Thursday, October 27, 2005

What is the Milarepa Land Trust?

[above, Drak Yerpa, Tibet, upper reaches, 1999]

About the Milarepa Land Trust

We're a non-profit group dedicated to the development of Buddhist sites and content across Second Life. With homage to the 1000-year tradition of Indo-Tibetan teachers and their lineages, we build and manage temples, hermitages and other forms of rich content that are intended to engage Second Lifers with an expansive virtual experience, based on real-life sites and teachings.

As in RL, fidelity and respect to dharma (Bhuddist teachings) is paramount. We do not role-play as geshes (learned monks with degrees from established tantric colleges ), rinpoches or proffer teachings beyond what we're individually able to provide in good conscience as lay practioners. That said, everyone in Buddhism is still a student at some level. We're not here to evangelize or cloister true-believers. Besides, that's boring!

Instead, the starting point is this: Everyone, yes everyone, has that a grain of perfection -- a fully-realized, enlightened Buddha -- within them, and our development of Second Life content reflects the essential optimism of core dharma teachings. So weather we attempt to re-build of an 8th century temple or launch a few monks sky-diving, the focus ultimately remains on this expansive vision, one that regards human potential with near-limitless possibility. (Heck, you can fly in SL, survive hunger, cold, fire, rez objects at will -- your in-world avatar already emulates the temporal abilities of a highly-realized yogi or yogini...)

Current Milarepa locations include:

  • Drak Yerpa Tibetan Hermitage, Zoe

  • HQ for the Milarepa Land Trust, a mountain retreat of Tibet's greatest masters just outside of Lhasa (attached photo above is from Drak Yerpa's upper reaches). Also, check the yoga ashram 250m above the ground!

  • Drolma Lhakhang Temple, Wakeley

  • A Green Tara Temple from the 11th century, the uniquely well-preserved abode of Atisha in Tibet and refuge of Green Tara's compassion and healing teachings in SL

    [above, Drolma Lhakhang in SL]

  • Medicine Buddha college and refuge, SupportforHealing

  • In partnership with SL pioneers Support For Healing, we are attempting to build and staff a simple mountain temple that serves SFH members and offers refuge to all!

    There are also many Milarepa stupas in other locales across Second Life. Thanks to all who support our work!

    If you would like to host a stupa or monastery on your own land, we can deliver and build from RL specs. Our focus is Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, but we look forward to collaborating on Chinese and Mongolian projects -- the sacred Chinese Island of Puto Shan, Mongolia's remote monastery of Baldan Baraivan, obscure but important cave sites across the Himalayas. Tenzin Tuque and other SLers have been there and are attempting to bring these sublime, powerful and inspiring places to Second Life.

    We accept both land and tier donations. In fact, if you are a monthly paid member and either do not own land or have spare tier capacity to lend, we would most welcome any contributions!

    You can also volunteer. Are you a skilled builder with Buddhist sympathies? Are you a bad-ass scripter or animator who can't resist a good thanga? Come work with us to create what hasn't been done before -- visualizations, ambient sound sculptures, experiments with all the building tools SL has to offer. Again, contact Tenzin Tuque in-world about collaborations and commissions.

    Finally, please join the Drak Yerpa group in SL for future updates and event notices. Or, for non-joiners of all persuasions, there is this very blog, Flying Monks:

    Tashi Delek!

    Tenzin Tuque
    Milarepa Land Trust