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Barbara O'Brien

Is Second Life Dukkha, Too?

By January 28, 2013

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An assistant professor at Kansas State University is researching the spread of Buddhism in virtual reality. As part of this, she is studying the development of Buddhist communities in Second Life.

I confess I have ventured into Second Life only a couple of times. The first time I became frustrated because my avatar persisted in having a rabbit head, and I did not want a rabbit head. A few years later I tried again, and managed to create a nicer avatar who wandered around on an island for awhile.

As fun as that was, somehow I just never got into Second Life. Maybe I'll check it out again, though. Apparently there are temples where avatars can meditate. Does anyone here have any experience with Second Life Buddhism?

Comments
January 29, 2013 at 8:51 am
(1) Mumon says:

Second life? I barely have time for the first one.

When you consider the stuff you can do on the internet dealing with our tangible existence, virtual reality thingies are not even worth mentioning.

January 29, 2013 at 2:30 pm
(2) Mila says:

“The first time I became frustrated because my avatar persisted in having a rabbit head, and I did not want a rabbit head.”

ROFL :)

(what — you aren’t into cyber-carrots?)

Anyway, I never knew such a thing as “Second Life” even existed. I guess I can now cross it off my list of “things that exist that I have no idea actually exist.”

So fascinating …..

Is dukkha more or less intense, or basically the same, in “second life” as it is in “real life” — who knows? What I want to know is — if my second-life avatar completes, say, a three year, three month, three week and three day meditation retreat, will the merit transfer into my “real life”? And if so, what’s the exchange rate? :)

I felt inspired to learn about the woman who has made a million (real!) dollars, selling Second-Life real estate. Could this be the long-awaited solution to all of my financial challenges? If I can’t become enlightened in Second Life, maybe at least ….. a few extra hot fudge sundaes, each month?

January 31, 2013 at 8:00 pm
(3) Grady Ormsby says:

The dissonance between the article about Second Life and the article about self-immolation hits a ten on the Richter scale.

January 31, 2013 at 8:30 pm
(4) Grady Ormsby says:

The dissonance between the articles about Second Life and self-immolation rate about a ten on the spiritual Richter Scale.

February 1, 2013 at 1:37 am
(5) Zarah says:

Surely what ever we experience or do is part of life, virtual or otherwise. The question should be whether we act ethically, with mindfulness and wisdom.

February 1, 2013 at 8:37 am
(6) Mila says:

Zarah — I tend to agree with what you’ve articulated here … particularly given that as we embark upon a more-than-superficial investigation of what exactly is “real” and what exactly is “virtual” — it all becomes much more slippery than we might have (given our naive materialist assumptions) imagined.

However, there’s also a strong case to be made that, say, gunning down a dozen people within a video game, is much less damaging, in terms of its immediate consequences, than is doing the same in the “real world” so to speak. In other words: there’s a place for making the distinction, and a place for dissolving it.

February 2, 2013 at 10:57 pm
(7) Darwida says:

I am not well informed on the subject of Second Life, so I would like to talk about language. I hope that all the people in the future who find the word AVATAR or GURU go back and find the original meaning of those words and are thereby led to the Dharma or a spiritual path. In my understanding, Krishna was considered an Avatar in India. May we all be led from present meaning of words like AVATAR or GURU, etc. down the path of enlightenment. I am always saddened when I hear people online say, “Don’t trust him, he is a “guru” as if guru is a bad word. Let us celebrate the real gurus today and in the past.

Just to be clear, I am making no judgement about Second Life or the article, which may benefit those who can learn about Second Life. I am just talking about words, especially words that have spiritual connotations.
Darwida Brzee

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