Deity Statues: Feng Shui Capabilities and Cultural Beliefs

Buddha Statue Feng Shui front of home-min

Do you have a Feng Shui deity statue at home? Maybe a Buddha, Kuan Yin, Kuan Yu, God of wealth, or other deities?

If so, then here is some information on how it was used in Feng Shui in ancient times.

If your statue(s) were consecrated using a ritual, and you don’t know the Feng Shui implications behind it, then you MUST read this.

A home can have great Feng Shui, but a misplaced, consecrated deity statue can completely turn the tables. Conversely, you’ll have little to no Feng Shui effect even if you misplaced a statue that is only used for artwork or decoration.

In this article, I’ll explain to you why that is the case using using historical context and cultural beliefs. Whether you decide to follow this practice is your choice.

To understand how a statue is consecrated, you’ll first need to understand the ancient Chinese practice of ancestral worship.

The Ancient Chinese Practice of Ancestral Worship

The ancient Chinese practice of ancestral worship involves paying homage to the deceased family member. It usually involves burning incense and praying to wooden tablets with the name of the deceased written on it. The belief is that the ancestral spirits would bless and protect you if you practice ancestral worship.

Some still practice this today (mostly the baby-boomer generation or older), but not many.

A typical setting of an ancestral worship altar. The tablets have the name of the deceased written on it.

The popular belief is that these tablets contain the “souls” or “spirits” of the ancestors. However, that statement is only partially correct.

Rather, this ancient practice is based on the concept that a person has 3 spirits. There are many names to them, but you can simply think of the spirits similar to the Cosmic Trinity, or heaven, earth, and human.

I won’t get into much details about the three spirits, but here’s an example of how it’s still being practiced and interpreted today.

Have you ever encountered someone who was extremely shocked – to the extent that all the person does all day is to stare into space? The person can’t function properly, and he seems totally “out of it”. One interpretation is that one of the spirits of that person got “scared away”.

A truly shocking event can have this effect on a person, like a near death experience or a sudden encounter with a spiritual being. Some of us are tougher and can take the shocking experience head-on. However, some are not as tough.

When this happens, the common practice is to take that shocked person to a temple. A Taoist practitioner would perform a ritual on that person, as seen in the image below. Here’s the practice in detail on Wikipedia in Chinese.

The volunteers dressed in blue are performing the ritual to “bless” the person.

Now, back to ancestral worship.

Upon the death of a family member, a Taoist Master (Daoshi) would perform a ritual to get one of the three spirits of the ancestor to the wooden tablet. The tablet is usually carried by a family member to the grave site during the funeral, where the ritual is performed, and back to the house for ancestral worship. This means that the tablet is consecrated.

One of the ancestor’s spirit living inside the tablet is the spirit that’ll protect you and help you. The consecrated tablets’ Feng Shui placement is EXTREMELY critical.

The Cultural Belief of Deity Statues

A similar concept goes with deity statues.

A wooden tablet would just be a wooden tablet unless the Taoist master “invites” one of your ancestor’s spirit to take presence inside the tablet. Similarly, a statue would just be an artwork unless a Taoist master (or a professional practitioner) “invites” the part of deity’s energy to take presence inside that statue.

When the deity’s energy takes presence inside the statue, the statue is consecrated.

An example of an altar.

Now, what you’re about to read is VERY important.

If you don’t continue paying homage (some interprets this as “worshipping”) to the deity statue or your ancestral tablet, there’s a good chance that they would just leave the tablet or statue. This essentially makes the deity statue or the tablet an “empty house” where other spirits can enter. Those other spirits do NOT have your best interest in mind.

But even without a Taoist master, you yourself can consecrate a statue and create that “empty house” for other spirits.

This can be done by worshipping that deity statue. However, that statue MUST have a human face. As for worshipping, it’s usually praying, burning incense or making offerings such as fruits or others.

This belief is more cultural and likely originated from Taoist practices.

When I shared this concept with a Buddhist practitioner, he provided more context as to what kinds of spirits we attract. If we were praying for more wealth, then you might attract harmful spirits because your heart is filled with greed. If we were praying for the betterment of others, then you might attract benevolent spirits (maybe even deities) because your heart is filled with kindness and compassion. The spirit(s) that enters the statue would be a reflection of your own heart and your own kind.

The main takeaway is this: a statue can have one or more spirits attached to it. Whether they’re good or bad depends on what was done to it. (Side note: this is one reason why you should be careful when purchasing antique statues.)

Consecrated Deity Statues Amplify Feng Shui

Now that you know what ancestral tablets and consecrated statues are, let’s get to the Feng Shui part.

