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一曰：鬼者、物也，與人無異。天地之間，有鬼之物，常在四邊之外，時往來中國，與人雜（則）〔廁〕，凶惡之類也， 故人病且死者乃見之。天地生物也，有人如鳥獸，及其生凶物，亦有似人象鳥獸者。故凶禍之家，或見蜚尸，或見走凶，或見人形，三者皆鬼也。 或謂之鬼，或謂之凶，或謂之魅，或謂之魑，皆生存實有，非虛無象類之也。何以明之？
天地之間，妖怪非一，言有妖，聲有妖，文有妖。或妖氣象人之形，或人含氣為妖。象人之形，諸所見鬼是也；人含氣為妖， 巫之類是也。是以實巫之辭，無所因據，其吉凶自從口出，若童之謠矣。童謠口自言，巫辭意自出。口自言，意自出，則其為人，與聲氣自立， 音聲自發，同一實也。
杜伯之（厲）〔屬〕為妖，則其弓矢、（投）〔杖〕、（措）〔楫〕皆妖毒也。妖象人之形， 其毒象人之兵。鬼、毒同色，故杜伯弓矢皆朱彤也。 毒象人之兵，則其中人，人輒死也。中人微者即為腓，病者不即時死。何則？腓者、毒氣所加也。
周宣王、燕簡公、宋夜姑時當死，故妖見毒因擊。晉惠公身當獲，命未死，故妖直見而毒不射。 然則杜伯、莊子義、厲鬼之見，周宣王、燕簡、夜姑且死之妖也。申生之出，晉惠公且見獲之妖也。伯有之夢，駟帶、公孫（） 〔段〕且卒之妖也。老父結草，魏顆且勝之祥，亦或時杜回見獲之妖也。蒼犬噬呂后，呂后且死，妖象犬形也。〔魏其、灌夫守武安〕， 武安且卒，妖象（竇嬰）〔魏其〕、灌夫之面也。
故凡世間所謂妖祥、所謂鬼神者，皆太陽之氣為之也。太陽之氣、天氣也。天能生人之體，故能象人之容。 夫人〔之〕所以生者，陰、陽氣也。陰氣主為骨肉，陽氣主為精神。人之生也，陰、陽氣具，故骨肉堅，精氣盛。精 氣為知，骨肉為強，故精神言談，形體固守。骨肉精神，合錯相持，故能常見而不滅亡也。
Chapter XVIII. All about Ghosts (Ting-kuei).
The ghosts that are in the world are not the vital spirits of the dead, they are evoked by intense thinking and meditating. Where do they originate?---With sick people. When people are sick, they are inclined to melancholy and easily frightened. In this state of mind they see ghosts appear. People who are not sick, are not apprehensive. Thus, when sick people lying on their pillows are haunted with fears, ghosts appear. Their fears set them pondering, and when they do so, their eyes have visions. How can we prove this?
Po Lo1 was learning to distinguish horses; everything he saw, when sight-seeing, took the form of horses. A cook in Sung was learning to dissect an ox. For three years he did not perceive a living ox, those he saw were all dead ones. 2 These two men strained their mental powers to the utmost. By dint of thinking and pondering they came to have strange visions. Sick men seeing ghosts are like Po Lo seeing horses or the cook seeing oxen. What Po Lo and the cook saw, were not real horses or oxen. Hence we know that the visions of the sick are not real ghosts either.
When sick people have a severe attack, and feel much pain in their bodies, they believe that ghosts with bamboos and sticks beat them, and have the impression that ghosts with hammers, locks, and cords are standing by their side, watching. These are empty visions caused by pain and fear. When they first feel ill, they become alarmed, and see ghosts coming. When their disease grows more violent, that they fear to die, they see the ghosts incensed, and, when they feel pain, they have the idea that the ghosts are beating them. It is nothing but the effect of too much pondering, but there is no reality.
When the vital fluid 3 is thinking or meditating, it flows into the eyes, the mouth, or the ears. When it flows into the eyes, the eyes see shapes, when it flows into the ears, the ears hear sounds, and, when it flows into the mouth, the mouth speaks something. At day-time ghosts appear, at night, during sleep, they are heard in dreams. If a person sleeping quite alone in a lonely house is nervous, he will see ghosts in his dreams, and, if anybody puts his hands on him, he will scream. What we see, while awake, or hear, while asleep, is all the work of our spirit, of fears and thoughts, which amounts to the same.
