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Buddhist Astrology

I won't say there isn't much in it, but is there enough?

Buddha teaches that one's future is conditioned primarily by one's karma - the gathered effects of one's good and bad and other deeds throughout lifetimes, and also this one. This also means that there are other influencing factors, by the way. [Buddhist Studies: Dharma Data: Astrology.]

Buddha does not encourage followers to speculate on things beyond their comprehension, but make efforts along the Gentle Middle Way. Yet, Tibetan Buddhism, for example, has embraced astrology as an integral part of its Medical studies. Also, astrology is popular in the Buddhist laity in many countries, and practised by Buddhist monks as well, but not all of them.

Yet Buddha tells that for Buddhist monks astrology is an inappropriate means for gaining a livelihood. (Digha Nikaya 2, Samannaphala Sutta: The Fruits of the Contemplative Life) Wrong speech, wrong (bodily) action and wrong livelihood cause trouble and suffering to oneself and to others. Not harming others by such as killing, cheating, astrology or other prognosticating trickery is specified among Life's Highest Blessings: The Maha Mangala Sutta 3:7, translated by Dr. R. L. Soni.

Buddha thinks similarly about forecasts (Ibid).

Digha Nikaya, Volume 1, Sutta 1 discusses 62 wrong views. In this Sutta, Buddha refers to "low arts" and forbids monks and nuns to take them up. A monk or nun is to abstain from much so that he or she has ample time for meditating well. [◦Link]

The art of making some sense of astrology is to make it work for our good. Such forms of astrology or horoscopy would be neither deceptive nor low and tell men and women how to benefit in life and not be dwarfed. Questions remain, though:

1. Even if essential proofs of chart interpretations get established, just how reliable may they be or become? That is to say, how reliable and valid will they have to be to be of value as signposts along the roads of life?

2. Are the attention, efforts and time spent on many sorts of possibly helpful chart interpretations helpful and sound enough? That is not to be overlooked. Is the time well spent, so well that it would not have been better to spend it on ◦Transcendental Meditation, for example?

In contrast to the researched benefits of meditating in the TM way, astrological guesswork has not resulted in good, hard, extensive evidence that it benefits folks. Suggestion: It is quite a boon to be informed of this. Many meditation methods help somewhat, but they are different in effects, among other things.

It matters to put time, consideration and effort into what helps and favours the most. Also, for those who have the time, what about researching horoscopy in line with the Kalama Sutta, bringing benefits to many and harm to none?

Things not to ignore

Janaka Yagirala writes in The Buddha on Astrology that many Buddhists today have a firm belief in astrology when it comes to marriage, starting something new and finding a solution to problems in life, "aspects in life to which the Buddha gave much greater and realistic guidance."

Compatible marriage partners. However, in the Samajivina Sutta of the Anguttara Nikaya (Chapter 4, Sutra 55), Buddha mentions that for a man and woman to be suited for a wedded life, all they need to be is compatible in thought and conduct. And this is different from being underlings of horoscopes.

Finding auspicious moments. In the Baddekaratta Sutta (Majjima Nikaya, Volume 3, Sutta 131) Buddha states that "a person who does what has to be done at the present moment lives an entire life of auspice". Astrologers tell of auspicious moments, based on the movements of the sun and planets and the angles between them in the sky, as seen from Earth. Yet, people who wait until a claimed auspicious time to do something - as horoscope-told or otherwise - may procrastinate for such reasons, waiting for the auspicious moment. Procrastinations may not always be baneful or have adverse effects - it depends.

Who is wise finds fit solutions. In the Jata Sutta (Samyutta Nikaya, Chapter 7, Sutta 6), Buddha says that "the person who is of virtue and wise, the monk who is ardent and astute can untangle the tangles [problems] of life." Such solution-making may not necessarily include Buddhist astrology.

Good omens and astrology. The Mahamangala Sutta or the Sutta of the Great Auspices was preached by Buddha to settle a confusion on what a good omen or auspice is. Buddha mentioned 38 good auspices which include not living among the unwise, living among the wise, praising the praiseworthy and so on. Having favourable astrological positions or following the path of astrology is not mentioned among these 38.

[Main source of the above: Janaka Yagirala. The Buddha on Astrology.]


Buddhist Astrology, Literature  

Yagirala, Janaka. The Buddha on Astrology. Lankaweb. 1997-2004. www.lankaweb.Com Newspapers Ltd.

Harvesting the hay

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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