Feng Shui is an export of Chinese culture that dates back to the latter centuries of the Stone Age. It started off as a science of astronomical alignment of man-made structures to the stars. As such, it is a mirror of concepts developed in the West which led to the building of now iconic landmarks such as Stonehenge and the pyramids of Giza.
With this in mind, it is not hard to understand how it evolved into a system of designing human living spaces – that have evolved into wonderful items like terrariums for us city dwellers – that are in tune with their environment and which promote human well-being. However, it is also important to remember that it has evolved into other areas such as jewelry that enables us to benefit from peace and balance wherever we are.
Despite its indisputable Chinese heritage, Feng Shui has, over the years, borrowed elements from other nearby cultures, most notably those of the Indus River valley from which Hinduism, and later, Buddhism spread out. One of these elements is the mudra, a positioning of the body, most often limited to just the hands and individual fingers, that forms a gesture of spiritual significance.
With each finger representing one of the five elements defined in Feng Shui doctrine, the act of individual fingers coming into contact with each other results in the fusion of individual elements with one another. This serves to create conditions that will allow the practitioner to be brought closer to the deity being invoked, thereby improving the chances of prayers being answered.
There are several tens of Mudras in the Hindu tradition and those of its derivatives, such as Buddhism, but the following are the three most important ones to the practice of Feng Shui. We spoke to the team behind FengShuiAccents.com for details about this ancient tradition.
This mudra is associated with the walking Buddha, who is said to have used it to subdue a charging elephant. It represents fearlessness and is invoked when praying for peace, protection and blessings.
It is performed similar to the way one might greet a person one comes across on the street. The upper half of the right arm is held parallel to the rest of the body, touching one’s side, while the lower half is raised to make a 45 degrees angle with the upper half. The outward facing palm, which should be more or less at a height between the chest and the shoulder, is kept open while all fingers touch. The left arm is stretched downwards alongside the body.
Normally depicted in statues of the Buddha himself as well as the Buddhas Amitabha and Bhaisajyaguru (the Medicine Buddha), this is the mudra of peace, mediation and balance.
Invoking this mudra involves bringing the two hands together, just under the navel, with the right hand sitting on top of the left and all fingers extended. The two thumbs meet in a straight line to form an upside down triangle with the rest of the hands.
The Karana mudra is the mudra used to ward off evil and anything with any negative associations. Interestingly this mudra is firmly established in Italian culture, especially in the southern region of Sicily.
In representing this mudra, the hand is held up to chest level, with the index and little fingers extended. The ring and middle finger face downward, toward the palm of the hand and the middle finger touches the thumb to form a circle.