Meditating in Second Life

I’ve been part of several Buddhist communities in my area, but over time found them lacking in various ways. I was excited to discover that in Second Life (SL), a virtual universe of worlds and communities of all kinds, had a big Buddhist population. Not only that, there are communities for all the traditional schools of Buddhism as well as more. One day, I stumbled onto the Skeptical Buddhist’s Sangha. From time to time, I also went to the traditional talks and meditations in SL.

Skeptical Buddhist's Sangha

Joining a virtual Buddhist community has advantages. It’s convenient, assuming you have a computer that can handle the free software, it’s free, and you can get support for your practice no matter where you live.

The people in SL can be every bit as committed to their practice as those you’ll meet in physical communities, and  just as supportive. Virtual interaction may sound odd, even impersonal, but I have found it to be anything but. In fact, I have met several members of the Skeptical Buddhist’s Sangha in person several times now. Some of my closest friendships are my Second Life Buddhist friends.

In Second Life, you can find Places and Groups dedicated to Buddhism in all flavors. You can attend silent or guided meditations, chanting, talks and teachings, as well as lively scheduled discussions.

Secular Buddhism is building community in Second Life to add to the other traditions. We are hoping you’ll join us for talks, discussions, meditations, and social events.

Getting Started!

Becoming a Second Life citizen and joining Buddhist groups is free and easy. Once you’re in Second Life, you’ll need to get used to moving around in a 3D virtual world. Some people take longer to acclimate than others. Be patient, and don’t hesitate to instant message (IM) any of us for help, once you figure out how to IM.

  • Download and install the Second Life viewer on your computer by clicking Join Now on the SL site.
  • During the set up process, you’ll get a free avatar and a name.
  • Once registered, log into Second Life by launching the viewer.
  • Take the time to go through the help tour, which will teach you how to walk, sit, fly, look around, etc.
  • Join Buddhist Groups by Searching on the group names listed below, clicking on the group when you see it, then clicking Join Group. By joining groups, you will receive notices of events such as talks, meditations, etc.
  • Visit some of the common Buddhist places and enjoy!

Drum Circle Social

Join Groups

Joining a Group means you are signing up to receive notices In SL about the topic of interest, in this case Buddhism. To join Buddhist groups, type the follow titles in the Search box in the viewer:

  • Secular Buddhists
  • Skeptical Buddhist’s Sangha
  • Skeptical Reader’s of SL
  • Insight Meditation
  • Secular Community
  • Basics of Buddhism (Taught at The Buddha Center, every Sunday)
  • SL Buddhists
  • Buddha Center
  • Pragmatic Buddhists of Second Life
  • Kannonji

You can join any or all of the these groups. Once the group appears in your Search, click the group title, and then click Join Group. That’s it! From there on out, you’ll receive notices of upcoming events, talks, meditations, etc.

Places to Visit

People to Friend

  • Dana Oceanlane (that’s me)
  • Ted Sivanand (Ted Meissner, The Secular Buddhist)
  • Ryuko Naminosaki (Owner of Skeptical Readers in SL)
  • Joan Ixito
  • Starsitter Quality (Owner of Skeptical Buddhist’s Sangha)

If any of you SL citizens want to be added to this list for other Secular Buddhist to Friend you, just let me know and I’ll add you.

More Information

See you in Second Life!

No Comments

  1. kirkmc on April 18, 2012 at 5:18 am

    While I think this is a great idea, Second Life is a very restrictive platform. Most people won’t bother to use it, because there is no access other than through its software. Personally, I’ve never bothered to even try it out because it just seems such a creepy idea. I’d rather interact either via words in forums, or by video chats, such as via Google + hangouts.

    I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, just that it’s so last decade. In fact, I never read anything about it anymore, except here.

  2. Dana Nourie on April 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Hi Kirkmc,

    It’s true Second Life is a challenging platform that many people don’t want to bother with it. That said there is a HUGE Buddhist community in SL! Every time I attend one of their silent meditations there are at least 6 people, but usually more. At talks there are generally at least a dozen, and at the Introduction to Buddhism classes there are often over a dozen.

    On Star’s Skeptical Buddhist Sangha Group, there are over 500 members! In my SL Insight Meditation Group there are 76 members, and The Buddha Center Group has a whopping 4088 members!

    So, not sure why you consider it creepy, but I have met some of my closet friends in SL. I met both Ted and Jan there, both of whom I see in person regularly now. I have continued my friendships with others who I met in SL, and they have continued to be an important part of my Buddhist community and support system.

    Lastly, Second Life is used for many purposes, and one of them is for the Buddhist community to meditate together, share information, and attend talks. BTW, the traditional Buddhist groups there often have monks and nuns comes speak, which is wonderful for traditional Buddhists.

    Just letting you know:-)

  3. kirkmc on April 20, 2012 at 12:51 am

    Creepy because of the whole avatar thing.

    I’m curious – of those numbers you mention, how many of them are recent additions? In other words, SL seems to me something that was hip for a while a number of years ago, but I really never, ever hear anything about it any more (except here). And I’m a tech journalist, and follow a lot of what goes on in the industry.

  4. Dana Nourie on April 20, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Hi Kirkmc,

    No doubt many of those members are old and long forgotten. I don’t know how many are still active. I do know the Buddhist community is very active, and the science community even more so. Every Sat at the astrophyics talks I go to through the Meta Institute for Computational Astrophyics, there are at least 45 avis there each time, and often as many as 65. The Star Wars roleplaying is still active too, though I don’t do that any more except to occasionally watch pod races:-)

    But likely the membership for the Buddha Center is smaller than the number I quoted. How much smaller I have no idea.

    The important thing is people who can’t find local support, and many kind, can find it online, either through places like this site, Facebook, Google+, and Second Life.

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