Buddhagrid, Alex Grey, 1994, computer-generated image.
Buddhagrid, Alex Grey, 1994, computer-generated image.

It is clear that the conversation started by a barefoot sage five centuries before Christ continues in the form of digital impulses crisscrossing the Earth, reaching into bulletin boards, downloading sutras, and conducting interactive salons. An entire world of Cyberbuddhism has manifested in the ether, with a population that is growing wildly. However, the jury may still be out on whether ultimately the electronic Buddhist world is a distraction, or the possibility of a whole new level of experiencing dharma.

We explore, in this section, a series of questions raised by the advent of Buddhist electronic interactivity. What would a map to the world of digital dharma look like? Who is defending liberty and freedom of expression in cyberspace? Can computer graphics give us a clue to the Tibetan practice of visualizing a mandala? What happens when a Buddhist monastery goes online, and what is the state of the art in the transcription of sutras and other Asian classics onto CD-ROM? Dharma digirati now have access to a voluminous serving of data and discussion, all lending credence to the idea that Buddhism will not be immune to the virtual explosion of human microprocessing power that is transforming all our lives.

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