Your guess is as good as my fortune teller's
The Thai saying "mordoo mak koo kab mordao" roughly translates as "fortune-telling and guessing are often inseparable". In many cases, however, the practice can also be a simple case of downright deception.
A notorious example of this was revealed earlier this month, with the protagonist Suriyan "Mor Yong" Sucharitpolwong, a high-profile fortune teller and spirit medium who was thrown into the media limelight ever since being arrested for lese majeste a month ago.
Mor Yong confessed that he had made up a story about being able to communicate with divine spirits and that all of the spirit possessions he had performed as a medium were bogus.
The 53-year-old flamboyant figure often claimed that he was blessed with special powers to predict the future, ever since he encountered a senior monk and Ganesha in a dream when he was young.
But his days of glory as one of the country's top fortune tellers ended with a twist right after he and his two accomplices were accused of making false claims involving the monarchy to solicit money from business operators.
He admitted to all charges against him and the investigation further led to the exposure of this cheating, which must have upset many of his clients. He reportedly said that he wanted them to have faith in him so that he could make easy money out of them.
How much he earned from this scam has been on the minds of many, yet we no longer have the chance to find out as he died barely a week after he made his confession. The only other thing we know is that his clients included a number of people in the military and police force.
I have to admit that I had never paid attention to this fortune teller before and I couldn't help but feel suspicious the first time I learned that he also offered services as a spirit medium.
Personally, I believe in the existence of gods and goddesses even though I have never encountered one. But, I can't bring myself to believe that they would be so kind to humans so as to come down to earth and possess a human body in order to answer their questions.
I'm certain that many people also think the same and I have proof to back my claim, too.
This may sound rather funny but, according to Buddhist teachings, most deities are reputed for their high levels of morality and purity and they can't tolerate getting near human beings who, compared to them, are filthy with defilements. Also mentioned is one occasion in which an angel paid Buddha a visit and complained to him that most humans were so smelly that they had to go very far away from them.
Well, I don't want to embarrass Mor Yong's victims, but I think if they had used more reasoning, they wouldn't have trusted him at all.
Fortune-telling is a form of superstition and most in this profession often claim that his/her method produces the most accurate predictions. I don't know which one is better, but I know that no matter how precise they might be in describing what ever occurred to us, they can never guarantee that certain incidents will happen as predicted.
The fact is, behind this science of prophecy, all predictions, regardless of their methods, are based on the laws of probability, while the main factors that determine our lives actually lie in our own hands. If we look closer at this concept, we will find that it has a lot to do with the laws of karma in Buddhism. So I don't think it's an overstatement to say that if we understand this Buddhist principle well, we will know how to shape our own destiny.
Even though I'm not interested in fortune-telling, I'm a fan of an online column written by a low-profile fortune teller who regularly shares stories about her clients.
The cases involve tales of her client's struggles or problems, mostly relating to love, jobs and family. Some are about those who come to see her because they are under pressure to make a major decision or those who are just worried about their future.
What interests me about this fortune teller, however, is not her expertise in astrology that she uses to produce the predictions, but more the advice she gives her clients.
She often points out the causes of the problems to her clients and suggests a moral solution. She always gives moral support to those who might have made mistakes and encourages them to make ethical decisions.
In more serious cases, she tries to convince her clients of the benefits of being virtuous and inspires them to keep good faith, no matter how tough their lives might be.
She elaborates in her column that she feels happy every time her clients come back to tell her that their lives have changed for the better after they followed her advice. However, she says that she would be much happier if her clients learned to stand on their own two feet and no longer sought her help.
It would be ideal if everyone learned to deal with their own fate. But, in the worst case scenario, I wish they could find the right person to guide them to a brighter exit.
Patcharawalai Sanyanusin is a writer of the Life section of the Bangkok Post.
Patcharawalai Sanyanusin is a writer for Life section of the Bangkok Post.