But first, know this – MOST Chinese families in the 19th century and before had ancestral tablets or consecrated deity statues at home (especially for those in the middle class). And don’t forget, Feng Shui rules created in ancient times were BASED on this assumption. (Similar to how Feng Shui rules were based on a time where toilets had no sewage and kitchen stoves had no gas or electricity.) This assumption helps explain why certain Feng Shui rules manifest and some don’t.

Even so, consecrated deity statues is said to have the ability to multiply the Feng Shui effects a faster pace.

Here’s the explanation – if the statue is placed well, the deity will assist you with your endeavors. If the statue is misplaced, the deity will let you know by causing some mishaps in your life. If the statue is misplaced AND disrespected (like placing it in the restroom), then you might run into some trouble. In other words, the deity will let you know whether the placement is correct.

Also, the deity will let you know whether the house has good or bad Feng Shui overall. The way the communicate differs. That is one reason why the Feng Shui effects manifest a lot faster when you have a consecrated deity statue at home. Further, some say that those Feng Shui effects can even extend to family members NOT living inside the house, though its effects are minor when compared to those living inside the house.

This is why, if you plan on having consecrated deity statues at home to amplify your home’s Feng Shui, you MUST have a professional Feng Shui master with relevant experience to do the work for you. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

A Warning on Feng Shui Deity Statue Placement

If your deity statue is consecrated, then DO NOT TRY to do Feng Shui placements of that statue yourself. That’s because there’s a good number of VERY strict placement rules.

To give you an idea, you’d have to consider the Li Qi (compass) and Form. Plus, the height of the altar, its location in the house, what’s in front, left, right, and back of it, all need to be considered. Plus, if you have more than one statue, like a Buddha statue and a deity, or multiple Buddha, deities, along with ancestral tablets, then their relative positions and height placement with each other should follow VERY strict rules.

The image above is a typical altar at home, which can have a profound impact on Feng Shui. Notice that the deity statue is on top of the ancestral tablets

Sometimes, even professionals get it wrong!

Here’s a story from my master. A business owner hired two Feng Shui Masters to place a deity altar at his factory in Taiwan. Master A suggested position A, while Master B suggested position B. From the words of Master B, the business owner went with position A, following the suggestions of Master A. In day 3, a big fight broke out among the business owner’s employees. Within the same week, half of the factory burned down. These are the words from the business owner to Master B when he tried to rehire him. Master B is my Feng Shui master.

That’s why I’m telling you – do NOT try this yourself.

On the other hand, if your statue is just an artwork, then you can place it wherever you like.

You must be thinking: are you sure it’s wherever I like? What about in the restroom? Isn’t there a saying where that you shouldn’t place deity statues in places that’s disrespectful, like in the restroom or in the bedroom where there’s physical romance?

Yes, it does feel kind of awkward to have deity statues placed in restroom and bedroom. In fact, it’s known that their presence in bedroom, like certain images or artwork, affects romance. However, from my understanding of Buddhism, it is disrespectful only if you have the intent to disrespect. But still, even if you don’t have the intent to disrespect, putting them in those places just feels awkward, so I would advise against it unless you feel differently.

If the statue is just an artwork, you can place it almost anywhere you like.

As for other placement rules, you can follow the tips of practitioners who uses it as a Feng Shui cure if you’d like. To manage your expectations, you’d probably won’t see much Feng Shui effect though. An artwork will not bring better Feng Shui. It can, however, bring positive thoughts to better your life, just like other Feng Shui items.

Deity Statues and the Form School of Feng Shui

If you’re an avid follower of Feng Shui, I’m sure you’ve read plenty about Feng Shui Forms, such as T-junction, shape of rivers/road, and having a light post in front of your house.

Yes, a lot of these Feng Shui rules about Forms exist and are written in ancient text. However, have you noticed that many of the Feng Shui effects of these forms didn’t manifest?


Many Feng Shui practitioners today would, by default, assume a bad Form facing the house to be bad Feng Shui and vice versa. However, they all missed the historical context behind those rules, which is – in ancient times, most houses have an altar for ancestral tablets and deities.

That is why many of the Feng Shui rules based on Forms won’t manifest, or manifest in a lesser degree.

Conclusion

My guess is that many of the ancestral worship practices were lost because people’s homes were destroyed in the revolutionary war and World War 2 in the 1900’s. The situation was further exacerbated in the Cultural Revolution, where numerous ancient practices and texts were destroyed. Some of the practices still survived today in Taiwan (Republic of China), Singapore, and other Southeast Asian countries.

Over to you: what do you think of the Feng Shui capabilities and cultural beliefs of deity statues, consecrated or not? Feel free to share your thoughts using the comment below!

 

 

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