Korean organizations have discovered a three-dimensional cyber-frontier ― the online game Second Life.
Won-Buddhism, a splinter Buddhist group formed in Korea, set up a huge temple in the Second Life gameworld with the celebration of Buddha’s Birthday approaching.
They are one of the first Korean religious groups to establish a presence in the 3D virtual world created by California-based Linden Lab.The Won-Buddhist group said it plans a special ceremony for Thursday, Buddha’s Birthday.
Currently, the area next to the temple, which is a replica of the religious group’s actual main temple, is decorated with colorful hanging lanterns.
Followers of Won-Buddhism meditate in front of a large black circle (called a “won” in Korean) instead of traditional Buddhist icons.
The Won-Buddhists’ three-story virtual temple consists of a large congregation hall and a courtyard, which is decorated with Korean architectural motifs, such as a stone pagoda.
The Won-Buddhists plan to place an English version of their scripture inside the building and use the building as a venue to promote their religion to both Koreans and foreigners.
“We anticipate that this is a good opportunity to reach out to people beyond the barriers of or generation. We will continue to strengthen promotion activities in the cyber world,” a spokesperson for the group said.
The construction company Eld Co. is building a model house for its apartment units in Second Life.
The Incheon-based company hopes to finish construction ― on the Internet houses, not the real ones ― by the end of this month.
In a statement, the company said that it wanted to try a new type of online marketing.
“There have been a lot of Internet model houses, but they weren’t very successful,” the company said. “We’re hoping that this will work because it’s a different business model.”
The model house is built to be similar to the real offline model house, and users of Second Life can enter the building for a three-dimensional experience.
Korea’s top science school, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, or Kaist, has also entered Second Life.
Kaist’s Graduate School of Culture and Technology has established an independent island in Second Life and is hosting an online course in the virtual environment.
It is the first Korean educational institute to officially set up a cyber school within Second Life. This semester’s course is not open to the general public.