Dharma World

Spring 2022, Volume 49

Spring 2022 Volume 49(PDF)

The Impact of Cyberspace on a Variety of Religious Traditions and Practices

Revolutionary communication technologies play a pivotal role in contemporary society, uniting the world into a single entity by interconnecting every aspect of our lives online. However, during the Covid-19 pandemic of the past year and a half, this technology has become more salient than ever before. As necessity forced us to be physically socially distant, much of the world compensated by shifting work and social life to virtual meeting places in cyberspace.

What have been the repercussions, both positive and negative, of shifting so much of our lives to cyberspace? How has it impacted our relationships, our physical and emotional health, our education, and our religious faith in particular? Even before the pandemic, religious life had been increasingly moving onto the Internet, but unable to gather in person, followers of many religions have scrambled to adapt their lives of faith to virtual forums. After over a year of this social experiment, we have a wealth of experience allowing us to reflect on the opportunities that the online world offers to religions, as well as the challenges presented by practicing faith in cyberspace.

For traditions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, what has been the experience of undertaking ritual practices and communal worship through the disembodied, two-dimensional screens of computers, tablets, and smart phones? Can God be met in cyberspace? Have Christians been able to share the trials of others through LCD screens to be one with the suffering Christ on the cross? Has reliance on this technology facilitated or hindered the communitarian life of Islamic mosques and Jewish synagogues? Can the Buddhist monastic experience be reproduced in any meaningful way online, and how have engaged Buddhists pursued the bodhisattva practice of liberating oneself by helping others to attain liberation without meeting others in person?

Some commentators and even governments have identified our technology-interconnected world as the source of trouble, such as the spread of disinformation. Have we lost something of our humanity by interacting through screens instead of through fully embodied communication in person?

As countries move out of the pandemic, how should we proceed into the future? Should we live more of our lives through cyberspace, or should we try to “roll back the clock” and go back to the way things were before? Can we even go back to the way things were before?

In the Spring 2022 issue of Dharma World, we hope to explore the impact of living in cyberspace on humanity’s religious traditions and spiritual practices.

Dharma World

  1. Spring 2023, Volume 50

    Religion’s Role in Peacebuilding

  2. Autumn 2022, Volume 49

    Religion and Happiness

  3. Spring 2022, Volume 49

    The Impact of Cyberspace on a Variety of Religious Traditions and Practices

  4. Autumn 2021, Volume 48

    Religion's Potential for Advancing Sustainable Development

  5. Spring 2021, Volume 48

    What Is Prayer?

  6. Autumn 2020, Volume 47

    Religion’s Role in Building an Inclusive Society

  7. Spring 2020, Volume 47

    Violence in Buddhism

  8. Autumn 2019, Volume 46

    Manga, Anime, and Contemporary Religion

  9. Spring 2019, Volume 46

    Is Emptiness the Goal?

  10. July-December 2018, Volume 45

    The Buddhahood of Plants and Trees: The Environment and Buddha-Nature

  11. January-June 2018, Volume 45

    Buddhism’s One Vehicle in a World of Many Religions

  12. July-December 2017, Volume 44

    Religions Tackling Extremism

  13. January-June 2017, Volume 44

    Religion and Animals

  14. October-December 2016, Volume 43

    Features: Listening

  15. July-September 2016, Volume 43

    Contemporary Ideas about Karma

  16. April-June 2016, Volume 43

    Buddhism and Food

  17. January-March 2016, Volume 43

    Dual Religious Identity: Can One Practice Two Religions?

  18. October-December 2015, Volume 42

    The Modern Significance of Meditative Practices in Religions

  19. July-September 2015, Volume 42

    Religious Rituals and Their Meaning for Today

  20. April-June 2015, Volume 42

    Religion's Contributions to Society

  21. January-March 2015, Volume 42

    Cultivating Hearts That Welcome the Other

  22. October-December 2014, Volume 41

    Buddhism and Language

  23. July-September 2014, Volume 41

    Life After Death

  24. April-June 2014, Volume 41

    Building an East Asian Community: Roles of Religions

  25. January-March 2014, Volume 41

    Aging Societies and Religion

  26. October-December 2013, Volume 40

    Nuclear Power and Contemporary Religion

  27. July-September 2013, Volume 40

    Where Does the Buddha Live Now?

