It was October 2022 and a new client asked me a bunch of questions and it became clear that the only time he had been exposed to Feng Shui was something called the New Age Edition of Pop Culture. black hat, was very popular in the 1990s. This style of feng shui has put the whole esoteric subject into the trendy “wheelhouse” of celebrities, big name brands, and virtually every design show on cable television. even came to the White House to advise Clinton.
In fact, the term “black hat” is a reference to black hat esotericism. The founder of his Black Hat school (the late Thomas Lingyun) thought it would be cool to market his brand of Feng Shui as if it were associated with this sect of Buddhism. Meanwhile, the monks of Black Hat Tantra made the following statement decades ago: They had nothing to do with this new lifestyle brand of Feng Shui.
In turn, the term “black hat” became associated with certain shunned computer hacker practices, so the Black Hat Feng Shui School was rebranded simply as “BTB” Feng Shui. Again, “BTB” stands for Black Hat Tantric. (Apparently, these monks wore literal black hats as part of their religious attire.) It may be equivalent to someone who founded it. The first chapter of my first book details the Black Hat School.
Thomas Lin Yuen was teaching English as a second language in Hong Kong when Westerner Sarah Rosbach became his groupie. He was initially introduced to the West as “Professor” Lin Yun, although there was no evidence that Lin Yun had a higher degree. When his Feng Shui cult began in San Francisco around his late 1980s, his disciples began calling him “Master” Lin Yun. Eventually they called him “Grandmaster”. I later learned that historically, the title of “Grand” Master was only given to masters who were inherited or who duly developed the natural sciences of Feng Shui with new discoveries and applications. Without offending the man any further, let’s just say that his Feng Shui brand was so simple and generic that it appealed to a whole new generation of unquestioned baby boomers.
He created the “Eight Trigrams” to refer to the eight life stations. It can be layered over any floor plan. These life stations included the infamous “Love Corner” and “Wealth Corner”, which he claimed were in the same location in every home. In early Black, he used this imaginary map to place an entire trunk of Chinese folk remedies, plus placebos and other trinkets, in the words of Hutt’s critic Kate, to “almost” You can create a ‘cargo cult’ and inspire good luck. Savage.
I started practicing feng shui seriously in the early 1990’s and to this day I have mixed feelings about this “BTB” school. On the one hand, a lot of business came in after that as a second opinion. So many failed to recognize the benefits of using the BTB New Age Pseudo-version of Feng Shui. It has given me the opportunity to re-educate people about what real and false feng shui is. On the one hand, I hope his BTB school doesn’t exist that seriously undermines the integrity and effectiveness of authentic feng shui. One of the more disturbing consequences was seeing certain Chinese (who should have known better) embrace New Age trash just to participate in the money-making bandwagon.
Lin Yun’s followers were prolific and wrote most of the feng shui books in the 1990s and early 2000s when stores like Barnes & Noble created entire feng shui sections on their shelves. At the time, Feng Shui was so popular that it was possible to make presentations in bookstores even before writing a book. At that time, I told the bookstore that I could help sell Feng Shui books, but the list of approved genuine books was very small, with only one title by Master Lam Kam Chuen and one of the self-published books. A book was included. feng shui principles By Master Larry Sang.
BTB school is very easy to point out by appealing to most people’s common sense as it relates to the one size fits all approach where the left back corner of every floor plan is the supposed “wealth corner” is. It is clear that not all structures are so similar. But it was the simplicity of the BTB methodology that gave birth to the Western “Feng Shui Master”. They only read a few books by Ling Ying followers and attended weekend seminars before feeling qualified to consult as professionals. Compare this to a conversation with Eva Wong, a real-life feng shui master. She told me that her private students usually study with her for “about eight years.”
To clarify, there are many different schools of classical feng shui that have evolved over the centuries. Some of these schools are quite different and may even contradict each other, so I don’t want to imply that Lin Yun’s Feng Shui cult was the first of its kind. Some trained practitioners do a hybrid version of several different schools partly because they want to give their clients as much as possible. Let’s try another technique of the school. It is about receiving a balanced education and benefiting from the discoveries made by various highly regarded masters throughout history.
****Author’s note: I was accused of being disrespectful after this article was published of BTB School and Lin Yun. It is imperative that the reader know that I am not the only one criticizing. For those interested in the articles I have archived from the 1990s (written by others, not by myself) about how feng shui was perceived (and explored) during the heyday of the black hat phenomenon, please contact me I will send you the file. Below is page one. China Daily, July 8, 1997:
Author: Carter Diamond
Company: Feng Shui Solutions ®
From the Feng Shui History and Culture series