There is an opinion that, when people see ghosts, their vision and their sleep are disturbed. If during the day their vigour is worn out, and their vital force exhausted, they desire to sleep at night. While they are asleep, their vision is distorted, hence their spirit perceives the images of men and things. When a person is sick, his vigour is worn out, and his vital force exhausted likewise. Although his eyes may not be asleep, their seeing power is still more disturbed than if they were. Consequently they also behold the shapes of men and things.
The sick see things, as if they were asleep. If they were not like dreaming, they ought to know, when they see something, whether they are awake, or dreaming. Since they are unable to distinguish, whether, what they see, are ghosts or men, it is evident that their vital force is exhausted, and their vigour worn out. The following will corroborate this.
Madmen see ghosts. They are mentally deranged, speak to themselves, and keep away from sane people, all owing to the severe form of their disease, and the disturbance of their vital force. When people are sick, and about to die, they are very much like madmen. All the three states:---sleep, sickness, and insanity are accompanied by a decay of the vital force and a disturbance of vision. Hence all those people have visions of men and things.
Others say that ghosts are apparitions of the fluid of sickness. This fluid being stirred up strikes against other people, and by doing so becomes a ghost. It imitates the human shape, and becomes visible. Thus, when the fluid of very sick persons is in a state of excitement, it appears in human form, and the sick see it in this form. In case they fall sick in mountains and forests, the ghosts they see will be the essence of those mountains and forests, and, if their sickness breaks out in Yüeh, they will behold people of that country sitting by their side. Accordingly, ghosts like that of Kuan Fu and Tou Ying4 were apparitions of that particular time.
The fluid of this world is purest in heaven. The heavenly signs 5 present certain forms 6 above, and their fluid descends, and produces things. When the fluid is harmonious in itself, it produces and develops things, when it is not, it does injury. First it takes a form in heaven, then it descends, and becomes corporeal on earth. Hence, when ghosts appear, they are made of this stellar fluid. The bodies of the stars form men, beasts, and birds. Consequently sick people see the shapes of men, beasts, and birds.
Some maintain that ghosts are the essence of old creatures. When creatures grow old, their essence forms a human being, but there are also those, which by their nature can be transformed, before they are old, and then take a human shape. If the fluid a man is endowed with, is the same as the essence of another creature, 7 there will be some relation between him and this creature, and, when it becomes sick, and its vital fluid begins to decline, it falls in with that person as a ghost. How can we prove that?
Those creatures which people usually have to do with, appear to them as ghosts, for what difference is there between the ghosts seen by sick people and those sick creatures? If people see ghosts resembling a dead man in his grave, who is coming to meet and call them, it is one of the domestic animals in their houses. If they see other ghosts, unknown to them previously, those ghosts are caused by other people's animals e. g. those in the open fields.
According to another opinion ghosts originally live in men, and, when they cease to be men, they are transformed and disappear. The organisation of the universe is such, that these transformations take place indeed, but the votaries of Taoism cannot discuss this subject. 8
That which assaults men, is sickness. Sick people are doomed to die, but the deceased do not give up all intercourse with men. This will become clearer from the following:
The Liki tells us that Chuan Hsü9 had three sons living who, when they died, became the ghosts of epidemics. One living in the water of the Yangtse, became the Ghost of Fever, the second in the Jo10 was a Water Spirit, the third, dwelling in the corners of palaces and houses, and in damp store-rooms, would frighten children. 11 Anterior to Chuan Hsü's time there have been more sons living, consequently there must have been hundreds of spirits like those of Chuan Hsü's time. All spirits and ghosts possess a body, and there is a method to make them stand upright. Those who meet with people have all lived in good men, and acquired their fluid, hence in their appearance they are like good men. That which can injure the good is the fluctuating Yang and Yin fluid, as a fluid like that of the clouds and vapours it could not do so.
