A Return to Buddha Garden in Second Life

Buddha Garden, December 2022 – click any image for full size

In February 2002, I visited Buddha Garden, a “paradise of pleasure” put together by Gian (GiaArt Clip) and Havih. As I noted at the time, it was tucked into the north-west quadrant of a Full region and formed a place deserving of its description, as I noted in A Buddha Garden in Second Life.

So when co-creator of that iteration of the setting, Gian, dropped me a line to say that Buddha Garden has relocated to a Homestead region, I knew I’d have to hop over an take a look for myself. Now working with the assistance of Ella (Shaye Suki), Gian has produce a setting that builds on the original, keeping much of what made it a pleasure to visit back in early 2022 whilst offering an entirely new take on the original vision.

Buddha Garden, December 2022

The main part of the setting retains its highlands feel in the form of a west-facing arc of cliffs from which great falls tumble into a round lagoon embraced within the arms if low sand banks and rocky outliers. The landing point for the region sits on the southern of these arms, alongside little wood-built café-cum-teahouse. Japanese in tone, this sits across open waters from a small island which is home to a small Onsen style bathhouse and accompanying cabin reached via  a ridge of sand sitting just under the waves.

Follow the sand of the beach towards the cliffs, and you’ll find a pool sitting at the base of alone waterfall. Steps on either side of it respectively offer paths up to a hideaway overlooking the pool and also up around the east side of the main island. Here a further set of falls drops through a series of natural steps linking rocks and pools guarded by carved statues of Buddha sitting in quiet meditation despite the roar of water.

Buddha Garden, December 2022

Two further pools set at the base of this falls, one clearly man-made and with a hideaway behind it (and another cooled by a curtain of water sitting above it and reached by its own steps); the second pool forming a natural body of water bordering the inland side of a grassy field. A paved path marks the outer edge of the field, passing a garden camp site warmed by a blazing fire and an old fence separating the garden from the field,

More fence posts march out into the open waters. They mark another submerged path, this one leading to another off-shore island topped by a stone tower. This is the home of the Khin Tower Art Gallery, offered by Gian as a place for artists to display their work free-of charge for between a week and four weeks total.

Buddha Garden, December 2022

2D SL images digital art, paintings and illustrations are welcome (but no nudity), and there is some potential for 3D pieces to be displayed. Those interested should contact Gian in-world for further details (the sign at the foot of the path leading up to the island also offers information on the gallery).

Back on the island proper, the stone bridge arches over a small stream fed by a low-lying waterfall issuing from under the crossed legs of one of the cliff-side Buddhas. Beyond the bridge, the path passes onwards through a copse of trees to a clearing where a monk in the traditional orange robes signifying peace sits reverently in meditation before a further, aged, statue of Buddha, watched over by young wolves.

Buddha Garden, December 2022

A horseshoe pool sits beyond the clearing and trees, fed by yet another waterfall tumbling from the lip of an out-thrust of rock mid-way up the side of the main cliffs. This high lip is home to another location carried over from the original Buddha Garden; a retreat reached only by ascending the wooden steps climbing the face of the sheer rocks on the far side of the wide pool.

The base of these stairs and platforms also points to where people can pass by way of makeshift bridges, sandy beach and tall rock arch to the second arm of the west-facing lagoon. At their top, meanwhile, the stairs only provide the means to reach the retreat, but also to way further up the cliffs past the butterfly cave from the original build, and on up by way of more platforms to where an ancient ruin stands in wait of visitors and lovers of tai chi.

Buddha Garden, December 2022

All of the above still only scratches all that is available within Buddha Garden; within its expanded beauty are multiple places to sit and relax or engage in meditation and / or enjoy the company of a close friend or loved one. There are hidden details I’ve intentionally not mentioned here – they deserve to be found by the keen-eyed and focused explorer. As such, I’ll leave it to you to explore the island for yourself – you won’t be disappointed!

My thanks to Gian for the invitation to re-visit.

Buddha Garden, December 2022

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