Final Draft: How To Become A Buddhist

How To Become A Buddhist (In The Internet Era)

Website link:

According to Buddhist sutras, there are ten thousands of Buddhas in the world, which implys “infinity”. The information accessible on the Internet also brings us the feeling of “infinity”. 

“How to be a Buddhist in the internet era” combines these two “infinity” in an ironic way. Buddhists nowadays no longer spend hours or even days to worship every Buddha statues separately. And there’s a Chinese proverb called, “One never goes to the temple for nothing.” which is the satire of utilitarianism.

Inspired by Nam June Park’s video installation TV Buddha (1974), I made a simple website for “buddhists”. The worshippers don’t need to come to temples now. Just open this website, and they could worship more than ten thousands of Buddhas in one minute and make wishes.

I’ve user tested this draft version last week in Sam Lavigne‘s class. The whole class burst into laughing when the computer voice and the images started looping…One student even tried to manipulate the voice rate and language to create a song.

Here are some of the feedbacks collected:

1. For the controlling of voice rate, I’ve considered two ways. One is what’s shown in this draft version which users can control the rate by themselves; the other one is removing user control, the voice rate starts from low and gradually becomes high automatically, and the value shown in “Devotion” will be mapped with the voice rate. Sam said he couldn’t know which one is better, and another student said he preferred the second one since it enhances the role of the computer and thus makes this website more ironic. I will make the second version and user test more people to determine which one to use.

2. One student suggested add one more input text area for making wish, so that he could control the two looping voices together.

3. Someone suggested extend it to more religions.

Further Improvement:

1. I will make a server that collects the users’ wishes and try to make use of them, but still haven’t thought of what to generate from the results.

2. Add one or two guide sentences before letting the user type the wish.

3. I’m considering about whether or not adding more religions. And also the choice of voice rate control.

4. For now I haven’t applied the role of chance, so the outputs each time is kind of predicted. Struggling to think of a way to do that.


One thought on “Final Draft: How To Become A Buddhist”

  1. jade – awesome – the audio makes a big difference (I watched this first on the plane with sound off). But the slider that changes the speed oesn’t map to anything – except the voice speed – it doesn’t affect the picture speed, and I cannot map it to a devotion level
    who are the names in the pulldown menu?
    is buddhism reduced to wish fulfillment? i have some issue with that although i like the sentiment of the project a LOT. Be cautious of being simply clever – its too easy!!

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