Help please - Fortune Telling

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GrahamR
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Help please - Fortune Telling

Postby GrahamR » Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:36 pm

Help please!

I know that generally Buddhist teaching is opposed to fortune telling.

I am aware of a scriptural reference to the role of a fortune teller being inappropriate for a monk, but are there any references in scripture regarding fortune telling and the laity?

Can anyone help please?

With metta,
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Graham
With metta :bow:
Graham

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Re: Help please - Fortune Telling

Postby clw_uk » Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:50 pm

I dont know if there are any suttas that deal with lay people doing these things but my understanding is that the buddha considered fourtune telling and the like as useless and not worth anyone engaging in them.

:namaste:
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: Help please - Fortune Telling

Postby piotr » Thu Jan 22, 2009 9:52 pm

Hi,

the closest I've ever encountered was Caṇḍāla-sutta (AN 5.175). What bhante Ṭhānissaro translates as "protective charms & ceremonies" (i.e. maṅgala) can also mean "good omen".
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

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Re: Help please - Fortune Telling

Postby clw_uk » Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:40 pm

"Whereas some religious men, while living of food provided by the faithful make their living by such low arts, such wrong means of livelihood as palmistry, divining by signs, interpreting dreams... bringing good or bad luck... invoking the goodness of luck... picking the lucky site for a building, the monk Gotama refrains from such low arts, such wrong means of livelihood."


While this refers to things the buddha doesnt do it still applies to lay people as well as the bhikkhus. As stated they are wrong livelihood, thus engaging in them breaks a part of the Noble Eightfold Path, Right livelihood.

Just another note, these professions are based around certain notions of luck etc but the Buddhadhamma doesnt include notions of luck. Everything has a cause.
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: Help please - Fortune Telling

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:33 am

Hi Craig,

clw_uk wrote:While this refers to things the buddha doesnt do it still applies to lay people as well as the bhikkhus. As stated they are wrong livelihood, thus engaging in them breaks a part of the Noble Eightfold Path, Right livelihood.


The Sutta doesn't say that: the issue is right livelihood for a homeless ascetic who is dependent on alms. Given that several of the occupations judged improper for such a person are innocuous things such as running errands or practising medicine, there is no reason to think that the list was intended to apply to householders. If one wants to argue that fortune-telling and the like are improper for a householder one will have to draw from some other source than the Brahmajāla Sutta. (I don't think you'll find very much).

Just another note, these professions are based around certain notions of luck etc but the Buddhadhamma doesnt include notions of luck. Everything has a cause.


Some entail notions of luck etc.; some don't (or at least don't necessarily entail it. Interpreting dreams, for example — the suttas state that some dreams are messages from devas).

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,

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Help please - Fortune Telling

Postby GrahamR » Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:51 am

Dear all

Many thanks for the help and advice.

Just a word of explaination, my wife, whilst generally quite a conservative Buddhist, is a half Chinese Thai and unfortunately takes fortune telling all too seriously, sometimes to the disruption of normal life.

As far as I am concerned, fortune telling and the laws of Kamma are mutually exclusive.

With metta,
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Graham
With metta :bow:
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Re: Help please - Fortune Telling

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:06 am

Greetings Graham,

Just a quick thought that hasn't been mentioned thus far... if someone who is "fortune telling" knows that they are a fraud then this livelihood would entail wrong speech, plus a violation of the 'taking that which is not given' precept.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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Re: Help please - Fortune Telling

Postby Placid-pool » Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:39 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Graham,

Just a quick thought that hasn't been mentioned thus far... if someone who is "fortune telling" knows that they are a fraud then this livelihood would entail wrong speech, plus a violation of the 'taking that which is not given' precept.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Hmm - but what about people that do fortune telling and believe that they are helping people and doing their best to show their "clients" the options and consequences open to them?

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Re: Help please - Fortune Telling

Postby GrahamR » Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:46 pm

Hmm - but what about people that do fortune telling and believe that they are helping people and doing their best to show their "clients" the options and consequences open to them?


Hi

I agree, but that's a big 'if' that is what they are doing.

The point for me is if ones life is laid out at birth because of ones stars or palm or what ever, then there is no free will and the Laws of Kamma inoperable.

In my view the Laws of Kamma and therefore Buddhism are diametically opposed to any form of divination.

With Metta :bow:

Graham
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Re: Help please - Fortune Telling

Postby Placid-pool » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:01 pm

Oh dear - that's a common misconception - that prediction means that life is laid out and one can't escape one's destiny. Far from it - people are given choices every day and each choice means a change of direction, no matter how minor.

