Jangchup Donden wrote:
What's wrong with sorcery if it works?
In most Mahāyāna cultures historically sorcery of some kind has actually been the mainstay practice and source of income for professional clergy of some form or another.
We're often prejudiced in thinking Buddhism is supposed
to be about meditation and loving kindness, though in reality historically it was presumably seldom ever like that.
In any case, the reason sorcery or magic has been so popular is because it actually does, at the bare minimum, affect a change in consciousness of the practitioners and people thus have seen great value in it.
Just abandoning something because it sounds mystical is not scientific.
Some people prefer mysticism as is without examining it scientifically because mysticism when employed properly can make your life easier to live and more interesting. In the Buddhist context at least the whole point is to overcome suffering and many tried and tested mystic methods have worked for centuries.
Repentance methods come to mind where the practitioner confesses their past misdeeds until they see some auspicious vision, which they then view as karmic obstacles having been removed. There is nothing scientific about this, though the result is having less worry about the future and consequently a more stable mind which facilitates deeper meditation (remorse being one of the fetters). I think it would also reinforce positive behaviours and moreover someone who has done serious repentance practice will probably avoid further misdeeds. It would be like spending much time scrubbing filth off your body only to throw more mud on yourself for no good reason.
Again, none of this is scientific, but in the religious context it makes sense and actually works. I know this from personal experience.
Of course there are also rites and so on for worldly benefits like summoning rain. It isn't all about personal cultivation.