Daoism and Cct

Religious Beliefs

Do Daoists and practitioners of CCT believe in demons or devils?

Demonic forces abound in the spiritual universe of millions of Chinese. Many demons are the unsettled spirits of the dead who roam the world in search of an elusive contentment. Some demons can herald good tidings, but most are disgruntled and thirsty for vengeance. Evil spirits, or gui, belong to a large category distinguished from an equally large category of generally benevolent beings called shen, a category that includes both deities and ancestral spirits. One of the essential features of Chinese thought on these matters is the notion that there are several different kinds of soul or spirit. The heavenly “Yang soul” (called hun) rises at death to become a shen and abides from then on in Heaven and in the ancestral tablets that have a prominent place on every home altar. The earthly “Fin soul” (called po) returns to the grave with the body. Under certain circumstances, the po takes a negative turn and becomes an evil spirit, a gui, destined to create havoc for the living. Some of these evil spirits can be particularly dangerous, but unlike the “devils” of some other traditions, the gui are not particularly noted for their role in tempting humans to sin.


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