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date: 26 September 2017

Abstract and Keywords

Buddhism is flourishing on the Internet and digital media. However, the form and usage patterns of Buddhist media technologies have varied considerably from the earliest oral texts to the latest online versions of the Buddhist canon. Do such media transformations merely transmit the old dharma in a new bottle, or do they change Buddhism’s message? Are these changes to be welcomed or shunned? This chapter explores how various media technologies tend to promote particular aspects of Buddhism, and also how different Buddhist worldviews shape how these media are used. First, it sketches a short genealogy of Buddhist media technologies. Second, it concentrates on contemporary digital media, briefly describing Buddhist bulletin boards, email lists, websites, computer apps, virtual worlds, and video games. Third, the chapter explains digital media’s procedural, participatory, encyclopedic, and spatial affordances. Finally, it illuminates how digital media affordances are shaped by the technological worldview of convert Buddhism.

Keywords: Buddhism, digital media, Internet, online, technology, convert Buddhism

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