Fun with the Vinaya - Guess the non-human affliction!

The Vinaya is a very fun and interesting document to read, at least when it comes to stuff like this, as opposed to the measurements of a hut anyways. I’ve had the idea a few times to post something like this on here as a fun topic but I’ve always debated as to the appropriateness of having some fun with the monastic rules, but I’ll give it this one shot.

So Lets have some fun with the monastic rules… Buddha allows monastics to eat raw blood and raw meat (otherwise cooked meat only) during a certain affliction : so what is the non-human affliction, werewolf, zombie, demon or vampire?

"Now at that time a certain monk had an non-human affliction.
Teachers and preceptors, although nursing him, were unable to get him well. He, having gone to the swine’s slaughter-place, ate raw flesh and drank raw blood, and his non-human affliction subsided.²
They told this matter to the Lord. He said: “I allow, monks, when one has a non-human affliction, raw flesh and raw blood.”

if people actually like this and are not too offended, I may make it a continuing series, if not, we can just delete this post as inappropriate.


:sweat_smile: What is the Pali for the non-human affliction? And what does it mean anyway?

Answering your question. I like the idea!

By the way, can you provide a link to this, in case it is available in SuttaCentral (I believe it is!).

Let’s break it down:

  • Werewolf: Likely, it would’ve mentioned that the monk has been overgrown with hair and only affected on the full moon Uposatha night. Who knows if the Buddha would’ve included that into the exception however.

  • Zombie: would’ve not been included in the Vinaya, or included as something entirely separate, as I imagine the Buddha would’ve set a rule against monks with non-human afflictions that result in bodily decomposition whilst alive and posing an active mortal threat to the rest of the Sangha.

  • Demon: the affliction may have been differently listed if a possession were in play here, and would’ve resulted in a different Vinaya rule as the forces at play are wholly different and the monk would not have been “himself” in the least, as the demon would’ve likely taken cognitive control. That being said, if this were a more…subtle possession, this may be the case, but I have a feeling the Buddha would’ve known either which way.

  • Vampire: Similar to zombie. Active mortal threat to the rest of the Sangha.

Clearly, the monk’s non-human affliction is simply that he was utter nutter butter with a potential side of demonic possession.

EDIT: Adding onto that, the affliction affecting vampires and zombies are both irreversible to the best of my knowledge and, in the case of the latter, fatal. Also, one must be dead to be a vampire. I don’t recall the dead being allowed to join the Sangha.


@Gabriel_L I’ll try to find it on sutta central, I read my vinaya from the old book of discipline by i b horner mostly

Now at that time a certain monk had an non-human affliction. Teachers and preceptors, although nursing him, were unable to get him well. He, having gone to the swine’s slaughter-place, ate raw flesh and drank raw blood, and his non-human affliction subsided. They told this matter to the Lord. He said: “I allow, monks, when one has a non-human affliction, raw flesh and raw blood.”

EDIT : , do a search for “blood” on the page and you’ll find it about 1/4th down, I’ll try to find the Pali but I’m not good enough yet to spot certain passages in huge pali texts very easily.


Tena kho pana samayena aññatarassa bhikkhuno ama­nus­si­kā­bādho hoti. Taṃ ācari­yu­paj­jhāyā upaṭṭhahantā nāsakkhiṃsu arogaṃ kātuṃ. So sūkarasūnaṃ gantvā āmakamaṃsaṃ khādi, āmakalohitaṃ pivi. Tassa so ama­nus­si­kā­bādho paṭippassambhi. Bhagavato etamatthaṃ ārocesuṃ. “Anujānāmi, bhikkhave, ama­nus­si­kā­bādhe āmakamaṃsaṃ āmakalohitan”ti.

I believe this is the Pali, and as I suspected it’s simply a+manussa (ama­nus­si­kā­bādho)

ah I think I’ve got something… from the DPR:

Amanussika (adj.) [fr. amanussa] belonging to or caused by a spirit Vin i.202, 203 (˚âbādha being possessed by a demon).

abādha: without any hindrance.


Great idea Bhante! I don’t think it’s too silly.

@Bill_R a well reasoned thread :slight_smile:

thanks @Pasanna, good to hear from you, hope the Vassa has been spiritually successful.

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This is an interesting passage and thought experiment! I don’t know much about the asian mythology of zombies/werewolves/demons/et al, but from a western perspective wouldn’t raw blood or meat actually work in favor of being a zombie, werewolf, or vampire? I would think a vegetarian diet may cure those afflictions more likely!

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Porphyria maybe? Lol that’s a stretch though, I have no idea. Although porphyria can cause a blood craving, and exposure to sunlight causes scaring and excess hair growth so you look kinda inhuman. I was gonna say that too, could non-human be translated as inhuman instead? Like it’s an inhuman disease, like just a disease that really sucks. This is pretty interesting either way.

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My guess would be demonic possession, which might be either real or psychosis, depending! There are, however, specific words for possession, which we don’t find here, though, so it’s not clear. :japanese_goblin:

I’ve heard of such cases where the individual demands blood. In fact it happened in a village I was living in one time. A woman was “possessed” (or psychotic) and demanded a pig be slaughtered for her. It was a terrible case: the woman ended up throwing herself off a cliff. But she didn’t die, so she dragged her broken body back up to the top, and threw herself off again. :scream:

Another possibility would be a disease caused by spirits. Before germs, people often believed malevolent spirits were the cause of disease. But this would normally occasion a sacrifice to the relevant deity, not the afflicted person eating blood and flesh.

Then again …


Is this raw blood or pig’s blood?

Blood as food:

Demons are used to denote obvious physical illness in traditional healing arts in Sri lanka. They then attempt to drive out the demon! So in line with the broad usage of pali words amanussa inhuman might have a broader definition than being possessed by a spirit.

From a psychiatric point of view maybe he had a ‘Trance and Possession disorder’, commonly found in man cultures. We now know that mental illness manifests as commonly recognized and validated forms of expression of distress. For example depression is can be communicated as bodily aches and pains in certain cultures, especially when the local language is lacking in words (concepts) to communicate subtler forms of mental distress. Therefore spirit possession would be an accepted and recognized form of expressing illness in that culture.

That could have multiple causes. It is impossible to diagnose someone from thousands of years ago! I am not inclined to think this is actual possession or that such a thing is even possible. The short duration of it suggests a threat/evoking anxiety in order to gain something, more in line with a emotionally unstable personality disorder but I might be wrong.

with metta

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I’ve had blood (sometimes called black) pudding before and blutwurst (probably only Germans will understand the appeal). I am embarassed to admit I liked them!

The question here is though, it seems that the raw blood and flesh is supposed to be curative if I am understanding rightly? Or is the rule interpreted as that the spirit/demon may demand raw blood/flesh so the monk is to be forgiven if they eat that while under its influence?

I was vegetarian for about 13 years. I have a chronic neuromuscular condition that causes pain and weakness. My doctors advised me to eat meat because it will improve my strength. I hated the idea, and eventually gave in. It made me feel astonishingly better almost immediately. Now I have a mostly protein/meat centric diet. Oddly-- rare, red meat (steaks etc) specifically gives me this boost of strength and energy. My friends think I may be a zombie (I jokingly pinch their calves to find the “tender cuts, just in case” ). Maybe I should consider that I am possessed!