There are more and more horror movie during pandemic and tension moment. Hong Kong is one of the example before riots recently.

Pretty much of productions of horror or ghost movie produced because the audience just like to watch especially they are in horror state as when there is a demand, then it will have the supply.

Source - Protest in 2019 HK

Below are some reasons why some people enjoy and what happens when watching a scary movie from Psychology view:

Horror entertainment can trigger the fight-or-flight response, which comes with a boost in adrenaline, endorphins, and dopamine. The brain can then process surroundings and conclude that the experience is not a genuine threat.

Below are some causes and effects of watching a scary movie:

Excitation transfer: This theory states that people who experience an emotional response to horror also experience more enjoyment when threats are resolved.

Individual empathy: People who are less empathetic enjoy horror films more, according to Professor Ron Tamborini. He suggests that “viewers with high levels of empathy should dislike horror films because they react negatively to the suffering of others.”

Sensation-seeking: People who watch horror movies may want to stimulate sensory reactions. Studies indicate these viewers may be more aggressive than other people.

Source of Reference - Concordia University

Ques Ghost or horror stories/videos are appropriate from Buddhism view? As people like to watch now during pandemic to have temporary relief and feel good? Even some Buddhism stories itself talks about Ghost realms but it will give a bring back positive message.

Post note - one or 2 horror must watch in a decade should fine like train to Busan right? but not during pandemic and I know I am far from enlightenment too.

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    I can understand "Buddhism related ghost or horror stories/videos" - it's where Buddhism-related characters like the Amitabha Buddha or Kuan Yin appear as characters, right? But what are "appropriate Buddhism related ghost or horror stories/videos"? What makes them appropriate? Perhaps, we should even ask if ghost or horror stories/videos are appropriate at all, from a Buddhist perspective.
    – ruben2020
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 16:53
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    I tried to edit @ruben2020 brother. You may edit or change the content or even close it if it is not appropriate. I tried to post another quality ques next time." Amitabha Buddha or Kuan Yin appear as characters, right" --> i think you are talking something between Theravada and Mahayana different way of teaching right? I will get back to you in the chat box some day soon. Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 2:25

3 Answers 3


Ghost and horror stories are thrill-seeking venues, not much different from a roller-coaster or bungie-jump. The egoic mind seeks them out because it suffers from an existential fear of extinction. The story creates a fantasy in which the hero confronts a murderous supernatural force and then escapes or overcomes it (for the moment), even while that force decimates the ignorant, the disbelievers, and the morally weak.

In a way — and with full appreciation of the irony — horror stories are how the egoic mind (mis)interprets the concept of enlightenment: karma is imagined as the murderous supernatural force pursuing those without virtue; the characters battle their way towards liberation, or fall through their own foolishness. Even the cyclic nature of the world is captured in the sense that the murderous force never truly dies, but reconstitutes itself again and again in the sequels.

I'm not going to dictate whether watching a horror story is good or bad, any more that I'd dictate that eating pizza is good or bad. They are indulgences, and in moderation indulgences are not necessarily harmful. So long as one is aware of the risk of reinforcing that fundamental egoic (mis)understanding of the world...


Ghost or horror stories/videos are not appropriate during a pandemic. Instead, you should educate yourself about the reality of pandemic, such as at this link.

Watching ghost or horror stories/videos is negligence or heedlessness. The Dhammapada says:

The foolish and ignorant indulge in heedlessness, but the wise one keeps his heedfulness as his best treasure.

By Heedfulness did Indra become the overlord of the gods. Heedfulness is ever praised, and heedlessness ever despised.

  • people need to survive and eat, that's the basic principle. They will produce more horror movie in pandemic state. Where there a demand, then it will have the supply. Horror movie didn't against any rules, so people will keep doing it. Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 10:40

While watching horror movies or reading horror stories are not against the five precepts, these are definitely considered unwholesome and unskillful, because they fill the mind with aversion and delusion, which are part of the three poisons.

From the Talaputa Sutta:

"Apparently, headman, I haven't been able to get past you by saying, 'Enough, headman, put that aside. Don't ask me that.' So I will simply answer you. Any beings who are not devoid of passion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of passion, focus with even more passion on things inspiring passion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Any beings who are not devoid of aversion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of aversion, focus with even more aversion on things inspiring aversion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Any beings who are not devoid of delusion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of delusion, focus with even more delusion on things inspiring delusion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Thus the actor — himself intoxicated & heedless, having made others intoxicated & heedless — with the breakup of the body, after death, is reborn in what is called the hell of laughter. But if he holds such a view as this: 'When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas,' that is his wrong view. Now, there are two destinations for a person with wrong view, I tell you: either hell or the animal womb."

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