After just a few short decades of rapid development, technology has become ubiquitous in almost every aspect of life, from the devices and services we use every day, such as mobile technology and social media, to futuristic but revolutionary phenomena like cybernetics or automation.
At first glance, technology and its development might appear to have little common ground with the 2,500-year-old spiritual tradition of Buddhism, but nothing could be further from the truth. Closer examination reveals that the interface between Dharma practices and groundbreaking technology has long been a core narrative of Buddhist leaders. And with the ever-increasing presence of technology in the world, it should remain a relevant subject for Buddhist and technologists across the globe.
Neuroscientists, for instance, have measured the brainwaves of monks to research neuroplasticity, while cybernetics and gene editing are forcing philosophers and religious leaders to rethink some of the most basic building blocks of their traditions—the question of what it means to be human and have human dignity. In addition, social media have transformed our lives and how we relate to other people, and automation will dominate the workplace in many industrialized nations, with ramifications on how we conceive of work and careers, personal fulfilment, and society.
Buddhistdoor Global’s special issue for 2019 will explore some of the questions posed by these modern realities, bringing together Buddhists, scientists, researchers, and tech writers to discuss how technology can benefit sentient beings, and what role Buddhism might have to play in this. As technological industries advance, religions are constantly forced to grapple with the consequences of progress—at times praising, but also sounding the alarm. Our writers in this special issue will discuss, from their unique and insightful perspectives, how technological forces are shaping our lives and how we Buddhists might witness and respond to such rapidly changing times.
Explore our 2019 Special Issue Articles (Updated Quarterly)
Cyberpunk: The Human Condition amid High-tech Alienation and Urban Dystopia
By Raymond Lam - 15 March 2019
Cyberpunk carries eerie reminders of certain characteristics of urban living—of insecurity and digital distractions, of social alienation and unfulfilling work, and an almost gleeful dismissiveness of the need to reflect on what it means to be human: a key concern of Buddhist thought through the ages.
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On Technology and Human Connection: An Interview with Ajahn Brahm
By Shveitta Sharma - 21 March 2019
Renowned Dharma teacher and scholar Ajahn Brahm gives his perspective on technological change and progress, and its implications—potential dangers and possible benefits—for the future of human society.
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The Path of Practice in our Digital Age
By Nikki Mirghafori - 21 March 2019
Artificial intelligence scientist and Buddhist teacher Nikki Mirghafori discusses how she gained her own affection for computers at an early age, the fear that computers might come to dominate computers, and our own responsibility when working with computers, not just for the future but for today.
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