Contemporary Con Games Preying on Traditional Chinese Spiritual Beliefs

Recently, the New Yorker ran an expose on a confidence game targeting older female Chinese immigrants that preyed on spiritual traditions they were aware of, but only vaguely – elements out of Chinese astrology, doctrines from the Bardo Thodol, Taoist ritual and so on. Perhaps this is a lesson to all of us about making Assiahtic decisions based on Atziluthic  we haven’t studied or understood sufficiently. Here’s an excerpt:

“Traditional Chinese religion revolved around veneration of the spirits of one’s ancestors. Daoism, which originated in China around the fourth century B.C., introduced practices of occult medicine and exorcism. Buddhism, which was brought to China by Indian missionaries around the first century A.D., added the idea of continuous rebirth and the retributive effects of Karma. Meanwhile, Confucianism’s emphasis on filial piety formalized ancestor worship as part of everyday life: ancestors who did not receive offerings of food and incense would become hungry and irritated in the netherworld. ‘Gods, ghosts, and ancestors are all connected in this world view,’ Lee told me. ‘Gods are exceptional historical human beings or ancestors who have become deified. Hungry ghosts are ancestors who have not been properly venerated.’ (Many Chinese communities annually celebrate the Hungry Ghost Festival, in order to feed and placate these disruptive spirits.)

In China, ghosts have been particularly integrated into social and administrative life. By the early twelfth century, Daoist exorcism rites used judicial language to interrogate and sentence troublesome ghosts. The founder of the Ming dynasty, the Hongwu emperor, issued a proclamation, in 1375, stipulating that ‘every county and village’ must have an altar for appeasing wandering ghosts, and that there should be one for every hundred households. As late as 1896, in a town in Fujian, city bureaucrats presided over a ritual to drive out the hungry ghosts of people who had been killed while fighting Japanese invaders in Manchuria.”

Frater Lux Ad Mundi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *