Sunday, November 20, 2005


First meditations on the Zen of SL...

A koan is a parable of paradox that clears away conscious thought in order to elevate one's mind to a higher plane. Build up a big enough body of them, and you got the basis for a new spirituality.

Torley Torgeson has invented Second Life Koans.

More here. My favorite from his first seven:

A monk walked into a club and was stopped by security. He was asked to remove his gun. "This is not a gun," the monk said. The monk was ejected. A griefer walked into the same club and was stopped by security. He was not asked to remove his sunglasses. "These are sunglasses," the griefer said. Security was ejected.

My own contribution to the genre:

An avatar woke from a dream that he was a butterfly, then wondered whether he was a butterfly avatar dreaming that his wing and attenae attachments had not fully rezzed.

Update, 4:44PM:

Read the Comments of this entry for an explanation from Torley himself on the genesis of SL koans.

This is as good a place as any to point out the blog of Resident Tenzin Tuque, manager at the Milarepa Land Trust, a group building Buddhist sites in SL. His latest entry contemplates the juxtaposition of their Tibetan Hermitage with a popular virtual strip joint, and remains, as it were, Zen on the subject:

All those little green dots on the Second Life map, each represents a singular consciousness. We're all flying about, not too unlike the arhats, adepts and bodhisattvas depicted in so many ancient Buddhist paintings, all highly-realized beings who can fly, withstand cold, not require sleep or food and/or conjure spells and various magical objects at will... Even with all its griefers and kink, Second Life might well embody core Buddhist teachings about how consciousness is not singular, that avatars are as real a phenomenon of one's mind as anything else.

More wisdom laid down here.

Posted at 02:26 AM | Permalink


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I'm excited to be cited!My Second Life Koans have an entree in Hamlet Linden's New World Notes, "THE SOUND OF ONE MIND CLAPPING".SNOOPYbrown Zamboni from Second Life (a pair of words I type so much I don't even italicize them anymore) meets [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 20, 2005 2:20:11 PM


An avatar laments about the lack of time his real life allows him to spend in the virtual world. He spends time in the forums for this world, he discusses ways to improve this virtual world for which he does not have much time to reside.

Posted by: Hiro Pendragon at Nov 20, 2005 8:31:46 AM

LOLEX, what a cheer to see this here, Hamlet! (Pronouns suck, don't they? ;) )

What's especially notable to me is I don't even remember writing the Second Life Koans (SLK) when I think about it today. I feel I will if I let it sit for another few weeks.

There were several elements that led me on this path:

-obsession with Wu-Tang Clan (and wanting a sim named Rza)
-looking at family pictures from Thailand with monks all adeck in saffron
-money chairs/camping chairs inworld and the psychadelic imagery at some of the sites
-the way my late Dad (Lim Choo Wong, not Torley Torgeson, Sr.) would speak to me. He didn't even have to make a conscious effort at a koan, which is besides the point anyway. Sometimes during working in the front yard, he'd get into a feverish haze and just start saying incredibly hypnotic things. One of my favorites was, "You're still green, grow up and eat your potatoes!" If you repeat that over like a mantra, you can see how it becomes quite tranquil despite the originally brash tone. (My biological Dad would speak like a pro wrestler.)
-learning more about Sasha Shulgin
-reading the teachings of the Dalai Lama's teachings
-eating a pizza like a donut, from the center outwards

I hope for many blessings for my fellow Resis in Second Life and that they too, if not already, find happiness in this online world. And if they have already found it, then CONTINUED happiness it shall be! =^_^=

1. embracing contradictions
2. utilizing the lateral
3. koans and metanoia

Posted by: Torley Torgeson/Torley Wong at Nov 20, 2005 12:05:06 PM

Who created Paradise, combining our Heavens and Hells to form it while God had His/Her/It's back turned? SL is a realization of coming Dreams and Nightmares...at times the heights of personal scope of vision...at times the ghost of shattered Hiroshima where the unlucky dead still gibber and lurch. "Look! The Hanging Gardens of Babylon....with a Cock Vendor attached." SL allows me to be more than ever I was, even at my earliest beginnings, once forged of iron and the Nordlun vengence of broken men. Now, I can fly.
Painless Black Wolf
Known Inworld as Painless Kawabata
...Here for the Dawn...in this world or that...

Posted by: Painless Kawabata at Nov 22, 2005 5:49:11 AM