and said: “Wait a moment.”  She disappeared back into the house and came out with a handful of grains. She dropped the grains into the water and passed the bowl to him.

A feng shui geometric compass.
A feng shui geometric compass. (Image: Wellcome Images via wikimedia / CC BY 4.0)

The feng shui master was very annoyed at this and thought: “What a bad woman she is. I was thirsty and just wanted a bowl of water. But it took her such a long time to bring it out. When she did, she threw some grains in it, which made it difficult for me to drink.”

He finished drinking the water and soon resumed his journey down the road. He soon came upon a piece of land that would bring bad fortune to anyone who chose to live on it, so he got an idea. He rushed back to the farmhouse and told the lady: “I just saw a very good piece of land that will bring many blessings to you. In order to express my gratitude for the water you just gave me, I will show it to you.”

He brought her to the ill-fated land and said: “You should build a house up there, for it will bring you good luck.” The lady answered: “We wanted to build a new house, thank you for telling me; we will build our new house where you recommend.”

The feng shui master was walking down the same road several years later and to his surprise, he saw a large house on the hill he recommended to the lady years earlier with a backyard full of livestock. He looked around to make sure that it was the same piece of land that should have brought bad fortune to its owner. He asked himself: “How could this land bring good fortune?”

When that lady recognized the feng shui master, she ran out to greet him and said joyfully: “Thank you for showing me this land! Once we built our house here, nothing but good fortune has come our way.”

White Peking duck in barn.
He saw that the lady was living a very prosperous life in a large house with a backyard full of livestock. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

With an embarrassed look, the feng shui master said: “I’m sorry to say this, but I thought this land would bring you bad fortune. When I showed it to you, what I really wanted to do was to punish you for treating me so poorly.”

The lady was surprised to hear this and asked: “How did I treat you poorly?” The feng shui master replied: “It took you ages to bring me that bowl of water and you were so reluctant to give it to me that you threw grains into it. The lady explained: “I’m sorry, but I didn’t mean to treat you poorly. When I saw how hot and thirsty you were, I realized that you should not drink cold water in a hurry, so I added a handful of grains to slow your drinking.”

Hearing these words, the dumbfounded feng shui master realized that the lady had a heart full of benevolence. Since she purposefully made him drink slowly to avoid getting ill, she would always be blessed and protected by the gods. The fate of such a person with such good virtue could never be influenced by the bad intentions of a feng shui master, or an inauspicious of a piece of land.

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  • Emma Lu is an author who specializes in Cultural and Historical myths and stories.

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