Confucianism, the Literati, and Chinese Imperial Traditions

Customs and Rituals

Do Confucianism and CIT consider the practice of divination essential?

Two types of divination have been important ingredients in the ritual life of both Confucianism and CIT. As in Daoism and CCT, the practice of geomancy (Earth-prognostication) called feng shui has always been a necessary prerequisite for the siting and planning of all structures, from the humblest home to the grandest temple or palace. Those contemplating any building project would enlist a specialist in feng shui for a thorough reading of the natural characteristics of the proposed site. For more detail on the practice, see the section on Daoism, page 325. In addition, people from the emperor on down regularly consulted specialists in interpreting the oracles of the Yi Jing, the Classic of Change, before undertaking any significant course of action. The imperial staff included experts in divination who could be consulted on short notice. Such specialists were not specifically members of the Literati or Confucian hierarchies, but their services were generally regarded as indispensable.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Religion Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App