While all variants of Chinese religion assume the existence of one or more “souls” (ling-hun), very little has been said about what these “souls” are or how the concept varies from one religious tradition to another. This article explores the “soul” in the folk variant of Chinese religion, arguing that while the “soul” may be conceived as multiple in abstract, theoretical discussions, people actually behave as if the “soul” were a single entity. To show what this entity is, the contexts in which the “soul” can be described clearly, i.e., those contexts in which it is separated from the body, are enumerated. The image that emerges of the “soul” indicates that the Chinese concept ling-hun has a dual nature that incorporates the cultural aspect of being human and the individual personality.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.