The purpose of real fortune telling (as opposed to quackery and fraud) is to show the "client" what their inclinations might be, what the consequences might be of a certain decision, to warn them of things that they might not be aware (such as colleagues plotting against them at work) - it's never about "this is what is going to happen" and much more about "this is what you will feel like doing and if you do, then this will be the outcome but you do have other options, which you ought to look at, and this person might help you or don't trust this person"

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Help please - Fortune Telling

Postby GrahamR » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:35 pm

Placid-pool wrote:Oh dear - that's a common misconception - that prediction means that life is laid out and one can't escape one's destiny. Far from it - people are given choices every day and each choice means a change of direction, no matter how minor.

The purpose of real fortune telling (as opposed to quackery and fraud) is to show the "client" what their inclinations might be, what the consequences might be of a certain decision, to warn them of things that they might not be aware (such as colleagues plotting against them at work) - it's never about "this is what is going to happen" and much more about "this is what you will feel like doing and if you do, then this will be the outcome but you do have other options, which you ought to look at, and this person might help you or don't trust this person"


Hi

Unfortunately that's not what my wife believes, to her horoscopes are very important and that one's future is based on the date and time of birth.

The fortune tellers she has been to did not give options as you suggest, but told her for example that she will be a widow. I suppose there is a good chance of that as I'm older, but then again you never know.

Her sister went to one and was told she was posessed by ghosts. The only option was to go every year and have a ceremony - at the cost of a weeks wages. This has caused the whole family a great deal of distress.

Sounds like they've been to the quackery and fraud type. What would your view be of this type of prediction please?

With Metta

:bow: Graham
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Re: Help please - Fortune Telling

Postby clw_uk » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:37 pm

Seems like the fortune teller is a proponent of fate, something which is non-buddhist.
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: Help please - Fortune Telling

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:16 pm

Hi Graham,

GrahamR wrote:In my view the Laws of Kamma and therefore Buddhism are diametically opposed to any form of divination.


I would say that they are opposed only to those forms of divination that are based upon some wrong view, such as fatalism. But as Placid Pool noted, 'fate' and suchlike are not invariably the ideological basis of divination methods. Moreover there are suttas which appear to give an implicit nod to at least some forms of divination.

    From the Nalaka Sutta

    Asita the seer, in his mid-day meditation,
    saw the devas of the Group of Thirty
    — exultant, ecstatic —
    dressed in pure white, honoring Indra,
    holding up banners, cheering wildly,
    & on seeing the devas so joyful & happy,
    having paid his respects, he said:

    "Why is the deva community
    so wildly elated?
    Why are they holding up banners
    & waving them around?
    Even after the war with the Asuras
    — when victory was the devas'.
    the Asuras defeated —
    even then there was no excitement like this.
    Seeing what marvel
    are the devas so joyful?
    They shout,
    they sing,
    play music,
    clap their hands,
    dance.
    So I ask you, who live on Mount Meru's summit.
    Please dispel my doubt quickly, dear sirs."

    "The Bodhisatta, the foremost jewel,
    unequaled,
    has been born for welfare & ease
    in the human world,
    in a town in the Sakyan countryside,
    Lumbini.
    That's why we're all so wildly elated.
    He, the highest of all beings,
    the ultimate person,
    a bull among men, foremost of all people,
    will set turning the Wheel [of Dhamma]
    in the grove named after the seers,
    like a strong, roaring lion,
    the conqueror of beasts."

    Hearing these words,
    Asita quickly descended [from heaven]
    and went to Suddhodana's dwelling.
    There, taking a seat, he said to the Sakyans:
    "Where is the prince?
    I, too, want to see him."
    The Sakyans then showed
    to the seer named Asita
    their son, the prince,
    like gold aglow,
    burnished by a most skillful smith
    in the mouth of the furnace,
    blazing with glory, flawless in color.
    On seeing the prince blazing like flame,
    pure like the bull of the stars
    going across the sky
    — the burning sun,
    released from the clouds of autumn —
    he was exultant, filled with abundant rapture.
    The devas held in the sky
    a many-spoked sunshade
    of a thousand circles.
    Gold-handled whisks
    waved up & down,
    but those holding the whisks & the sunshade
    couldn't be seen.
    The matted-haired seer
    named Dark Splendor,
    seeing the boy, like an ornament of gold
    on the red woolen blanket,
    a white sunshade held over his head,
    received him, happy & pleased.
    And on receiving the bull of the Sakyans,
    longingly, the master of mantras & signs
    exclaimed with a confident mind:
    "This one is unsurpassed,
    the highest of the biped race."
    Then, foreseeing his own imminent departure,
    he, dejected, shed tears.
    On seeing him weeping,
    the Sakyans asked:
    "But surely there will be
    no danger for the prince?"
    On seeing the Sakyans' concern
    he replied, "I foresee for the prince
    no harm.
    Nor will there be any danger for him.
    This one isn't lowly: be assured.
    This prince will touch
    the ultimate self-awakening.
    He, seeing the utmost purity,
    will set rolling the Wheel of Dhamma
    through sympathy for the welfare of many.
    His holy life will spread far & wide.
    But as for me,
    my life here has no long remainder;
    my death will take place before then.
    I won't get to hear
    the Dhamma of this one with the peerless role.
    That's why I'm stricken,
    afflicted, & pained."
    (Thanissaro trans.)

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,

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Re: Help please - Fortune Telling

Postby Placid-pool » Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:05 pm

GrahamR wrote:
Placid-pool wrote:Oh dear - that's a common misconception - that prediction means that life is laid out and one can't escape one's destiny. Far from it - people are given choices every day and each choice means a change of direction, no matter how minor.

The purpose of real fortune telling (as opposed to quackery and fraud) is to show the "client" what their inclinations might be, what the consequences might be of a certain decision, to warn them of things that they might not be aware (such as colleagues plotting against them at work) - it's never about "this is what is going to happen" and much more about "this is what you will feel like doing and if you do, then this will be the outcome but you do have other options, which you ought to look at, and this person might help you or don't trust this person"


Hi

Unfortunately that's not what my wife believes, to her horoscopes are very important and that one's future is based on the date and time of birth.

The fortune tellers she has been to did not give options as you suggest, but told her for example that she will be a widow. I suppose there is a good chance of that as I'm older, but then again you never know.

Her sister went to one and was told she was posessed by ghosts. The only option was to go every year and have a ceremony - at the cost of a weeks wages. This has caused the whole family a great deal of distress.

Sounds like they've been to the quackery and fraud type. What would your view be of this type of prediction please?

With Metta

:bow: Graham


My dear Graham - I am appalled. As you may have gathered, I am involved in this in a non-professional way as part of my healing work. Some people who come to me ask me to read the cards for them and I am happy to do so.

I NEVER say things will definitely happen and I don't give advice - I tell people what I see and after that it is up to them to make up their minds. I am always suspicious of people who charge money for this kind of thing (yes there is the argument that everyone has to make a living but for me it is a gift I have and I am very happy to share it). I am also very suspicious of people who claim to be able to see exactly what is going to happen - you can't. You can see trends and possibilities;

Can I give you an imaginary example - a friend is in a dilemma about her future. From the reading I know that it is work and not her love life that is causing her problems. I see Liberation - but liberation can be a double edged sword - jumping out of the frying pan into the fire and also if people break out of jail they are then on the run. I also see a card that can mean either a strong fortress or an obstacle in the way. Because of other cards around it I assume it is an obstacle. I will tell her that she should be very careful before leaving a job that is secure for one that is precarious no matter how tempting it is and that she should expect strong opposition from someone who should be her rock, that they might not be as supportive as she expects.

The whole subject is debased by the sort of people that you mentioned and the million and one charlatans that rip people off instead of helping them, because, let's face it, the majority of them go to get a reading when they are vulnerable and in difficulty. No - not what I do at all.

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Re: Help please - Fortune Telling

Postby GrahamR » Fri Jan 23, 2009 5:05 pm


My dear Graham - I am appalled. As you may have gathered, I am involved in this in a non-professional way as part of my healing work. Some people who come to me ask me to read the cards for them and I am happy to do so.

I NEVER say things will definitely happen and I don't give advice - I tell people what I see and after that it is up to them to make up their minds. I am always suspicious of people who charge money for this kind of thing (yes there is the argument that everyone has to make a living but for me it is a gift I have and I am very happy to share it). I am also very suspicious of people who claim to be able to see exactly what is going to happen - you can't. You can see trends and possibilities;



Hi Placid Pool

Sorry I didn't realise what you did and I can accept your explaination. Thank you for that. I wasn't trying to tar you with the same brush in any way.

Unfortunately you have confirmed my suspicions about what my wife and her sister have been told and the specific people they have consulted are best avoided.

With metta,
:bow:
Graham
With metta :bow:
Graham

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Re: Help please - Fortune Telling

Postby Placid-pool » Fri Jan 23, 2009 6:40 pm

Absolutely no problem Graham - I am quite used to it and took no umbridge.

It really is a problem that there are a few of us using their talents to help people and we are up against an army of money-grubbing charlatans. Same goes for healing - I don't charge for that either but know of "magnetisers" and other crooks who rip people off to vast amounts and don't get half the results we do - by the way, I always start every session either for healing or reading by telling the person that I can't guarantee anything, no results promised, let's just see what happens.


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