Another idea is that ghosts are the spirits of the first and second cyclical signs. 12 These spirits are a peculiar fluid of heaven. In their shapes they appear like human beings. When a man is sick, and about to die, the spirit of the first and second day makes its appearance. Provided that somebody falls sick on the first or second day, he will perhaps see the spirit of the seventh or eighth, when he dies. Why? Because the ghost of the first and second day is the messenger of the seventh and eighth, therefore the person is taken ill on the first and second, and when his end is near, and the ghost that destroys him appears, it is the spirit of the seventh and eighth. This is evident from the fact that for a malady, that broke out on the first or second day, the crisis which decides on life and death, sets in on the seventh or the eighth.
Critics do not accept this view as correct. However, the ways of Heaven are difficult to understand, and ghosts and spirits abscond and hide. Therefore I have noted all the different opinions, that my contemporaries may judge for themselves.
Some say that ghosts are creatures in no way different from men. There are spiritual beings in the world, usually staying beyond the frontiers, but from time to time coming to China, and mixing with men. These are malignant and wicked spirits, hence they appear to men, who are sick, and going to die. As a being created in this world man is like a beast or a bird. When demons are created, they also resemble men, or are like beasts or birds. Thus, unhappy families see corpses flying about, or crawling demons, or beings like men. All three are ghosts, they may be styled ghosts or demons, goblius or devils. They really exist, as long as they are, and are not empty, formless beings. How do we know?
Commonly people who will be visited with misfortune see a ray of light descending on their homes, or they perceive something having the shape of a bird flitting several times into their hall, but on looking carefully, they discover that it is not like a bird, or an animal. Creatures having a body can eat; by eating they acquire activity, and, if they give signs of activity, their body must be real.
Tso Ch`iu Ming says in his Ch`un-ch`iu:13 ---"They were banished into the four frontier States to repulse the goblins and devils," 14 and the Shan-hai-king reports that in the North there is the Kingdom of the Ghosts. 15 They say that goblins are dragon-like creatures. Devils are also related to dragons, therefore they must resemble dragons. Moreover, a kingdom is defined as a congregation of men and other creatures.
The Shan-hai-king also relates that in the midst of the Green Ocean there is the Tu So Mountain, on which grows an enormous peach-tree. Its girth measures 3,000 Li. Between its boughs to the north-east there is the so-called door of the ghosts, where the ten thousand ghosts pass in and out. On the tree there are two spirits, one called Shên Shu, the other Yü Lü, who have the superintendence over all the ghosts. They bind the wicked ones, who have wrought evil, with reeds, and feed the tigers with them.
Subsequently Huang Ti worshipped for the purpose of expelling the ghosts for ever. He erected a huge human figure of peach-wood and painted Shên Shu and Yü Lü along with tigers and cords of reeds hanging down on the house-doors, and thus frightened them away. 16
Malignant devils have bodies, therefore they can be caught hold of, and thrown as food to tigers. Being eatable creatures, they cannot be unsubstantial or unreal. Yet these creatures have a different nature from that of man. Sometimes they are visible, sometimes hidden. In this respect they do not differ from dragons, which are not always visible either.
Some people hold that anterior to a man's fortune or misfortune lucky or unlucky apparitions become visible, and that, when a man is approaching his death, a great many miracles appear to him. Ghosts belong to these miracles. When apparitions and miracles come forth, they take human form, or they imitate the human voice to respond. Once moved, they do not give up human shape.
Between heaven and earth there are many wonders, in words, in sound, and in writing. Either does the miraculous fluid assume a human shape, or a man has it in himself, and performs the miracles. The ghosts, which appear, are all apparitions in human shape. Men doing wonders with the fluid in them are sorcerers. Real sorcerers have no basis for what they say, and yet their lucky or unlucky prophecies fall from their lips spontaneously like the quaint sayings of boys. The mouth of boys utters those quaint sayings spontaneously, and the idea of their oration comes to wizards spontaneously. The mouth speaks of itself, and the idea comes of itself. Thus the assumption of human form by the miracles, and their sounds are spontaneous, and their words come forth of their own accord. It is the same thing in both cases.
They say that during the time of Chou,17 ghosts cried at night out-side the city, and that when T`sang Hsieh18 invented the art of writing, ghosts wept at night likewise. If the fluid can imitate human sounds, and weep, it can also imitate the human shape, and appear in such a form, that by men it is looked upon as a ghost.
