Thursday, January 21, 2010

Buddhist Geeks - Episode 155: The Dharma of Second Life

Hmmm . . . I have never done the "Second Life" thing, and have never even been tempted to start. For those of you who do, what motivates you? How did you get involved? I'm thinking about a research study that will look at the relationship between "meat" folk and their cyber "alters," so I'm curious why people play these games.

Buddhist Geeks - Episode 155: The Dharma of Second Life

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This week we’re joined by Zen teacher Jiun Foster, who is actively involved in teaching dharma in the virtual world of Second Life. We speak with him about what it’s like being a participant in Second Life, and what the limitations and strengths of Second Life are, compared to other social media technologies.

Finally, we patch in Adam Tebbe, the wizard behind the curtain, to share some details of the organization he helped start, that is responsible for getting so many good dharma teachers onto Second Life.

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2 comments:

Grey said...

I haven't gone "in world" for any length of time in quite a while, well over a year, but I started playing around with Second Life way back when because there was a budding integral community there and it was the closest thing I could find to "face-to-face" interaction with other integral practitioners. It's no replacement for "meatspace", but it does have a different quality than text chat, or even voice chat, and other forms of social networking, so it's something to experience at least once. I think it will need to make more technological progress (towards more realism, such as better reproduction/imitation of body language by the avatars) before I do much with it again, though.

Just downloaded the podcast and will give it a listen later. Thanks, Bill!

Jiun Foster said...

I think so long as people are looking at Second Life as a "game" it will continue to be somewhat off-putting. For educational and religious organizations though (such as our own Five Mountain), what we're finding is that it's not so much a game, as it is a platform - if that makes any sense.

It's a platform for communication at a distance, and it allows not only for a significantly more personal connection than typical web forum or chat, but adds a visual component to the voice-based interaction. For example, if I'm teaching a class on the Lotus Sutra and I want to discuss the magnificent tower that "rises up from the ground" - sure, I *could* describe it... or, I could simply create it.

Want to teach a class on the life of the Buddha? Why not have that class "visit" the locations of various significant events?

Yes, it *can* be a game, and it is for many - but for us, and other non-profit, or religious, or educational institutions around the world, Second Life has become an amazing platform for broad communication that can't really be matched by anything else.

You should give it a try! :-)

Rev. Jiun Foster, SDPS