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Home > Main Library > Society and Culture > Burmese social and political culture > Astrology, numerology, fortune telling, prophetic sayings etc.

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Astrology, numerology, fortune telling, prophetic sayings etc.

Individual Documents

Title: Pagoda Power
Date of publication: July 2009
Description/subject: Looking for omens in a pile of rubble... "IT was a sunny day, but a young laborer working on the renovation of the Danok Pagoda, near Rangoon, recalled: “It suddenly grew very dark and we saw a bright red light rising from the northern end of the pagoda, and we heard a strange, haunting voice coming from that direction.” Then the ancient pagoda collapsed, reportedly killing 20 of the laborer’s fellow workers and naval personnel who were helping out. The authorities blamed faulty renovation work, which they said was being hurried along because of the approaching rainy season. Many local people, however, have a less mundane explanation for the collapse of the historic pagoda. Supernatural forces, not shoddy workmanship, brought it down, they say..."
Author/creator: Arkar Moe
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 4
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 11 August 2009

Title: So What’s in Store for Burma in 2005?
Date of publication: January 2005
Description/subject: "Political Turmoil, Military Intrigues, But Also Prosperity and Progress—Astrologers Hedge Their Bets...The tsunami that smashed into several Southeast Asian countries in December appears miraculously to have spared Burma the full fury of its preternatural power... While many outside Burma cast doubt on the regime figures, the generals in Rangoon have a mystical explanation for them: Burma escaped the lethal waves relatively unharmed because they had earned merit with Lord Buddha by building pagodas...Burmese soothsayers saw the Sumatra earthquake as a bad omen and a harbinger of political upheaval, perhaps a change of government. The current year will certainly be a crucial one for the regime, they say. Superstitious nonsense? Not for the overwhelming majority of the Burmese people, including their leaders. It’s no secret that top generals and their wives regularly consult astrologers. Even opposition figures have their astrologers—democratic-minded ones, of course..."
Author/creator: Aung Zaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 1
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 10 August 2005

Title: "A Preliminary Study of Burmese Prophetic Sayings"
Date of publication: 2002
Description/subject: The Burmese people are known to be superstitious in many ways. One is a belief in prophetic saying known as tabaun. This paper explains how in the past, people placed importance on these prophetic sayings. It describes how learned Buddhist monks have reminded people not to be influenced by them. Rather, they should be concerned with their kamma.
Author/creator: Saw Tun
Language: English
Source/publisher: Journal of Burma Studies Vol. 7 (2002)
Format/size: pdf (829K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.niu.edu/burma/publications/jbs/vol9/index.shtml
Date of entry/update: 07 March 2009

Title: No Escape from the 31 Planes of Existence
Date of publication: February 2001
Description/subject: Naypyidaw—the “Abode of Kings”—is Than Shwe’s monument to his own rule... "I am not an astrologer, but I will venture one prediction about the year ahead: that the regime in Burma will hold its election as planned and formally introduce what it calls a “discipline-flourishing democracy.” So far, however, the junta leaders remain tight-lipped about the how and when of the election. At this stage, the best anyone can offer is an educated guess. But come what may, the election will happen—be sure of it. Why am I so certain of this, when others have suggested that the junta will probably try to find some pretext to put the vote off indefinitely? Because the clearest evidence of the junta’s intentions can be found in Naypyidaw, where construction of new parliamentary buildings is proceeding apace. This news is not entirely reassuring, however. According to a recent Reuters report, much work remains to be done on the new legislature, “from unfinished roads to painting many of the parliamentary complex’s 31 buildings, with pagoda-style roofs sheathed in scaffolding.” But others who have been to the junta’s capital say that they are amazed at how much progress has been made since last March, when only the main building of the Hluttaw, or Parliament, had been completed. In recent months, the regime has ordered army engineers and construction workers to work even faster to meet their deadline—whenever that might be. While some people are preoccupied with the question of when the buildings will be finished, I am more intrigued by the number being built—31. In Buddhism, this number has a special significance. According to Buddhist cosmology, 31 is the number of planes of existence into which we can be reborn. Humans belong to the fifth plane, above other beings such as animals and hungry ghosts, but below the devas—the god-like beings who exist in the realms of form and formlessness. The important thing to remember about the 31 planes of existence is that they are all subject to suffering. By following the Buddha’s teachings, however, one can escape the rounds of rebirth and attain a state that is completely beyond suffering, known as Nirvana..."
Author/creator: Aung Zaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 18, No. 2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 28 February 2010