Question: How should we view online circulated advice from some fortune-telling masters, about the fortune of those of different zodiac signs in the coming new year, about what best colour to wear and such? Is such advice authentic, or should we read with a pinch of salt?
Answer: Although believed by many to be true, astrology has never been substantially proven to be accurate through scientific statistical records. If astrology tells the truth with 100% accuracy, it would be a measurable science already.
However, the Buddha did not say all fortune-telling is total nonsense, though he made it a clear rule that monastics and those committed to the Bodhisattva precepts should not provide soothsaying advice. By extension, this would mean not using astrology too. The Buddha probably did not outright say all fortune-telling is nonsense because there might e rare cases of some fortune-tellers who indeed are able to catch a glimpse of potential futures due to their sharpened minds and observation of intertwined cause and effect in nature.
Exactly since if it difficult to tell whose predictions are accurate, it is best to avoid the slightest dependence on such predictions – lest this grows to be addiction, to the extent of being distracted from learning, practising, realising and sharing the Dharma – which is what really leads to liberation, True Happiness. The far and few cases of ‘accurate’ predictions create the phenomenon of suvivorship bias, of believers remembering only them, instead of failed predictions, which thus fortifies their belief in ‘accuracy’ of predictions. Fortune-tellers often offer free ‘wide’ predictions as opportunisitc ads, to create new survivorship bias victims, who will be potential paying customers.
Also, even so-called highly accurate fortune-tellers can fail in their predictions, as the ones whose fortunes are told are as dynamic as their active choices, which thus alter their ‘destinies’ karmically. One of many classic cases is that of the young monk, who extended his otherwise ending lifespan by doing good, as can be seen at http://thedailyenlightenment.com/2009/10/the-old-young-monks-who-killed-saved-ants Ironically, fortune-tellers often say destinies to have been altered as excuses for their failed predictions!
Broad generalisation of so many complex karmically different and habitually fluctuating humans into 12 or so constricting zodiac characteristics does not make sense too. Different cultures’ zodiac systems obviously contradict with one another too, as no one has yet to discover some how all systems can be seamless unified. If this is possible, someone should had discovered this ‘unification theory’ by now. And before that, which system should be blindly believed in? As cultural bias, people tend to blindly believe the zodiac systems they are ‘born into’ culturally.
It does not make sense to have a standard ‘lucky’ colour to wear all year round, especially if one is uncomfortable with the colour, that thus makes one lose comfort and confidence. It also does not make sense to wear bright colours to solemn events for instance.
To summarise, there is no need to even read such predictions for advice at all, as they can create needless anxiety and offer false promises that lead to complacency. If you do read them, only do it to statisically prove to yourself of their inaccuracy. It is surely much more fruitful to keep dynamically transform ourselves to be kinder and wiser with down-to-earth Dharma learning, practice, realisation and sharing, which will surely improve life as we progress towards liberation.
Should Buddhists Pray To Tai Sui?
Is It Alright To Be A Fortune-Teller?