The Buddha envisioned a new society in his discourse The City. The City symbolizes a flourishing communal life based on the principles of Buddhism. His “assembly” (Pariṣā) of students and teachers offer a model for how such a society can operate. In this community, all members are equal in training they receive, regardless if they are men or woman, monks or laypeople.
Decentralized religion: a complete Buddhist and secular meditation ecosystem on the Ethereum blockchain
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Buddha envisioned a new society
with student-teacher communities
and an egalitarian government.
This is a far cry from what is normative in most Buddhist traditions today. “The current state of affairs contradicts and distorts what appears to be Buddha’s original intent and flies in the face of the values of equality and human dignity that characterize the modern age”. Lotos is a project to explore and realize Buddha’s vision in modern times.
On the Blockchain
Lotos is built on the Ethereum blockchain. From borderless transactions between students and teachers to an immutable audit trail for temples, the blockchain is essential to executing our vision.
Transparent and immutable financial records eliminate corruption and preserve trust
An alternative to corporate capitalism, users lower desire for consumption by meditating
Anonymity for users, transactions and ensuring certain records are never destroyed
Users vote on policy and software direction; mindfulness is applied to a system-wide level with a DAO
A high degree of flexibility allows for a full range of temple structures. From temples that are traditional, authoritative and secretive, to experimental egalitarian temples with equally distributed wealth.
Positions, ranks, or claims of attainment can be hidden, or publicized, determined by votes of algorithmically.
Proof of practice
A student’s practice is verified through written, audio, or video submissions or automatically through account activity.
“Ordination” requirements range from public and open for everyone to invite-only or requiring an application.
Temples decide whether to provide extrinsic Karmic incentives to students, teachers or to donators to reward good action.
Physical temples can be hard to find and hard to travel to. Digital temples on Lotos are easy to find and easy to join, from anywhere in the world. With digital classes, you can bring teachers from the other side of the world inside your house without needing to travel anywhere.
Today, it is nearly impossible to compare temples meaningfully. You can get recommendations from friends, or read reviews (when they exist) online. Lotos creates a public universal reputation system. Not only that, on Lotos all aspects of a temple (for example how authoritarian vs. egalitarian they are, how much teachers are paid, etc.) are transparent and easily comparable.
While there are some good services for guided meditations (podcasts), there are none that focus on live community interactions. When you join Lotos, you are joining a community of real people just like you. The social benefits of joining a Sangha were stated by Buddha many times.
Corruption in temples is common. To fight this, we make all economic records transparent and recorded forever on the blockchain. Trust in organizations and teachers is critical for student progress. After all, doubt in teachers (vicikicchā) is one of the five hindrances in Buddhism.
Don’t pay expensive bills for a physical location or your own digital infrastructure. Do everything you would normally do with a physical temple, but online for free.
Teachers are paid instantly, without middlemen, anywhere in the world. Accepting payment for both on-demand content and live classes takes no extra effort. This makes is delightfully easy for teachers to earn a living without needing their own infrastructure.
Hosting live classes, finding the right platform, coordinating times etc. with students across different timezones is a hassle. Lotos makes these processes as easy as possible for teachers.
Traditionally temples have erected golden Buddha statues and done other expensive things to recruit students. On Lotos, you only need a good reputation score, and students will automatically find and join you. Focus on student progress rather than marketing.
To practice right mindfulness
we need the right environment,
and that environment is our sangha.
THICH NHAT HANH
The sangha (community) is so important that the Buddha said it is the “whole of the holy life”
Lotos focuses on community and live interaction. Buddhism is often seen as a solitary path, however, practicing with a healthy community and making wholesome friends is incredibly important for developing Buddhist qualities.
Universal reputation scores for temples and teachers focus efforts on student progress
Wearables like heartbeat monitors and EEG headsets can provide feedback to students and teachers
Data is made public with the MIT License to promote the scientific study of meditation
A scheduling and knowledge base chatbot to assist teachers and answer common questions
Join the Lotos Community
We need your help.
