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Read an interesting article today about a fascinating popular trend in Thailand for women to acquire lucky dolls that are then blessed by the Buddhist monk and treated as real children...in order to bring luck. http://www.rawstory.com/2016/02/lucky-or-chucky-thai-spirit-dolls-delight-and-disturb/
It reminds me that historically Buddhism and Buddhist monks have always included magical rituals. The article has an attitude that it's something unique and even claims Thai society is in some way more superstitious than we "civilized" people. The article quotes one monk who hates these lucky dolls and would cuss at the people bringing them for blessings, and another who goes along with it. I think all things considered, the monk who shows compassion is acting more in the Buddhist spirit, even if the rituals are nonsense.
In one of the archeology websites, they show an early monk's reference book in Tibet that includes, along with Buddhist sutras, directions for rituals such as how to bring rain by making a fake frog out of dough, and chanting the right spells over it. People seeking miracles, favors from Buddha and guardian spirits and luck in their lives have always demanded help from Buddha and his monks.
And I had to finally ask myself, what's the difference between a lucky blessed doll and me lighting a candle at my altar? It makes me feel better. I do it in special occasions, such as a death or someone sick. Does anyone here also have magical rituals that make them feel better?