What would a Buddhist do in a zombie outbreak?

Sometimes I lurk on Quora and answer a few questions. Mainly, I will admit, because I find the appalling standard of knowledge on Buddhism to be so annoying. Anyway, today I got this very pertinent question. Since it’s so practical and beneficial, I thought I should share it here. Now with added emojis!

###What would a Buddhist do in a zombie outbreak?

The problem with the question is that it’s completely unrealistic. Not the zombie part, the Buddhist part. There’s no such thing as “a” typical Buddhist. There’s lots of kinds of Buddhists, so let’s break it down.

  1. A vipassana Buddhist: They’d walk even slower than the zombies. The zombies wouldn’t realize they’re alive, and they’d just shuffle on by. :walking:
  2. A bodhisattva: Would find some children on the verge of being eaten by a swarm of zombies, and they’d beg the zombies to come for them instead. So the zombies would eat them, and go back for the children. :raising_hand:
  3. A traditional Thai Buddhist: Wouldn’t have to worry. After all, they’ve got their amulets and their ghost baby to keep them safe. :ghost:
  4. A Tibetan Buddhist: Using skillful means, they’d simply add zombies to their pantheon of deities and get the zombies to protect them. :japanese_ogre:
  5. A Theravadin bhikkhuni: The zombies would be like, “Don’t be ridiculous! We’re not going to eat you, you’re just a creature from mythology. You can’t possibly exist!” :bhikkhuni: (Emoji does not exist.)
  6. A forest monk: Would retreat to the furthest reaches of the wilderness, where they’d sit perfectly still in deep meditation until the evening. Then they’d come out looking for some coffee and get eaten. :deciduous_tree: :relieved: :thought_balloon: :coffee: :fearful:
  7. An Ajahn Brahm supporter: While everyone else ran in terror, they’d laugh and tell them not to worry, saying: “Good? Bad? Who knows?” Then a zombie would start eating their brains, and they’d be like: “Oh, okay. This actually is bad! Really bad!” :smile: :laughing: :hugging: :worried: :sweat: :scream:
  8. An American Buddhist: Would tell everyone to respect the rights of “undead Americans.” :scales:
  9. A pre-sectarian Buddhist: “There’s nothing about zombies in the Suttas. They can’t be real. It must be just something added by the commenta- ARRRGGGH! NOOO! &^$%^%$#$@#” :skull_crossbones:
  10. An actual living, breathing, non-stereotypical human Buddhist: Would run and scream in terror just like anyone else. But, you know, mindful terror. :sunglasses:

Number 9… Lol… XD

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I remembered this verse from the Dhammapada

Verse 21.

Heedfulness is the Deathless path,
heedlessness, the path to death.
Those who are heedful do not die,
heedless are like the dead.



I know what the Buddha would do. He would say to them, “You have been eating brains for 84,000 lifetimes. Are you full yet?” At that point, the zombies would all ask for, and receive, the going forth, and become Arahants within seven days.


But can we make this happen though. :smiley:


We should make a submission to the Unicode consortium, perhaps?

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Looks up Unicode consortium

Still don’t know what that means, but sure! :grin:

Apologies in advance for resorting to the single most passive-aggressive site on the internet. What can I say? I just couldn’t resist.


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:joy: I just shared this with the Discord community WHICH YOU ARE STILL NOT A PART OF and they thought it was funny.

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Those wondering about the baby ghost -

What about the Zennies?


Must I think of everything?

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You became a Zombie because of your bad Kamma. So do not cause any more harm to anybody now unless you want to continue to be a Zombie or even a worse one. That is what a Buddhist would say.

I think I found a reference to a zombie-like creature in DN 24 where the Buddha told Sunakkhattha about the destiny of Korakkhattiya, a naked ascetics, after his death and told him to ask it to the dead body of the ascetics which can speak about his destiny after death.

But anyway, this is a very good Buddhistic joke, bhante :smiley:

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Nyimak… :3

Good point! If only our sample pre-sectarian Buddhist had read more Suttas, she would have survived.

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How about Abhidhamma peoples? :joy:

Abhidhammikas might start classifying zombies into 8 major types, each of which has 12 subtypes, and would then start arguing about whether zombies can be said to truly exist and have their own-nature… as they are being eaten.


This is hilarious,

but I actually have spent at least a few minutes thinking if the world went into a zombie apocalypse, how would I, as a monastic, live(as a monastic, if at all) and is killing a zombie a breach of the vinaya.

I think it would greatly depend on if we knew if it was a traditional come back from the dead zombie, or a “rage zombie”.

that being figured out, can you even practice the dhamma as a monk in a situation where society has devolved into survival? most likely not, although I might be able to wander the wasteland with my saṃyutta nikaya ala The Book of Eli and try to live by as many of the rules as possible shrugs.

and also, the Buddha sooo talks about zombies in the Dhammapada :wink:

Heedfulness is the path to the Deathless. Heedlessness is the path to death. The heedful die not. The heedless are as if dead already.(ahem walking dead) [Dhp 21]

Ahh, this reminds of the time when the topic of vampires was introduced to a circle of senior Theravada monks, and immediately went to the question of whether drinking blood was allowable in the afternoon.

I have actually used the word zombie in my translation. In fact, I try to translate all the words for non-human beings. They don’t always have close correlates in European creatures, but then, the meanings and applications of such words in Europe varies tremendously, too.


…discerning the arising and passing of each bite… one by one…as they occurred