Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fortune Sticks

One component to Buddhist worship is fortune telling. Called Kau Cim (or often referred to as as Chien Tung), it is rooted in the Chinese fortune telling practice of requesting answers from the dieties. It is based on the Book of Changes (I Ching, Yijing). The fortune telling begins with a cup storing a collection of numbered sticks. As you sit before the altar, you are supposed to think silently or whisper questions to the deity (and your questions have to be decisive - no wishy washy wishing!). Making an offering never hurts either - it helps to carry good favor from the higher powers. You then shake the cylinder, eventually causing one stick to fall to the ground. The number on the stick corresponds to an answer, or fortune, which can be interpreted by a temple priest or read on a corresponding strip of paper.

When I had mine read, my fortune was a mixed bag. It said that I was in an uncertain time of my life, and that I should rely on my circle of friends and family for support rather than try to go it alone. Well duh!

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