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published: 1/20/05
updated: 12/16/13

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Human Nature in Chinese Religion




Does Chinese Religion believe in a soul?

In Chinese thinking, everything that exists flows out of the Tao, and human beings are simply a tiny component of the Tao.

The ancient Chinese believed in a dual soul. The lower soul of the senses disappears with death, but the rational soul (hun) survives death and is the object of ancestor worship.

Perhaps the most important Chinese concept related to the body and soul is the idea of ch'i. At its simplest, ch'i means breath, air or vapor, but in Chinese religious belief it is life energy or life-force.





It is believed that every person is allotted a specified amount of ch'i and he or she must strengthen, control and increase it in order to live a long life. Many Taoist exercises focus on regulation and increase of one's ch'i. In the west, the most well-known example of such a practice is T'ai chi.




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Human Nature