Culture Shock! China - A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette, 2nd Edition

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154 CultureShock! China

medicine, as well as in some forms of Chinese martial arts.
For example, the popular form of excercise, tai chi, originates
from this concept.

Feng Shui
A popular concept driven from Daoist thought is feng shui—the
Chinese art of positioning objects in buildings, homes and gardens
based upon the belief in the positive and negative effects of balance
and qi. Composed of the Chinese words for wind and water, feng shui
(pronounced ‘fung shway’) is the ancient Chinese art of recognising
and utilising the relationship between one’s harmony, health and
prosperity, and the physical placement and layout of objects within
a space.


Non-native to China, Buddhism is modern China’s main
religion. It is generally believed to have come to China during
the Han Dynasty in AD 67, and that its entry point was Xinjiang.
There are three different forms of Buddhism practised in
China today: Han, Tibetan and Southern Buddhism.

Han Buddhism

Buddhism during the Han Dynasty was regarded as having its
basis in magic in much the same way as Daoism, and it first
took root among members of the royal family and aristocracy.
During the Jin Dyansty, Buddhism became popularised
among ordinary people. This lead to the emergence of a new
social class, the scholar-bureaucrat, who brought together the
established, popular metaphysics and Buddhist doctrines.
The art and writings of that time can still be observed when
visiting Longmen Grottoes and Yungang Caves.
At about this time, Bodhidharma, the originator of Zen
Buddhism, spent time in the Shaolin Temple, famous in
modern time for its fighting monks. Many of the temples,
pagodas and sacred mountains that can be visited across
China trace their origin to this time. Buddhism permeated
through daily life and had a profound impact on architecture,
painting, sculpture, music and literature. It also is the root of
many colloquial phrases and parables.
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