This can be a stupid question to ask as Buddhism is much superior than astrology. But my problem is in today's society the Buddhists are too much concerned with these horoscopes than any other religion just like it is a part of Buddhist teachings. Why is that? Is there a truth behind it or any connectivity with Buddhism ?


3 Answers 3


It is a good question that you asked & not at all stupid @ Iresha Rubasinghe, but I was too busy last week to get to answer it. Today India has lost the Order of the Gautama Buddha. In the present-day Sri Lanka a great many who identify themselves as ‘Buddhist’ are really Hindus. It is because they have made the Triple Gem impure by worshiping Hindu “Demigods”, by believing in horoscopes, following auspicious times according to asterism, auspicious signs, horoscopes, malefic effects believed to come from planetary objects, and the twelve houses of astrology.

None of these abide with Buddha’s teachings. They even have a higher regard to being vegetarian than observing the Five Precepts to the letter. Then there are those who erroneously think “... even though we have a strong desire to put an end to rebirth, it depends on our parami ...” This is another distortion of the Saddhamma. I hope that you are one of the very few people who would stay in the finger tip, without getting caught to any of these trappings.

People cling onto all these types of beliefs or are only get ready to realize the Dhamma when they attain Buddhahood are following ignorant ways without respecting the Buddha or His teachings. If they consider what the Buddha had taught us properly by learning the Dhamma, these types of ignorant and short-sighted views will never be spread throughout the society.

In the Buddha's time there is an example on how a wise person recognized the teachings of the Buddha properly. There was a Brahmin called ‘Vangeesa’. He once went to the Gautama Buddha and told Him that he has the ability to tell about someone’s afterlife, and that he needs a person’s skull to do that. The Buddha asked one of the Bhikkhus to bring a skull of a dead person. The Brahmin took the skull, chanted a charm (a Mantra) and tapped it few times. He then revealed where that dead person was reincarnated. The Buddha also confirmed that it was so.

The Brahmin then told the Buddha that he could reveal the rebirth of anyone just by tapping the skull of a dead person. The Buddha asked the Bhikkhu to bring one other skull and gave it to the Brahmin. Vangeesa Brahmin did his chanting again and tapped on that skull, but this time it was different. He could not find where that dead person was reborn. He tapped again, again, and again. But still, he could not get out of any information about the person that the skull was belonged to. He was anxious and told the Buddha, “Oh, Lord Buddha! This is so strange. My predictions were never gone wrong before, and I never came across any skull that I could not recognize the rebirth of the dead person. But, my talent became useless in front of you. I can’t guess the birth place of this person even if I tap on to this skull so many times.”

The Most Compassionate One, the Buddha, told him “dear Brahmin, this skull belongs to an Arahant.” The Brahmin was thrilled about the fact that the Gautama Buddha was teaching a way to overcome rebirth. He expressed his loyalty to the Buddha and his need to follow the Dhamma that the Buddha was teaching. Then, the Buddha told him to let go of what he was taking for granted and to follow the Noble Eightfold Path. Accepting Buddha’s advice, Vangeesa Brahmin became a Bhikkhu. He became an Arahant after following the noble path.

People who take refuge of the Buddha with proper understanding know that there is nothing more important than the Dhamma of the Buddha. So please remember that a person who takes refuge of horoscopes cannot become Shraddhānusārī (one who has unflinching faith in the triple gem.). People who take refuge of asterism or auspicious signs, or the ones who live spending their time praying to other gods cannot be easily convinced otherwise of their wrongful attachments and devotions to the astrology, auspicious times, and the likes which consume their energy. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi in his essay “A Buddhist Response to Contemporary Dilemmas of Human Existence” ahd this to say:

” … Spiritual eclecticism — omnipresent in the West today — is governed by the opposite logic. It aims to amalgamate, to draw into a whole a sundry variety of quasi-religious disciplines: yoga, spiritualism, channeling, astrology, faith healing, meditation, I Ching, special diets, Cabbala, etc. These are all offered to the seeker on a pick-and-choose basis; everything is valid, anything goes. This eclecticism often reveals a longing for genuine spiritual experience, for a vision of reality more encompassing than pragmatic materialism. It fails because it tears profound disciplines out from their context in a living faith and blends them together into a shapeless mixture without spine or substance. Its psychological mood is that of a romantic, promiscuous yearning for easy gratification rather than that of serious commitment. Owing to its lack of discrimination it often shades off into the narcissistic and the occult, occasionally into the diabolical.”

