Thursday, August 29, 2013

My Chi Chi Sticks Tell Me So (video)

CC Liu, Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; Wiki edits 1, 2; Sheila Simkin (

Compassionate Kwan Yin (Vaniaragageles)
Kau Chim is a fortune telling practice that originated in ancient China. A person asking a question requests an answer through divination using a sacred oracle lot.
The practice is often performed in Buddhist and Taoist temples in front of an altar of shared deified bodhisattvas (savior aspirants). Kau Chim are often referred to as Chim Tong ("Request a Sticks" made of 78 red-colored bamboo slats with mysterious characters with a number and 78 corresponding written oracle outcomes) or Chinese Fortune Sticks by Westerners. In the United States a version has been sold since 1915 under the name Chi Chi Sticks. They are also known as "The Oracle of Kwan Yin" in Mahayana Buddhist tradition.

Fortune Telling
Seven is lucky, so very lucky.
Chinese fortune telling, better known as suan ming (算命, literally "fate calculating") has utilized many divination techniques through various dynastic periods. Many methods are still practiced in mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Some of these have moved into Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese cultures under other names. For example Saju in Korea is the same as the Chinese four pillar method.
The oldest accounts about the practice of divination describe it as a measure for "solving doubts." For example, an "examination of doubts" 稽疑 is conceived as part of the "Great Plan," 洪範).
Kwan Yin Bodhisattva
Two well known methods of divination included 卜 (on tortoise shells) and shì 筮 (on stalks of the milfoil plant, shī 蓍). Those methods were sanctioned as royal practices since the Shang and Zhou Dynasties. Divination of the xiang 相 type (by "appearance" of human body parts, animals, etc.), however, was sometimes criticized as Xunzi, "against divination." Apparently, it was part of medical and veterinary practices and necessary in match-making and marketing choices. A number of divination techniques also developed around astronomical observations and burial practices (e.g., Feng shui and Guan Lu).

Adventures in real life

Chi Chi Sticks, Hong Kong (Ted Chan/wiki)
(Sheila Simpkin)  A large Taoist temple sits one block east of Qingjing Mosque. Shriveled women beggars stand in front prodding one strong bony finger into the arms of passersby, poking away while asking for money. I abhor being poked. It frightens, and it hurts. They never bother the men. I take the Way of the Tao (i.e., path of least resistance) practically running into the temple. I am instructed in the proper way to pray, select Chi Chi Sticks to divine my fortune by a woman who "reads" them, then walk outside where men are sitting on small stools waiting for customers to tell their fortunes. It was altogether fun even if we did not like our fortunes. More poking, more prodding, and more running. Whatever happened to the soothsayers of old with their, "You will have a long life and be very wealthy"?
Alan Watts: Taoism
British-born California Zen Buddhist teacher Alan Watts on Asian Philosophies and the Tao

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