A ghost that appears is an evil omen to somebody. When in this world fortune or misfortune approach, they are always accompanied by portents. These come slowly, not suddenly, and not in great numbers. According to the laws of nature, when a man is going to die, an unlucky phantom comes forth also, and, when a State is going to perish, an evil portent becomes visible. Conversely, when somebody is going to prosper, there are lucky omens, and, when a State is going to flourish, there are signs indicating this prosperity beforehand. Good and bad omens or portents are the same thing after all.
Now, however, the general belief is that ghosts are not a kind of portents, but spirits, which can hurt people. One does not understand the nature of portents, nor pay attention to the transformations undergone by the fluid of creatures. When a State is near its ruin, and a phantom appears, it is not this phantom which ruins the State. When a man is near his end, and a ghost comes forward, the ghost does not cause his death. Weapons destroy the State, and diseases kill man, as the following example will show:
When Duke Hsiang of Ch`i was going to be killed by robbers, he travelled in Ku-fên, and subsequently hunted in Pei-ch`iu,19 where he beheld a big hog. His followers said:---"Prince P`êng Shêng!" 20 The duke got angry, and said, "P`êng Shêng dares to show himself?" Then he pulled his bow, and shot the hog, which rose like a man, and howled. The duke became so panic-stricken, that he fell down in his carriage, hurt his foot, and lost one shoe. 21 Afterwards he was assassinated by robbers.
Those who killed duke Hsiang were robbers, the big hog which appeared on the road previous, was a portent indicating duke Hsiang's impending death. People called it P`êng Shêng, because it resembled him. Everybody knows that duke Hsiang was not killed by the hog. Therefore it would also be a great error to assert that ghosts can kill men.
The fluid of the universe which forms phantoms foreboding evil is the solar fluid. Phantoms are the same as poison. That part of the fluid which injures man, is called poison, that which is being transformed, a phantom. People say that the quaint dittes of boys are due to the influence of the Glimmering Star 22 upon men. There is truth in these words. The Glimmering Star is the Fire Star (the planet Mars). Fire has a poisonous glare. Therefore, when Mars reigns in the sky during the night, it means a disaster and defeat for a State.
The fluid of fire flickers up and down, and so phantoms are at one time visible, at another not. A dragon is an animal resorting from the Yang principle, therefore it can always change. A ghost is the Yang fluid, therefore it now appears, and then absconds. The Yang fluid is red, hence the ghosts seen by people have all a uniform crimson colour. Flying demons are Yang, which is fire. Consequently flying demons shine like fire. Fire is hot and burning, hence the branches and leaves of trees, on which those demons alight, wither and die.
In the Hung-fan of the Shuking the second of the five elements is called fire, and the second of the five businesses speech. 23 Speech and fire are the same essence, therefore the ditties of boys and ballads are weird sayings. 24 The words come forth, and a composition is completed. Thus there are always writings full of the supernatural. They say that boys are of the Yang fluid, 25 hence the weird sayings come from small boys. 26 Boys and sorcerers have the Yang fluid in them, therefore at the great rain sacrifice in summer boys must dance, and sorcerers are exposed to the sun. According to the rites of this sacrifice the Yin principle, which has separated, is united with the Yang principle. 27
In the same manner at an eclipse of the sun, when the Yin predominates, 28 an attack is made on the Yin of the land. As during an eclipse, while the Yin reigns supreme, everything belouging to the Yin fluid is being assaulted, so at the time of a drought, when the Yang is in the ascendant, the indignation is directed against all allies of the Yang. Sorcerers belong to this class. Therefore, when Duke Hsi of Lu29 was visited with a drought, he had resolved to burn all the sorcerers. The sorcerers being imbued with the Yang fluid, there are for this reason a great many sorcerers in the Yang region (the South). 30 The sorcerers are related to ghosts, accordingly sorcerers have something diabolical.
These sorcerers bear a certain resemblance to the boys singing those quaint ditties. The real sorcerers know how to determine luck and misfortune. Being able to do that, they are the messengers of fate. 31
Thus the phantom of Shên Shêng32 appeared in a sorcerer. Since they are filled with the Yang fluid, phantoms can appear in sorcerers. As Shên Shêng appeared as a phantom, we may infer that the Marquis of Tu,33Chuang Tse Yi,34 and the malignant ghost 35 were likewise phantoms.
