The three marks of existence in Buddhism and games
Wilson, Devin Andrew
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Games and Buddhism are both relatively new objects of study in Western academia, and the interactions between their fields of inquiry have been few and far between. In this thesis paper, I discuss one possible intersection of these two disciplines by comparing the formal qualities of games with a core element of Buddhist philosophy: the Three Marks of Existence. These Three Marks-which roughly translate from their Eastern origins to "impermanence", "unsatisfactoriness", and "not-self"-are characteristics which Buddhists identify to be qualities of all things, and I argue that the study of games makes for an extraordinary means of appreciating this Buddhist perspective. By comparing Buddhist philosophy with game scholars' insights regarding the form of games as a medium, Buddhism can become a lens for better understanding games and games can become a lens for better understanding Buddhism. As such, this work aims to build two opposite but complementary paths: one towards a ludological understanding of Buddhism and another towards a Buddhist understanding of games.