Magic, defined here as certain beliefs and practices for mastering the physical world by appealing to supernatural forces, and religion, the pursuit of existential meaning, salvation, or awakening, do not sit easily together. Magic has acquired an unfavourable valence in Western thought. What is striking about magic in modern times is that Buddhist peoples around the world still give it credence, not everywhere, but in many places, and not only in rural societies. Anthropologists and scholars of religious studies have been returning to magic as a concept and category in their efforts to understand religious practices in Asia that otherwise defy explanation. Magic can be illuminating in understanding Buddhism even though it is a troublesome word with a long history of conflicts and overlaps with science, religion and the occult.