The use of technology to recreate and enhance religious experiences has been increasingly present nowadays. An important Buddhist organization based in Taiwan, Fo Guang Shan, practices Humanistic Buddhism. Its founder, Master Hsing Yun, is famous for his use of technology in Dharma propagation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the case of Fo Guang Go mobile application sponsored by Fo Guang Shan Monastery and to gain a better understanding of how religious experiences were recreated and perceived. So far, Fo Guang Go has undergone three major iterations. Three major research questions guided the design of this study, including: (1) What functionalities are included in Fo Guang Go? How do they evolve over the iterations? (2) What are the ideas and intentions of Fo Guang Go and their relation to Dharma propagation? and (3) How do users perceive Buddhism in Fo Guang Go? Qualitative interviews were adopted as the major research method. Participants were recruited, including the director of the monastery, one information officer, and two users. In addition, video clips and presentation notes on Fo Guang Go were also collected for further analysis. The research results indicated: (1) The drive for iterations evolved from presenting tourist information to attracting young people and later to establishing religious practices; (2) Technology was regarded as a convenient tool for Dharma propagation, and the technologymediated experiences were carefully crafted to fit religious teachings; and (3) Fo Guang Go was perceived as informative and comforting and made Buddhism approachable to the public.
Hui-mei Justina Hsu, Fo Guang University, Taiwan
Miao-yao Shih, Fo Guang Shan Monastery, Taiwan
Stream: Cultural Studies
This paper is part of the ACCS2022 Conference Proceedings (View)
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