Photographer's Note

Kau Chim Sticks: the predicting one’s Fortune

2 days ago the posting was of the Mengjia Longshan Temple in Taipei Taiwan
Yesterday the post related to offerings and gift giving at the temple
Today we explore the use of Kau Chim sticks

Key to New Years and gift offerings relates to the beginning of a new year (a better year ahead). Giving a gift to the temple is a blessing and help this. Also giving allows one to use the temples Kau Chim Chinese Fortune sticks. This practice is very old, more Taoist than Buddhist.

The process involves at Chim Bucket (stick cylinder holder), the sticks like the ones in the photo, A number on each stick 1-78, and 78 written Oracle outcomes – done as follows: The requester kneels/stands in prayer, holding the cup between their palms or stand in front and asks their question to the deity, either aloud or by whispering (like the girl in the photo). This part needs to be done decisively as one should not shift questions or hesitate on the question in the middle of the rite. The shaking of the cylinder, which is usually tipped slightly downward, results in at least one stick leaving the cylinder and being dropped onto the floor. In most cases, if multiple sticks leave the cylinder, those fortunes do not count and must be shaken again. Each stick, with its designated number, represents one answer.

When a single stick falls out, the number will correspond to one of the 78 written oracles (paper note) with an answer on it. The writing on the piece of paper will provide an answer to the question. Following a successful fortune, interpretation may be needed to comprehend the answer. Answers can be interpreted by a temple priest (or someone designated, a volunteer).

The first time I did this was in 1978 in the Taiwan Mountains at a Taoist temple. I was so interested in the process I don’t remember my question or if I got a valid answer.

Visiting temples, especially at new year’s is very popular. Getting a blessing for the new year is talked about throughout one’s family. These are key tradtions. I will talk next about the use of candles and incense in my next postings. There are exact and specific steps one must follow when visiting a temple – it is well designed, a new year’s visit is well designed - not just a place to walk in.

Final note: In many cases, an offering is made prior to the asking of the question in order to carry good favor from the higher powers. These offerings typically consist of incense, fresh fruits, cakes, or monetary donations (as we saw in yesterday’s posting).
Hope this helps you understand China/Asia – These sticks are very popular in Thaiand and Japan. With Respects - David

Please see the WS photos for more insight on these Kau Chim sticks - Thanks

ikeharel, macjake, jhm trouve(nt) cette note utile

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Additional Photos by David Reed Thomas (drt100) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 341 W: 74 N: 875] (4038)
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