Ghosts and Exorcism in China: An Overview

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Ghosts and Exorcism in China: An Overview

Jack Perry

Quote:The development of religion in China is notable because the culture eliminated the concept of a supreme anthropomorphic god comparatively early in its development. However, many of the characteristics of world religions remained in Chinese metaphysics, including a belief in demons, malevolent spirits that can attack people and hurt them, sometimes making them ill. Every religion that includes a belief in demonic beings also includes ways in which humans can confront and control them, and the Chinese are no exception. In fact, the unique features of Chinese religion resulted in unusual methods of exorcising demons.

Chinese exorcism can be divided into two separate but related branches -- the medical and the religious. By religious exorcism I refer to those techniques that use talismans, amulets, and various other invocations of higher powers. Medical exorcism is the use of chemicals, poisons and other medical techniques to drive the demons from the body. One belief that peaked during the Chou period and lingered much longer in the Chinese body of knowledge is the idea of demonic medicine. That is, the belief that illness is caused by spirits, sometimes because the spirits are malicious and sometimes because the sufferer is deserving of their fate.

Demonic medicine eventually gave way to medicine based on the movement of chi and the five phases between the organs, but traces of the demonic remained in popular culture.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell

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This is not quite relevant, but almost.

There is a book by Paul Dong, "China's Super Psychics" that suggests that the Chinese have done a lot of work on psychic powers, and that this work continues. I obtained a free PDF copy from PDF drive some years back:

Amazon has a hard copy version only (but that costs over £100).

(This post was last modified: 2022-04-23, 09:13 AM by David001. Edited 1 time in total.)
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