Thursday, October 17, 2013

5 Precepts Recap: Theravada and Zombies


Because of the resurging interest in the 5 Precepts mentioned in Saymoukda Vongsay's play, Kung Fu Zombies vs. Cannibals, here's an overview of the classic ethical principles for lay Buddhists. These are at the core of their ideal practice. Actual observation will vary from soul to soul.

As a demographic note, over 65% of the population is estimated to be Buddhists in Laos. The figures may be similar outside of Laos.


As noted in Kung Fu Zombies vs. Cannibals and elsewhere, these aren't always easy precepts to follow, especially under difficult circumstances such as disasters or the Laopocalypse. One can try to come up with different justifications that assuage one's sense of guilt, but that does not necessarily remove the stain on one's overall kamma or the distance they find themselves from the damma.

1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.

2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.

3. Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.

4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.

5. Suramerayamajja pamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.

One chief concern contemporary writers have noted is that often people think the 5th Precept is the least important. But the trend among many writers is to illustrate that violating the 5th Precept has often led to violating other precepts. You might consider it the gateway precept towards creating drama and misfortune in one's life.

How many precepts can you catch the zombies, cannibals, and humans violating in Kung Fu Zombies vs. Cannibals?

How would you interpret these precepts in other art forms, such as dance or visual art?


2 comments:

FantomeFrieze said...

What confuses me about this show. Are we supposed to be rooting for zombies or cannibals?

FantomeFrieze said...

Are we rooting for zombies or cannibals, because I have problems with both of those.