- GOOD QUESTION GOOD ANSWER
- Ven. Shravasti Dhammika
- Good Luck and Fate
What did the Buddha teach about magic and fortune telling?
The Buddha considered such practices as fortune telling, wearing magic
charms for protection, finding lucky sites for buildings, prophesising and fixing lucky
days to be useless superstitions and he expressly forbade his disciples to practise such
things. He called all these things 'low arts'.
"Whereas some religious men, while living off 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 about good or bad luck, picking the lucky
site for a building, the monk Gotama refrains from such low arts, such wrong means of
Then why do people sometimes practise such things and believe in them?
Because of greed, fear and ignorance. As soon as people understand the
Buddhas teachings, they realise that a pure heart can protect them much better than
bits of paper, bits of metal and a few chanted words and they no longer rely on such
things. In the teachings of the Buddha, it is honesty, kindness, understanding, patience,
forgiveness, generosity, loyalty and other good qualities that truly protect you and give
you true prosperity.
But some lucky charms do work, dont they?
I know a person who makes a living selling lucky charms. He claims that
his charms can give good luck, prosperity and he guarantees that you will be able to pick
three numbers. But if what he says is true then why isnt he himself a
multi-millionaire? If his lucky charms really work, then why doesnt he win the
lottery week after week? The only luck he has is that there are people silly enough to buy
his magic charms.
Then is there such a thing as luck?
The dictionary defines luck as 'believing that whatever happens, either
good or bad, to a person in the course of events is due to chance, fate or fortune'. The
Buddha denied this belief completely. Everything that happens has a specific cause or
causes and there must be some relationships between the cause and the effect. Becoming
sick, for example, has specific causes. One must come into contact with germs and
ones body must be weak enough for the germs to establish themselves. There is a
definite relationship between the cause (germs and a weakened body) and the effect
(sickness) because we know that germs attack the organisms and give rise to sickness. But
no relationship can be found between wearing a piece of paper with words written on it and
being rich or passing examinations. Buddhism teaches that whatever happens does so because
of a cause or causes and not due to luck, chance or fate. People who are interested in
luck are always trying to get something,usually more money and wealth. The Buddha teaches
us that it is far more important to develop our hearts and minds. He says:
Being deeply learned and skilled; being well-trained and using
well-spoken words - this is the best good luck. To support mother and father, to cherish
wife and child and to have a simple livelihood - this is the best good luck.
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