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Xing Shi (Form and Configuration)

Translated from “Bazhai Ming Jing” (The Bright Mirror of Bazhai)” by Howard Choy, August 2001.


The form of a house should be regular so it is pleasing to the eye, then it can be auspicious. If it is too tall, too wide, too small, or pulls to the left or right, or being irregular then it will lead to a decline in health and wealth.


The classic says “When the form of a house is regular, upright and proper, has an atmosphere of being bold and heroic, and a feeling of being protected in a responsible way, then it is a noble house.


When the surrounding walls are solid, clean and bright. The courtyards are airy and grouped together in a hierarchical way, then it is a house of wealth and harmony.


(When the massing is unbalanced), either the north (the back) and the south (the front) are the same height, or the east and the west fight with each other or one side is much taller than the other, then it is an unpleasant house.


When the house is small but tall, and standing alone without any protection on four sides, then it is a lonely and cold house. When it falls to the east and leans to the west with the ridge pole broken and the beams not straight, the wind whistles through and the roof leaks, then it is a sad and painful house.


When the house is too dark, too wide and too deep; then it is an evil and strange house.


When the house is untidy and broken down, with the four walls in a state of disrepair and the plaster falling away, then it is a sad and uncared for house.


When the foundation is too tall, with the front of the house sitting right off the ground and the back of the house cuts into the land (that is, a house located on a steep sloping land), the water from the four directions cannot assemble and there is a lot of movement and not enough collection (of qi), then it is a poor and impoverished house.


When the house is tall and sitting on a small and narrow plot of land, then it indicates declining wealth and health. When the house is low and sitting on a large and wide plot of land, then it indicates growth in one generation (potential to expand).


Feng Shui Master Huang Shi-Ming said: “An ordinary house and an official residence are different. The Government officials need their buildings to look large and grandiose, while an ordinary house should look humble and tightly planned to achieve good fortune”.


The (courtyard) space outside the bedrooms is different to the living area. The (courtyard) space outside the living area can be generous, but if it is too generous for the bedrooms, then the qi will disperse. Every house relies on the courtyards for wealth. We use the house in front as the ‘Au Shan’ (the Table Mountain). When the courtyard is wide but narrow in the middle, it can assemble wealth well.


When the building in front (of the courtyard) is not too high or not too low, the guest and the host are in harmony and good fortune is achievable. If the building in front is too tall, the host is being insulted. If it is too low, the guest is being humbled. When it is too close, it is ‘under pressure’ and when it is too far away it is ‘left in the wilderness’. The height of the ridge (of the building in front) should be determined by the distance between the two rows of buildings. Whether the house is auspicious or harmful depends on their relationships (refer to Yai Bai drawing attached).


In a house, the courtyard outside the rear Main Hall is the ’Xiao Ming Tang (the Small Bright Hall). The Front Hall in front of the Main Hall is the first ‘Au Shan’ (Table Mountain). The courtyard between the Front Hall and the Main Gate is the middle ‘Ming Tang’ with the gateway building the second ‘Au Shan’. The open space in front of the house is the large ‘Ming Tang’ and the distant mountains being the third ‘Au Shan’. The small ‘Ming Tang’ should be smaller and tighter, the middle ‘Ming Tang’ should be wide and generous but not too much so it feels like being in the wilderness. (See picture of a Fujian Courtyard house below.)


Section through a typical Fujian Courtyard House


The Classic says: “When the house is small with many people living in it, it is auspicious since the people control (Ke) the house. When the house is large with fewer people living in it, then it is harmful because the house is in control of the people.


It also says: “When the (existing) old (house) is being sandwiched by two new (additions), you must not live there. When two (existing) old (buildings) sandwich one new (addition) then you will bring honour to your ancestors. When one old (building) is attached to one new (addition), then you have made the old rotten millets grow again”.


H.C. Comment:

Changes made to an existing house should be gradual and not too drastic.


When there are more young people than old living in a house, it will be vigorous and prosperous for a long time. When the owner of the house only lives there half the time, there is no leader and the people will disperse.


An even number of bays will bring poverty with no food or clothing. A crooked pillar will mean there will be no peace for the descendants. White ants or pest damage will bring blindness and deafness to the family. A pillar standing on its own will mean the head of the household will have a short life. If the ridge pole slopes and the support beam is bent, it will lead to incessant gossips. If the ridge pole doesn’t sit on the beam properly, it will lead to sorrow every three years”.


Avoid using a complicated plan for your house layout. The formula says:

“If a Qian House is missing in Li, then the daughter of the middle heir will become blind.                          
If a Kan House is missing in Xun, then some young members of the male heir will die.                            
If a Gen House is missing in Kun, then the male heir will have no son without saying.                          
If a Zhen House is missing in Qian, then the male heir will have a child after he dies.                        
If a Xun House is missing in Zhen, then the male heir will be alone.                         
If a Li House is missing in Qian, then the male heir will have no descendant.                            
If a Kun House is missing in Gen, then some young members of the male heir will die.                          
If a Dui House is missing with some corners, then it will lead to emptiness like others.                       
The Formula also says if a Kan House is bulging out in Qian, then the Old Grandfather of the house will have drinking and womanising problems.                          


Commentary by Jing Jue-Ming:


In selecting a house, we need to consider 2 things: -


1. How the topography of the land and the neighbourhood is affecting the house.


2. How the internal layout and the design is affecting the house.


The Kanyu experts called the former the ‘Wai Xing’ (External Form) and the latter the ‘Nei Xing’ (Internal Form) of the building.


The Xing- Shi Pai (or Form and Configuration School) Feng Shui is more concerned with the ‘Wai Xing’ while the Liqi Pai (or Compass School) Feng Shui is more concerned with the ‘Nei Xing’ of a house.


The ‘Nei Xing’ as the name suggests, refers to the internal aspects such as the shape of the floor plan, the structure of the building, the layout of the rooms, the relationship of the house to the outbuildings, the size and shape of the courtyard, the location of doors and passageways, the layout of the kitchen and toilets, window sizes and locations of openings, the bed positions and the choice of furniture and furnishing. It also includes the layout of the boundary fences and the design of the garden. (Also colour and material choice.)


‘Bazhai Ming Jing’ places more importance on the ‘Wai Xing’ of a building. It recommends that the house should be regular in shape, not too tall, not too wide, not too narrow or taper with sharp ends or with awkward shapes. A house with missing corners and random indentations or projections will find it difficult to be prosperous. The shape and sizes should be appropriate to its function. For example, the bedroom doors can be smaller while the opening to the front door can be wider. The courtyard to the living area can be bigger compared to the courtyard off the sleeping area. The form and proportions of the house should be pleasing to the eye.


Since Bazhai (or Eight Houses) Feng Shui is concerned with the 8 types of qi coming from 8 directions, objects in the 8 directions should be in harmony with each other. Any imbalance in Form or Space could lead to disharmony, which is undesirable and is considered inauspicious.