Divination, although playing an immensely important role in Tibet, historically, has received little exposure in the west. This little book introduces MO, a divination system using dice. The introduction is scant with little background or overview of the system but does however contain the mantra's required to invoke Manjushri to ensure a correct reading. Once cast, any combination of dice can be interpreted under a series of headings such as Spirituality, Friends and Wealth, Illness or Lost articles etc. There are some categories more suitable to a Tibetan participant than a westerner, such as a category to see if your guests will arrive safley. If the results of your reading are unfavourable there are prescriptions in the form of various buddhas and boddhisatvas to be invoked as well as mantras or rituals to be completed. Althought an appendix gives a very brief summary of the practices mentioned in the prescriptions they are not included in such a way that you could perform them. All that said, results are usually given as one sentence that is quite specific and in sceptical trials it has proven uncannily accurrate. One aspect of this little book I enjoyed is that in a very informal and almost accidental way the reader is introduced to a vast, colorful cosmology where offering goddesses or voice goddesses, attendants to dharma protectors or local spirits all have a part to play.
This is a great little book. From a very basic level you can throw a couple of dice and then look up what the number combination means. I tried it last night asking what I expect from the day and got 1 and 1. I looked it up in the book. There are lots of categories relating to that number combination depending upon what I was asking about. This 1 and 1 was THE JEWELLED BANNER OF VICTORY and the summary said 'If DHI DHI - the hoisted banner of victory - appears, then you are victorious and excel, like the raising of the banner of victors over every direction. You are able to accomplish whatever activity you wish to do'. It then gave comments about family, property and life, intentions and aims, friends and wealth, enemies, guests, illness, evil spirits, spiritual practice, lost article, will they come and will the task be accomplished and All remaining matters.
You call do this for fun or very seriously. I take Buddism seriously and believe if I do the 'throw' sincerely that I will gain advice (even without complicated rituals and initiations into the wisdom etc - see comments on Amazon.com) but one can do it as 'interesting entertainment'. I had to chuckle at one combination called THE WHITE UMBRELLA OF GOOD FORTUNE, and some advice elsewhere such as eg finding things 'If you search in a southern or northern direction from where it was lost, you will definitely find it' made me smile (and consider buying a compass!). It can also be very poetic eg 'as the meat has already entered the mouth of the lion, it is difficult to recover.
It is tempting to give examples from all categories but it might be overdoing it. I hope you've got the idea from the above.
As you read all the advice it may ask you to do certain rituals, make offerings etc. but that's where it can be studied very seriously. I haven't even read the introductory chapters which I am sure will be fascinating and I will be looking into this in more depth but in the meantime I will continue with simple throws for daily guidance (like oracle cards etc).
This book is a great addition to my collection of Buddhist books but it could sit on anyone'e shelf and be of interest to visitors etc. and if it draws someone to Buddhist (albeit from an unusual angle) I personally think that can only be a good thing.
I bought it 2nd hand and feel it was a very modest amount of money very well spent. Fascinating, enjoyable and 'different' reading.