Lotos is early-stage and experimental. We need your feedback to shape the ecosystem. This project will only grow to succeed with help from people like you. Please share our project and contribute by joining the discussion.
Minimum Viable Product
Meet Our Team
We are a group of “Buddhist geeks” that believe technology and science can improve Buddhism for the benefit of humanity.
The popular opinion that Buddhism is a religion of austerity is misleading. In the origins story, Buddha only became enlightened when he accepted wealth by rejecting asceticism, and wealth is often encouraged and praised in the Pali Canon. Buddha was an astute businessman, economist, and lawyer, with early Sanghas functioning like modern banks, even advertising their business activities. Monks practiced writing loan contracts, endowments, deposits, negotiable securities, and even issued health insurance. Chinese Buddhist temples had huge treasuries and were the world’s first genuine forms of concentrated financial capital. Buddha himself said that avoiding wealth was deplorable, and one should circulate it in a noble way.
For more information read our Medium post “Can money and Buddhism mix?”
Karma tokens are the first effort to instantiate “Buddhist Economics” on the blockchain, offering an alternative vision to standard corporate capitalism. Lotos’ underlying values guide the economic programming of the platform so that accumulation and usage of KRM are in accordance with the Noble Path. In economic terms, people are guided to allocate their time between consumption and meditation—with optimal allocation occurring when meditation lowers the desire for consumption with no change in satisfaction. Furthermore, in Lotos, some “successful” consumers (students) are transformed into to producers (teachers).
For more information read our Medium post “Why does Lotos depend on a new token to execute its vision?”
The blockchain offers many advantages that are core to our vision. For example, the elimination of corruption is an otherwise insurmountable problem, with the blockchain’s transparent and immutable financial recording being the only feasible solution. Decentralization also allows true egalitarian communities to emerge which is the Buddha’s original vision for a healthy society. While digitization can help us achieve many of our goals, decentralization completes the vision.
Lotos starts with the belief that blockchain technology will continue gaining market acceptance, and barriers to entry will continue to decrease over the next three to five years. Until then, we will employ free case managers that will facilitate Karmic transfer to make the transition as seemless as possible. We plan to use API calls to an exchange so users can make Karmic transfers to fiat without leaving the Lotos Network.
Lotos solves many problems and makes other aspects of Buddhist practice more efficient. We purport to solve corruption and religious persecution. We address temple accessibility, comparability and the movement between them, and interactivity with them. For teachers our goal is to automate processes so they can focus on student progress, for example, we automate class hosting and scheduling, facilitate borderless and micro payments for ease of earning a living, the monitoring of student progress, eliminate costs associated with physical temples, and automate recruitment. Having all student-teacher interactions on one ecosystem also allows us to collect data to aid the scientific understanding of meditation. The sum of these improvements is intended to increase the rate of student acquisition and progress (depth of understanding). Lotos is attempting to get more people to meditate, and allow them to gain benefits from meditating faster, with the ultimate goal of improving these two aspects by several orders of magnitude.
Lotos will begin as a web app which works on all desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.
We plan to offer optional hardware in the future. A dedicated physical space frees a student from distraction and helps establish a routine which improves consistency and duration of meditation. For teachers, it offers a ready-to-go video and audio streaming solution that will meet the quality requirements of our network.
If there were no improvements or changes to Buddhism, where would we be? There would be no Mahayana Buddhism, no Vajrayana Buddhism, and no Zen Buddhism which all developed long after the death of the Buddha. Some people value tradition over novelty and wish to keep Buddhism as close to the original teachings as possible. All these beliefs are possible on the Lotos platform. The ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to practice is solely determined by temples and teachers, and not by Lotos. What does the future of Buddhism look like? And how will adapt? What will Buddhism look like in 50 years, 100 years, or even 100,000 years? If it is to survive it must embrace some level of change, for example utilizing the blockchain to eliminate corruption.