Chi in other Cultures


The idea of Chi is not unique to the Chinese. Nearly every culture in the world has a word to express this concept. Dr. John Mann arid Larry Short, authors of The Body of Light, count 49 cultures around the world that articulate the concept of Chi in one form or another. In Hebrew, the word is Ruach, and it appears in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The world was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Ruach [spirit, wind, or breath] of God was moving over the face of the waters.--Genesis 1:1-2. Ruach was present at the creation of the universe, even before light. The term means Breath of God or Divine Breath.

In Japanese, the term Ki expands the concept of Chi to include the Chinese idea of Yi or intention, indicating that our mind or will is a major influence governing the movement of Chi, which is very important in meditation and in the martial arts.


In Sanskrit, the word for Chi is Prana. The Tibetan word is Lung. In Lakota Sioux it is known as Neyatoneyah. The Bush People of the Kalahari speak of it as Num, which means Boiling Energy. In the Islamic world Chi is referred to as Barraka. Although many cultures possess an awareness of Chi, the Chinese have refined this concept and integrated it into their culture to an unparalleled degree. Chi is a pivotal factor in Chinese medicine, martial arts, meditation, science, painting, calligraphy, architecture, interior design, and poetry.  

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