Sunday, October 02, 2011

Lao Zombies and the 5 Buddhist Precepts

In recent weeks, I had additional questions regarding the Sin Ha or Buddhist five precepts and zombies.

Regular people are asked to abstain from killing humans and animals, to not lie, to not commit adultery, to not steal, and to not get drunk or intoxicated.

In Pali and Sanskrit, the five precepts are collectively referred to as the pañca-sīlāni. Buddhist monks traditionally observe at least 8 precepts.

While many Lao will be practical within any given situation, if someone was going to try and remain a good Buddhist, life during a zombie outbreak could become very complicated.

The first precept is the most obvious and potentially very severe. And it presents certain ethical questions. Does one accumulate bad karma for killing zombies, even in self-defense. Is one obliged to seek merely to restrain a zombie, or is one is jeopardy for interfering with a zombie's nature?

Or, in a different argument, is one in fact more responsible to assist others and liberate them from their zombie state and reduce the zombie's karmic weight they accumulate as they kill other living beings?

Given Lao and Buddhist principles that emphasize self-reliance and personal responsibility, there can be many interpretations.

Theft poses ethical questions for Lao during a zombie outbreak. Is it right to take ammunition, food or resources from others without their knowledge or by force? Is it right to take possessions from the dead or loot an abandoned store? This may be the second-hardest precept to observe.

Sexual propriety during a zombie outbreak may not seem like a priority to observe, but a lapse can have dire consequences! No one wants to get eaten by a zombie because you couldn't keep it in your pants. For a group of survivors, interpersonal jealousies and drama suddenly exploding are a kiss of death if everyone's trying to escape or fend off a zombie attack.

Even during a zombie outbreak, do Lao have an obligation to tell the truth? Observing this precept is supposed to foster sincere and honest effort and a love of work conducted in good faith.

Honesty is necessary in regular life, even more so during an outbreak. If you can't trust the other person is giving you an honest, accurate report of zombie locations or the reliability and safety of food, ammunition or whatever resources a person needs, it undermines everyone and reduces everyone's prospects for survival.

Prohibition against drinking and the use of drugs and intoxicants may seem really minor. Until you're trying to run down a stairwell half-drunk or stoned out of your mind. Or zombies have broken through the perimeter while you're passed out on your watch. Or you're ambushed by zombies because you need a fix or you're going through withdrawal.

If you're losing control when your fellow survivors need you, you're a liability.

But what are other hazards and opportunities Lao might have to consider while fighting off zombies?

No comments: