Can Cyberspace Truly Be a Temple for the Cybersangha?

Madeleine Frost

Abstract

Buddhism was quick to embrace the opportunities that new technologies have afforded the Western world, and there is now a widely recognised term: the cybersangha (sangha being an order of monks) that has been defined thusly:

…a community of persons who actively scout their way to truth; who have, as an additional gift, the ability to communicate instantly without regard for their geographical proximities.

But several academics have questioned the validity of the Internet as a space for religious activity, given that human bodies and human senses are absent or restricted during its use. This paper will therefore firstly be a survey of the online resources available to the cybersangha (which will be taken to mean any Buddhist individuals who make use of the Internet for their spiritual pursuits) and will secondly tackle the question – is Cyberspace an appropriate arena for Buddhist development?

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