Buddhism, the Internet and Digital Media: The Pixel in the Lotus explores Buddhist practice and teachings in an increasingly networked and digital era. Contributors consider the ways Buddhism plays a role and is present in digital media through a variety of methods including concrete case studies, ethnographic research, and content analysis, as well as interviews with practitioners and cyber-communities. In addition to considering Buddhism in the context of technologies such as virtual worlds, social media, and mobile devices, authors ask how the Internet affects identity, authority and community, and what effect this might have on the development, proliferation, and perception of Buddhism in an online environment. Together, these essays make the case that studying contemporary online Buddhist practice can provide valuable insights into the shifting role religion plays in our constantly changing, mediated, hurried, and uncertain culture.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction Daniel Veidlinger Part I: Methodological Considerations 2. The Middle Way Method: A Buddhist Informed Ethnography of the Virtual World of Second Life Gregory Grieve 3. Between Network and Story: Analyzing Hyperlinks and Narratives on Websites about Tibet Laura Osburn 4. Towards a Typology and Mapping of the Buddhist Cyberspace Louise Connelly Part II: Historical Approaches 5. Online Peer-Reviewed Journals in Buddhism: The Birth of The Journals of Buddhist Ethics and Global Buddhism Charles S. Prebish 6. A Virtual Bodhi Tree: Untangling the Cultural Context and Historical Genealogy of Digital Buddhism Gregory Grieve Part III: Buddhism, Media and Society 7. The Madhyama is the Message: Internet Affordance of Anatman and Pratitya Samutpada Daniel Veidlinger 8. Buddhist Apps: Skillful Means or Dharma Dilution? Rachel Wagner and Christopher Accardo Part IV: Case Studies 9. Virtual Tibet: From Media Spectacle to Co-Located Sacred Space Christopher Helland 10. Our Virtual Materials: The Substance of Buddhist Holy Objects in a Virtual World Jessica Falcone 11. American Cybersangha: Building a Community or Providing a Buddhist Bulletin Board? Allison Ostrowski 12. The Way of the Blogisattva: Buddhist Blogs on the Web Beverley Foulks McGuire
Gregory Price Grieve is an Associate Professor in Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Director of MERGE: a Network for Collaborative Interdisciplinary Scholarship in UNCG’s College of Arts and Sciences, and co-chair of the American Academy of Religion’s section on Religion and Popular Culture. He is the author of Retheorizing Religion in Nepal (2007) and co-editor of Historicizing Tradition in the Study of Religion (2005).
Daniel Veidlinger is an Associate Professor in the Religious Studies Department at California State University, Chico, and the author of Spreading the Dhamma: Writing, Orality and Textual Transmission in Buddhist Northern Thailand (2006).