Buddhist Slot Machines – Big Buddha Temple, Koh Samui

We stumbled upon what appeared to be Buddhist slot machines at the Big Buddha Temple in Koh Samui. My first thought – has Buddhism reached a whole new level of kitsch in SE Asia? Well, maybe…

The directions for use are clearly spelled out for farang (foreigners). Pick the machine that corresponds with your DAY of birth. Well, not too many people I know remember the day of week they’re born on. Conveniently the kind nun behind the nearby counter had a book of dates. I happen to be born on Wednesday. We plunked down 5 baht (16 cents) and the machine whirred around and the landed on a number. Once you get your number, you read your corresponding “fortune” or “merit” below.
What is the Buddhist concept merit? Merit is that which accumulates as a result of good deeds, acts or thoughts and carries over in your current or next life. People make merit by giving alms, praying or… donating money to the temple through slot machines.

Well, let’s just say I’m not lucky when it comes to Buddhist slot machines. Being Thailand, I decided a 10 Baht coin might elicit a more favorable fortune. But the machine only took 5 Baht coins. Once again, a crap fortune. Going for a third, I finally got an okay fortune (not the impending misery the other two fortunes predicted) and decided to walk away.

Maybe you think it was a bad idea going back for more.  However, I was just following the example of cunning old ladies at a temple in Taipei who throw their fortune sticks until they get favorable outcome (or the security guard tells them to leave.)

So, since I got (more that one) crap fortune, I can assure you these machines are rigged. Or my merit sucks. I mean really, who trusts electronic gambling machines anyway?

Beautiful view from the Big Buddha Temple.
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