  • "stay in the finger tip"? Is that an idiom?
    – ChrisW
    Feb 11, 2017 at 22:50
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    @ChrisW ... In SN 13.1 Nakhasikha Sutta: The Tip of the Fingernail the Blessed One, picking up a little bit of dust with the tip of his finger nail, said to the monks… “Dear Bhikkhus, ones who would not realize this Dhamma is like this earth (in amount). Ones who realize the Nibbāna is like this small amount of soil on my finger tip.” when compared with the great earth. Feb 11, 2017 at 23:08
  • @Saptha Visudhdhi Thank you so much sir for great explanation as always with so many facts and references.
    – user7658
    Feb 12, 2017 at 7:34
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    @Iresha Rubasinghe, another bit of advice... Be genuinely faithful towards the Triple Gem. Be wise, brave, and dignified. Do not bow in front of other false views. Those who grasp every belief as true, slip away from the truth. Sadly we live in an unfortunate time where the Asura Forces are far greater and stronger. So to overcome these we need the assistance of Davas who are well established in this path. To tell you, do not to rely on astrology or horoscopes, but seek the protection of Dhamma, even when it comes to finding your life’s partner. Seek assistance of these other Devas for this. Feb 12, 2017 at 12:27
  • Yes sir, it's really hard to argue with people as the majority support towards these other beliefs and they are quite blind in seeing the reality. And the saddest situation is now this astrology is quite binded with Buddhism by people as majority believe in them.
    – user7658
    Feb 12, 2017 at 13:12

Horescopes did exist at the time when the Buddha was born but they aren't mentioned often in the Buddha's teachings. One mention of horosopes is in the Samaññaphala Sutta, this sutta lists many types of fortune telling as wrong-livelihood for monks.

"Whereas some contemplatives & brahmans, living off food given in faith, maintain themselves by wrong livelihood, by such "animal" arts as: reading marks on the limbs [e.g., palmistry]; reading omens and signs; interpreting celestial events [falling stars, comets]; interpreting dreams; reading features of the body [e.g., phrenology]; reading marks on cloth gnawed by mice; offering fire oblations, oblations from a ladle, oblations of husks, rice powder, rice grains, ghee, and oil; offering oblations from the mouth; offering blood-sacrifices; making predictions based on the fingertips; geomancy; making predictions for state officials; laying demons in a cemetery; placing spells on spirits; earth-skills [divining water and gems?]; snake-skills, poison-skills, scorpion-skills, rat-skills, bird-skills, crow-skills; predicting life spans; giving protective charms; casting horoscopes — he abstains from wrong livelihood, from "animal" arts such as these.

Horoscopes existed in many cultures, the reason why it remained more prevalent in Buddhist countries is more down to speculation. It depends both on Buddhism and on other religions' attitude towards horoscopes. Some reasons might be:

  • The idea of seeing peoples' future is very present in Buddhism which gives credibility to the idea of seeing others' fortunes based on astrology.
  • In other religions it may be offensive to predict peoples' fates because it is believed that only God has the ability to do so.
  • The Buddha didn't say that predicting the future is wrong livelihood for lay people (probably because only holy men did such things in the Buddha's time)

There is truth to all these quasi-sciences because they are based on principles in astronomy, science, and medicine. Many benefit from it in small ways which can be cumulative.

Although it is divergent from the focused, intensive practice towards Buddhahood, it is quite complementary to handling one's issues--should one be a fast learner and not spend too much time with them.

The end result is one can make better decisions for one's life which will in turn allow one the better environment and life to Practice, free from qualm and issues. Everything will just fall in place and one can also challenge oneself and be prepared when an encounter with a particular person might be predicted to be dysfunctional.

Just like how in Buddhism there are different meditation methods (variations really) for different temperaments, the various temperaments in astrology have distinct differences that can inform oneself on the best for people of a certain nature.

That being said astrology is very complicated and other personality typing, Myers-Briggs, palmistry, and other idiosyncrasies, can often play heavily into it and balance things with a person one would think as one's enemy... so maybe it is all pointless!

Ultimately, astrology has nothing to do with Buddhism and spending that time that would be spent on regular Buddhist cultivation would be a mistake and depending too much on it is a mistake because karma is one of the things that Buddha said is too deep and pointless to muse upon--to instead just try one's best and cultivate.

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