Buddhism and astrology

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Buddhism and astrology

Postby Dragon » Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:35 pm

Yes, this may come off as a rather eye-roll inducing topic, but I have to ask....

I know that in some sects of Buddhism (including Tibetan), astrology is seen as a legitimate practice. I, myself, am not sure what to believe when it comes to astrology, but I'm not totally against it either.

My question is, what do you think astrology and karma have to do with one another? For instance, being born on a certain day, year, and time, by the thought of astrology, sets us up for certain attributes which can help or hinder us in our present life. It's kind of like karma in the sense of we are born into a life that is almost predestined in terms of what we will experience.

For example, let's say in one of my many past lives I had not learned the lesson of jealousy. According to karma, I would choose or end up taking a life (hopefully a human life) where I may have to learn how to deal with feelings of jealousy. Now, in terms of astrology, there are certain times/dates where having a jealous attribute would come into play. In western astrology, maybe I'll be born as a Scorpio, and have to learn how to curb my jealousy in this lifetime. This is, of course, under the assumption that you believe that Scorpios are more predisposed to being jealous individuals. However, from what I understand it's more than just a sun sign that indicates our attributes, and one must receive a professional natal chart to really understand their true astrological strengths and weaknesses.

I hope my question is coming out clear. Just to rephrase and put it a bit more succinctly: Are there practicing Buddhists out there (lay persons or not) who believe that there is some sort of karmic link in terms of human reincarnation and astrology? Do you believe we are born on the dates and times we are born on because it's somehow connected to this karmic ethereal energy of sorts?
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Re: Buddhism and astrology

Postby dakini_boi » Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:13 pm

Yes, well put.
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Re: Buddhism and astrology

Postby Indrajala » Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:30 am

When I first saw the twelve zodiac houses in Buddhist literature, I felt compelled to research it. I did a small writeup:

https://sites.google.com/site/dharmadep ... n-buddhism

It isn't just Tibetans who value(d) astrology. You find it in East Asia extensively as well, even from an early period (early 3rd century, which is remarkable all things considered). Nowadays the astrology bits in sutras are not taught so much in East Asia as far as I know, but they're there.

My question is, what do you think astrology and karma have to do with one another?


From a purely speculative point of view, I imagine if astrology is valid, then your birth sign reflects your "completion karma". There is karma which projects a future existence (where in the three realms you'll be reborn, i.e., the "projecting karma") and then there is completion karma which determines what kind of qualities that life will have.

Asanga defines these two types as follows in the Abhidharmasammucaya:

    “The results of favorable and unfavorable actions are produced in the good and bad destinies (sugati, durgati). This also, through the projecting action (ākṣepaka-karma) and the completing action (paripūraka-karma). What is projecting action? It is the action by means of which the result of fruition is produced. What is completing action? It is the action by means of which, after having been born, one experiences good and bad results.”


If you accept this theory of karma plus astrology, then it is not so much fatalism, but just a reflection of past deeds.

At the moment, however, I personally neither accept nor reject astrology.
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