Celebrated on the 8th day of the 12th lunar month of the Chinese calendar, or December 8th in Japan, in many Buddhist countries, Bodhi Day commemorates the day Siddhārtha Gautama got his Buddha shit together after a prolonged sit-in under ficus religiosa – that is to say, he awoke, understood the nature of things, became enlightened.
And figuring stuff out is what “Three Monks / The Three Buddhist Priests (三个和尚, San ge he shang)” is all about. This short animation was produced after the Chinese Cultural Revolution and was released at the beginning of 1980s. The story is based on an old Chinese saying “three monks, no water” or “One monk will shoulder two buckets of water, two monks will share the load, but add a third and no one will want to fetch water.”
“Three Monks” is a gentle treatise on how pride can interfere with perceived work allocation and, in my mind, poses a question “Is a major calamity really required for us to get our shit together together?”