Sacred Custodians of the Earth? Women, Spirituality, and the Environment

By Alaine Low; Soraya Tremayne | Go to book overview

12
Nature, Holism and
Ecofeminism: A Chinese
Worldview

Stewart McFarlane

When environmental issues are discussed in a cross-cultural or religious context, it has become almost commonplace to cite ancient Chinese values as providing a model for a balanced understanding of human interdependence with the natural and cosmic order. The traditional Chinese concern with harmonizing the personal, social, natural and cosmic, in terms of yin-yang and the notion of a universal energy, are frequently elaborated as contributing to a deeper ecological understanding. Sophisticated traditional techniques for establishing harmony, such as Chinese medicine, feng shui (geomancy), ch’i kung and T’ai chi ch’uan/Tai ji quan and use of the Yi Ching as a book of wisdom, combine to form a compelling picture of an alternative to Western methods of dominance and technical dependence.


The Main Features of the Traditional
Chinese Worldview

An important feature of the fundamental categories of Chinese naturalistic thought is that they are describing the functions of things, events and processes rather than their ultimate metaphysical natures. Spirituality is not the concern. Chinese thought tends to deal with processes in concrete and functional terms rather than abstract ones. It also tends to avoid fragmenting characteristics, and instead emphasizes their fluidity, interdependence and relationship.

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