Myth Buster 39: The Number Four Brings Death!

Published December 14, 2015 by jptan2012

Today, allow me to talk about a very popular Chinese belief that the number four (4) causes death.

A lot of Chinese believes that the number 4 brings death; this belief is so strong that a lot of buildings don’t have the 4th floor. So from 3rd floor it skips to 5th floor, totally taking out the fourth floor. Likewise, they won’t have the fourteenth (14th) floor, twenty-fourth (24th) floor and so on.

Is there truth to this? Well, unlike with other Myth Busters that I have written, the answer to this is quite not straight forward because strictly speaking there is no truth to this, but sometimes this can be true. Before you get confuse, please allow me to explain.

fourth floor

Don’t be surprised not to see the 4th floor botton in an elevator. Because a lot of Chinese – owned building purposely take out the 4th floor and skips to 5th floor for fear that havng a 4th floor brings death to the occupant of that particular floor.

If you look at the Feng Shui flying star, the number four (#4) flying star is the romance and literary star. Meaning it is the star that brings romance luck and literary luck or education luck. So strictly speaking base on the flying star formula of Feng Shui there is no truth to the belief that number 4 brings death.

In Buddhism and Taoism, there is real significance of the number 4. The only closest thing that I can think of that signifies the number four is the Four Great Bodhisattvas of Chinese Buddhism, which are Kuan Yin Bodhisattva also known as Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva or Chenrezig Bodhisattva, Earth Store Bodhisattva also known Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, and Manjushri Bodhisattva. Obviously, they have nothing to do with bringing bad luck or death.

So where this did belief comes from? And why can’t I categorically say that there is no truth to this belief?

I have written, more than once, the story about Mao Zedong’s fake Feng Shui experts. They are the ones who propagated the belief that the North is always the worst part of the house. I have written about this in the following posts:

It is also at the same time that the belief that the number 4 in an address or a building (as one of the floors) is bad luck. Why? As mentioned before, Mao Zedong and those that followed didn’t want the people to practice Feng Shui for fear that it might be used to the disadvantage of those in the government. So what they did is that they prohibited all Feng Shui masters to practice Feng Shui. Several of them were in captured and brought to labor camps for ‘reeducation’. And because the public can’t be stopped from wanting to practice Feng Shui, the Chinese government released their own fake Feng Shui masters and that brought out a lot of simplistic Feng Shui principles that are totally baseless. One of which is that the North being the worst side, and number 4 or having a 4th floor is really bad because four in Chinese Mandarin and Han Chinese, which is the dominant ethnic group, sounds like or sounds very similar to the word death.

But does this carry some truth? Direct answer is no. Nevertheless, this belief became so ingrained in people’s mind that sometimes by sheer of strong belief and power of the believing mind, death does occur.

So how does one counteract this? Simple, simple know that there is no truth to this.

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