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Chinese spiritual world concepts

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Chinese spiritual world concepts

A Mount Tai stone tablet

Chinese spiritual world concepts are cultural practices or methods found in Chinese culture. Some fit in the realms of a particular religion, others do not. In general these concepts were uniquely evolved from the Chinese values of filial piety, tacit acknowledgment of the co-existence of the living and the deceased, and the belief in causality and reincarnation, with or without religious overtones.

Practices and Beliefs

  • Ancestral worship (拜祖) - A practice to honor the deeds and memories of the deceased. This is an extension to the filial piety from the teachings of Confucius and Laozi. Elders, seniors, extended families and particularly parents are to be respected, heeded and looked after. Respects continue after their deaths. In addition to the Qingming and Chongyang festivals, descendants should pay tribute to ancestors during the Zhongyuanjie, more commonly known as the Ghost Festival. In addition to providing a tombstone or urn cover, descendants are traditionally expected to install an altar (神台) in their home to pay homage regularly each day with joss sticks and tea. The ancestors, including parents and grandparents, are worshipped or venerated as if they are still living.
  • Three Realms (三曹) - the belief that Heaven, the living and the deceased exist side by side, heaven a place for saints or rested souls, hell for the criminous deceased. Three wun seven pak (三魂七魄) explains a person's existence. The three realms is where a person exists, and the seven states are what makes a person exist. The Pumi people, for example, are a supporter of this concept.[1]
  • Jian (間) - The living world where people exist in reality is referred to as Yang Jian (陽間). The underworld where spirits exist after death is regarded as Yin Jian (陰間), though this is not necessarily a negative place such as hell.
  • Zung saang gei (種生基) - is when a piece of hair is placed in a particular fung shui location in an attempt to extend a person's life. A publicised example is Hong Kong actress Tina Leung who performed this practice in 1998 at a place near the Xingdao Lake (星島湖) in Beihai, Guangxi, China. The maximum that she could extend was 12 years. She died exactly 12 years later in 2010.[5][6]

Modes of Communication

  • Fuji (乩文) - planchette writing is practiced using either a rattan sieve (see coscinomancy) or a wooden stylus to write Chinese characters in sand or incense ashes. This Chinese tradition of automatic writing continues to be practiced in Taoist temples in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China.
  • Mun mai (問米) - is communication directly with spirits who have died. The most common usage is for finding and contacting deceased relatives or loved ones. It is an extremely rare skill within Chinese culture nowadays. The general cultural term is that people are raised from the underground or down from heaven to communicate. A western comparison is likely seance or necromancy.
  • Yum si lou (陰司路) - is the idea of flooding the spiritual road with spiritual money to ensure the person who died will reach their destination safely. In Chinese culture, the road to heaven, diyu or reincarnation may not be clear. By overloading the path with spiritual money, hopefully all troubled souls on the way will be too occupied with the money and leave the traveling-soul alone. This is an assurance for the living.
  • Tong ling (通靈) - is to tunnel and channel through to communicate with spirits.


  • Gui ren (貴人) - Someone who can help you. Or is destined to help you.
  • Xiao ren (小人) ("Siu yen" in Cantonese) - Someone who can hurt you. Or is destined to hurt you. Simple methods such as kau cim can usually inform you whether a guiren or xiaoren is visible in your near future.


  • Peach wood sword (桃木劍) - the definitive weapon used for demon exorcism during Taoist exorcism.[8] The ones from Long Mountain in Jiangxi province are particularly valued as the premium quality peach wood swords.[8]
  • Stone tablets (石敢當) - the tablets are placed at main doors, junctions of small avenues, three-way junctions, river banks or ponds to gather positive energy and ward off evil spirit. Sometimes it is used to block natural mishaps such as natural disasters.[8]
  • Tai mountain stone tablets (泰山石敢當) - the most powerful of the stone tablets are made from stones coming from Mount Tai. These stone tablets are shaped like the mountain forming the 5 fingers shape.[8] The ones inscribed with (泰山石敢當) go with along with the legend of the fight between war deity Chi You and the Yellow Emperor.[8][9] Supposedly goddess Nüwa dropped the tablet with the inscription on Chi You and scared him off. Yellow Emperor have since put the same inscription everywhere to scare off Chi You.[8]
  • Spirit tablet - a spiritual home in your house for ancestor spirits.


  • "Zhèng cái" ("Jing coi" in Cantonese) (正財) - This is basic money earned from working or jobs.
  • "Hèng cái" ("Waang coi" in Cantonese) (橫財) - Is a type of destiny money that is earned usually in large sums. An old Chinese quote goes: "If it is yours, is yours. If it is not yours, is never going to be yours."[10] An example of someone with good Waang coi fortune is Idy Chan.
  • "Pò cái dǎng zāi" ("Po coi dong zoi" in Cantonese) (破財擋災) - Is the process of losing a lot of money to avoid a disaster. Some people are advised to prepare to lose money in certain astrological years.[11]

See also


  1. ^ "" 三魂七魄 普米族喊魂的习俗. Retrieved on 2010-07-24.
  2. ^ a b HKstandard. "HKstandard." Rats to lucky number eight. Retrieved on 2008-05-19.
  3. ^ IHT. "International Herald Tribune." Feng Shui master explains bad to start to 2008 Olympic year. Retrieved on 2008-05-19.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Eastweek. 2010 April 11 volume 326. pg 54.
  6. ^ "" 狄娜愛兒否認請人種生基. Retrieved on 2010-07-24.
  7. ^ "Demon-exorcising Service at 'Goose-neck Bridge' ". My Heart, My Home - 18 Districts Reach Out Together for Lovable Sights in Hong Kong. Retrieved 11 June 2006.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Lee, James. [2006] (2006). James Lee Astrology guide 2006 English edition. World publishing co. ISBN 962-432-503-0.
  9. ^ 石敢當. " 石敢當." Tai-san stone. Retrieved on 2008-01-06.
  10. ^ Fengshui magazine. "Fengshui magazine." Article no. 125. Retrieved on 2009-05-27.
  11. ^ Fengshui association. "Fengshui window." 2005 sample. Retrieved on 2009-05-27.
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