Since I’ve started doing mo publicly at local monthly Psychic Saturday events, I’ve encountered folks who – not being familiar with this form of divination – have asked various questions, the answers to which I have compiled in this FAQ.
First and foremost, mo refers to divination; in my case, the system I rely on uses dice and falls under the auspices of the deity Manjusri. The numerical values of the dice are each aligned with one of the syllables of his mantra (not including OM; see picture to the left). The combination of these syllables yields 36 possible results. In a standard mo session, it is customary to throw the dice twice – if the throws yield the same result, the answer is firm; different results, the answer is mutable; if the first or second syllable repeats in the same or both throws, then the outer (first) and/or inner (second) meaning remains firm. I rely on the manual written by Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche (1846-1912), a Nyingma master and renowned scholar, who composed texts on a variety of subjects connected to the practise of Buddhism (including astrology, alchemy, and engineering).
Tibetan Buddhism views mo as a means to help others and oneself, and when done with the right motivation and compassion it is upāya (skillful means). One should never view mo as anything other than a means of assisting other sentient beings in the hopes of bringing them both relative and ultimate happiness, and giving advice on a number of matters. Thus, mo is another way of relying on the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to aid us in understanding the interplay of cause and effect in our lives, and the outcomes which can result (karma). For a Buddhist practitioner, doing mo for others is practising the Bodhisattva way. Because the mantra of Manjusri is the expression of the enlightened wisdom of the Buddhas, the use of its’ syllables in mo causes this wisdom to manifest in the dice. Thus, prior to each reading, a prayer to Manjusri, recitation of his mantra, and recitation of the Essence of Dependent Origination is performed. This serves to bless and empower the dice used in the reading.
For each result there are multiple areas which are covered:
– friends and wealth
– evil spirits
– spiritual practises
– lost articles
– whether or not tasks will be accomplished
– all remaining matters
In addition to these, specific advice on types of rituals to perform, mantras to recite, offerings to make, etc. are also recommended in order to enhance and sustain auspicious outcomes, or to modify/negate inauspicious ones. As all things are connected, and because what happens in our life is the result of karma accrued/burning off from this and previous lives, what is happening in one area impacts all areas of one’s life. As karma is neither fixed nor permanent, we have a responsibility to improve and/or remove ourselves from unfavourable situations; by illustrating the role of cause and effect in our lives, and allowing us to see this interplay at work, mo thus becomes a tool by which we can discover the means to improve our circumstances.
Lastly, a question I have been asked by a couple folks is “But I’m not Buddhist, will mo work for me?” As with other forms of divination, what you are seeing is a snapshot of things in your life based on a variety of factors. The situation can change based on the decision(s) you decide to make. Although mo arises from the Buddhist traditions of the Himalayas, it is universal in scope, thus anyone can benefit from it. All you need to do is to have an open mind and be willing to be honest with yourself about what arises in the mo.