As the discontented spirit of the Marquis of Tu was a phantom, the bow and arrows used by him were the poison of this phantom. The phantoms assuming human shape, their poisou must have resembled human weapons. The ghosts and their poison being of the same colour, the bow and arrows of the Marquis of Tu were all red. The poison was like a weapon used by man, therefore, when it hit a man, he died, when it hit him but slightly, he faded away, but did not die at once. His incurable disease was the effect of the poison.
Phantoms either emit their poison, but do not show themselves, or they show themselves, but do not emit any poison, or they produce sounds, which, however, do not form any words, or they make known their thoughts, but do not know their sounds. Shên Shêng showed himself and pronounced words, the Marquis of Tu became visible, and sent forth his poison. Queer songs, the ditties of boys, and the words on stones are thoughts uttered. 36 The music of the harp on the P`u River 37 and the wails of the ghosts in the suburb of Chou38 were sounds produced.
At the appearance of ill omens, either mishap is impending, and the omens appear in advance, or misfortune comes, and is accompanied by those omens. In that case omens and poison are both at work. When omens appear beforehand, they cannot be poisonous. Shên Shêng was an omen seen before, the discontented ghosts of the Marquis of Tu and Chuang Tse I were phantoms appearing simultaneously with misfortune.
When King Hsüan of Chou, Duke Chien of Yen,39 and Yeh Ku of Sung40 were going to die, ill omens appeared, and the poison hit them. When Duke Hui of Chin was to be captured, 41 but not yet to die, merely a phantom made its appearance, but no poison shot forth. The appearance of the Earl of Tu, Chuang Tse I, and the discontented spirit however, were ill omens, announcing the impending deaths of King Hsüan of Chou, Chien of Yen, and Yeh Ku. Shên Shêng coming forward was an omen indicative of the captivity of Duke Hui of Chin. By Po Yu appearing in people's dream the deceases of Sse Tai and Kung Sun Tuan were foreshadowed. 42 The knitting of grass by the old man was an auspicious portent for the victory of Wei K`o, and for the capture of Tu Hui at that time. 43 The grey dog, by which the Empress Lü Hou was bitten, was the shape of a phantom showing that her death was near. 44 When the Marquis of Wu-an was near his end, the portents had the mien of Tou Ying and Kuan Fu.45
In short, what we call lucky or unlucky omens, ghosts and spirits, are all produced by the solar fluid. The solar fluid is identical with the heavenly fluid. As Heaven can create the body of man, it can also imitate his appearance. That by which man is born are the Yang and the Yin fluids, the Yin fluid produces his bones and flesh, the Yang fluid, the vital spirit. While man is alive, the Yang and Yin fluids are in order. Hence bones and flesh are strong, and the vital force is full of vigour. Through this vital force he has knowledge, and with his bones and flesh he displays strength. The vital spirit can speak, the body continues strong and robust. While bones and flesh, and the vital spirit are entwined and linked together, they are always visible, and do not perish.
When the solar fluid is powerful, but devoid of the Yin, it can merely produce a semblance, but no body. Being nothing but the vital fluid without bones or flesh, it is vague and diffuse, and when it appears, it is soon extinguished again.
1. A somewhat legendary character, mentioned by Chuang Tse chap. 9, p. 1.
2. For more details on this famous cook or butcher see Chuang Tse chap. 3, p. 1.
3. We might translate mental fluid, for here the mental functions of the vital fluid are referred to, which is the bearer of life as well as the originator of mind, animus and anima.
4. See p. 217.
5. The stars.
6. The constellations.
7. This seems to refer to the animals connected with the twelve cyclical signs (cf. p. 106). A man born under one of these signs is supposed to have been imbued with the same essence as the corresponding animal has.
8. Their views are too phantastic, as can be seen from their works.
9. A legendary ruler of the 26th cent. b.c.
10. According to the "Water Classic" a river in the south-east of China.
11. This passage is not to be found in our Liki. According to the Pei-wênyün-fu it is contained in the Sou-shen-chi (4th cent. a.d.).
12. The signs chia and yi.
13. In his commentary to the Ch`un-ch`iu, the Tso-ch`uan.
14. Four wicked princes were cast out by Shun into the four distant regions. which were believed to be inhabited by devils. Tso-ch`uan, Duke Wen 18th year (Legge, Classics Vol. V, Pt. I, p. 283).
