Buddhism in Second Life

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					Buddhism in Second Life
By: Russ Miller Brinley Shaw Lindsey Tannenbaum

Practicing Religion in a Virtual Space
Religion seeks to reach and minister to people in real life, on the radio and TV and on web sites so it‟s perfectly natural to extend that to a „virtual world‟.
“We definitely feel the presence of the Holy Spirit there in Second Life,” said Larry Transue, who runs the virtual Northbound Community Church, which is a ministry of the very real church of the same name, located in Thousand Oaks.

Practicing Religion in Second Life (cont.)
“It’s like online sex — it’s sat isfyi ng in a weird way, I suppose . . . but th e real thing is so much better, why would you want to waste your time on it? ” asked Francis Maier, chanc ellor of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Denver and an avid video gamer.
Another way to utilize Second Life is as an instructional tool. A person would be able to find out about a church or religion before seeking out a church or service in real life.

Religious Intolerance
According to the Washington Post Online, Religious harassment has ranged from naked avatars sitting on the Koran to a Swastika painted on a synagogue. Portraying a specific religion on Second Life could often be viewed as a joke. Because you can create any identity in Second Life, there is a opportunity to be intolerable of other cultures when in real life you are respectful of others and visa versa.

Does the First Amendment apply in Second Life?

Itsari Buddhist Temple
While visiting a Temple on Itsari Island, we encountered a man that invited us into his home.

Itsari Buddhist Temple
The man we spoke to welcomed us with Tea, and was more than happy to answer our questions. He told us that he only receives about 2-3 guests in a week. He also visits other Buddhist islands, but not very often. He likes to talk to others about the different ways of practicing.

“The appeal about talking about, you have to know there are alooooot of different buddhism preactices.. Some tibetan some chinese, zen, yoga, aso, all quiet same but also different so its always interesting to know what others do and how they do” - Moon Fargis

Itsari Buddhist Temple
Whenever an avatar is meditating in Second Life they are actually meditating in real life, and are away from the computer. Moon Fargis believes that people don‟t generally practice but, “Buddhism Listening & Discussion” (a group on second life) seems to be the second biggest group with 300+ members. The biggest group is "Buddhists of SL" with over 580 members.

Screen Shots and Conversation

The Church of Latter Day Saints
 Mormon professor talks…and says…

 Second life and its relation to real life religious practice, what brings

people to the virtual church. Response=“do you have enough money to travel to many many people with different ideas about many things?” “there are over 50K people here within reach at any given time; real people, sitting, typing as fast as they can.”  No difference between SL and RL “prayer is prayer” the person at the computer is in RL, “it is simply a state of mind”  The idea of being anonymous allows people to remain in a comfort zone to freely express feelings and ideas

Religion is SL is a “real” experience with “real” prayer and results Is it possible to “feel” the power of a higher being in SL, or are people begging the question so to speak?

~ Fin

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