  28. April-June 2013, Volume 40

    Modern Meanings of Festivals

  29. January-March 2013, Volume 40

    Transforming Greed

  30. October-December 2012, Volume 39

    Religions Coping with Prejudice

  31. July-September 2012, Volume 39

    The Significance of Religious Communities

  32. April-June 2012, Volume 39

    Buddhist Teachings on Spiritual Liberation

  33. January-March 2012, Volume 39

    The Meaning of Modern Pilgrimage

  34. October-December 2011, Volume 38

    The Evolution of Funerals in Japan

  35. July-September 2011, Volume 38

    Buddhism in North America

  36. April-June 2011, Volume 38

    Religion and the Power of Women

  37. January-March 2011, Volume 38

    What Is True Wealth?

  38. October-December 2010, Volume 37

    Dialogue Draws Religions Closer

  39. July-September 2010, Volume 37

    Tackling the Question "What Is the Lotus Sutra?"

  40. April-June 2010, Volume 37

    Religion's Role in Abolishing Nuclear Weapons

  41. January-March 2010, Volume 37

    Help in Overcoming Alienation

  42. July-September 2009, Volume 36

    Religion and Prayer

  43. July-September 2009, Volume 36

    Religion and Media

  44. April-June 2009, Volume 36

    Religion and Health

  45. January-March 2009, Volume 36

    The Changing Forms of the Family and the Role of Religion

  46. October-December 2008, Volume 35

    The Meaning of Giving in the Contemporary World

  47. July-September 2008, Volume 35

    Buddhism in the Face of Environmental Crisis

  48. April-June 2008, Volume 35

    The Many Forms of the Bodhisattva Kuan-yin

  49. January-March 2008, Volume 35

    Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution

  50. October-December 2007, Volume 34

    Buddhism and Bioethics

  51. July-September 2007, Volume 34

    Respect for Ancestors

  52. April-June 2007, Volume 34

    Self-Examination and Peace Work

  53. January-March 2007, Volume 34

    Buddhism and Social Responsibility: Boddhisattva Practice Today

  54. October-December 2006, Volume 33

    Buddishm in Dialogue

  55. July-September 2006, Volume 33

    Religions Working for Peace

  56. April-June 2006, Volume 33

    Creating the World of the One Vehicle: The Centennial of the Birth of Rev. Nikkyo Niwano

  57. January-February 2006, Volume 33

    The Human Condition and Religion: A Global Future?

  58. November-December 2005, Volume 32

    Remembering Hiroshima

  59. September-October 2005, Volume 32

    Spirituality and Development

  60. July-August 2005, Volume 32

    Women in Contemporary Japanese Religion and Society

  61. May-June 2005, Volume 32

    Rissho Kosei-kai 67th

  62. March-April 2005, Volume 32

    "Thousand Buddhas," Sanbanggulsa Temple, South Korea

  63. January-February 2005, Volume 32

    Emerging Forms of Spirituality

  64. November-December 2004, Volume 31

    Peace Building Through Multi-Religious Cooperation

  65. September-October 2004, Volume 31

    The Increasing Importance of Dialogue and Cooperation

  66. July-August 2004, Volume 31

    Paths to Reconciliation

  67. May-June 2004, Volume 31

    Religion in Crisis

  68. March-April 2004, Volume 31

    Spiritual Friendship

  69. January-February 2004, Volume 31

    Resolving Conflict

  70. November-December 2003, Volume 30

    Dividing Good From Evil

  71. September-October 2003, Volume 30

    Common Truths: Cooperation Among Religions

  72. July-August 2003, Volume 30

    Niwano Peace Foundation

  73. May-June 2003, Volume 30

    Religionists United in Prayer for Peace

  74. March-April 2003, Volume 30

    Life is Larger Than Globalization

  75. January-February 2003, Volume 30

    Emerging Forms of Spirituality

  76. November-December 2002, Volume 29

    Roundtable Disscussion at the World Congress of the International Association for Religious Freedom

  77. September-October 2002, Volume 29

    Sixth Assembly of the Asian Conference on Religion and Peace, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

  78. July-August 2002, Volume 29

    The Most Reverend Samuel Ruiz Garcia, Recipient of the 19th Niwano Peace Prize

  79. May-June 2002, Volume 29

    National Treasure Tapestry Illustrating Shakyamuni Sermon to the Faithful

  80. March-April 2002, Volume 29

    Celebration of the Anniversary of Shakyamuni's Birth

  81. January-February 2002, Volume 29

    Religious Delegates Gather in New York for WCRP Symposium