15. Cf. Shan-hai-king XII, 1.
16. According to the Fêng-su-t`ung of the 2nd cent. a.d. this story is narrated in the Huang Ti shu, the Book of Huang Ti. On New-year's Eve the pictures of Shên Shu and Yü Lü are still at present pasted on the doorways as a talisman against evil spirits.
18. A legendary personage.
19. Two places in the Ch`i State, in Shantung.
20. Prince P`êng Shêng was a half-brother of Duke Hsiang of Ch`i, who employed him to murder his brother-in-law, the duke of Lu. The people of Ch`i put P`êng Shêng to death. Cf. Tso-ch`uan, Duke Huan 18th year (693 b.c.).
21. Quoted from the Tso-ch`uan, Duke Chuang 8th year, corresponding to 685 b.c.
23. Shuking, Hung-fan Pt. V, Bk, IV, 5 and 6 (Legge Vol. III, Pt. II, p. 325 and 326).
24. All weird things are manifestations of the Yang, the solar fluid, which is fiery.
25. The Yang principle is male.
26. The Chinese believe that popular songs and sayings foretelling future events, of which they have collections, are supernatural inspirations or revelations. Hence they bring them into connection with ghosts or supernatural beings. Wang Ch`ung falls back on the Yang principle as the origin of those quaint ditties.
27. The Yin fluid is the rain.
28. The sun is eclipsed by the moon, which belongs to the Yin fluid.
29. 659-626 b.c.
30. The South is the land of the sun, the Yang principle.
31. The foregoing futile speculations are based on the gratuitous analogies, in which Chinese natural philosophers, starting from the Yi-king, indulge.
32. Heir-apparent to Duke Hsien of the Chin State, by whom he was put to death in 654 b.c. We learn from the Tso-ch`uan, 10th year of Duke Hsi, that in 649 the ghost of the murdered prince appeared to an officer of Chin, and spoke to him. He told him that in seven days he would have a new interview with him through a wizard, and that he would take his revenge on Duke Hui of Chin. Cf. p. 203.
33. The Earl of Tu had been unjustly put to death by King Hsüan of the Chou dynasty, 826-780 b.c. According to a legend the ghost of the murdered man appeared to the king while hunting. He was dressed in red, and carried a red bow and red arrows. One of these arrows he shot through the king's heart, who died on the spot. Cf. Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. I, p. 278 Note 2. Vid. also p. 202.
34. See p. 202.
35. By which Yeh Ku of Sung was killed. Cf. chap. XLI.
36. The thoughts of ghosts, uttered through the mouth of boys, singing queer songs, or mysteriously written on stones.
37. Cf. p. 220.
38. See above p. 244.
39. Duke Chien of Yen, 503-491 b.c. I, p. 382 speaks of Duke Chien of Chao and Lun-hêng Bk. IV, p. 5 of Viscount Chien of Chao.
40. See chap. XLI.
41. Duke Hui of Chin, 649-635 b.c. In 644 the duke was taken prisoner by Ch`in.
42. Cf. p. 208.
43. Wei K`o was a commander of the forces of Chin in the 6th cent. b.c., with which he worsted those of the Ch`in State, and took their strongest man, Tu Hui, prisoner. He was supported during the battle by an old man twisting the grass in such a way as to impede the movements of his enemies. This old man was the spirit of the father of a concubine of Wei K`o's father, whom he had saved from death. Out of gratitude for the kindness shown to his daughter the spirit thus contributed to his victory and to the capture of Tu Hui. Cf. p. 211.
44. Vid. Shi-chi chap. 9, p. 8v. The Empress Lü Hou was bitten by a grey dog, which suddenly vanished. The diviners declared it to have been the phantom of Ju I, Prince of Chao, whom Lü Hou had assassinated. Lü Hou died of the bite.
45. T`ien Fên, Marquis of Wu-an, a minister of the Emperor Han Wu Ti had in 140 b.c. caused the death of his predecessor and rival Tou Ying. The ghost of the latter appeared to him, when he was about to die. The general Kuan Fu's death was likewise the work of T`ien Fên. Cf. p. 217.
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