I am designing an educational computer simulation to explain the Buddhist concept of Samsara. The gameplay will consist of players interacting with the simulated environment and other players. One of the concepts of the game will be if you are doing creative actions with other players or environment then your Karma points will increase and you will get more powers if you do destructive things like shoot someone with a gun, you will be reduced of Karma points. Based on them you will be transferred to different levels.

This is one of my ideas I will be implementing. Can you help me with more ideas related to the Buddhist understanding of what Samsara is? This should be educational about Buddhist Samsara.


6 Answers 6


I think you want to be ethical, not "creative"; and dutiful (including e.g. the six directions) ... being unethical will make your situation worse and more difficult. One of the difficult things to do is nothing, or the repetitious. Remember that taking what's not given, lying, revenge, are all bad karma ... lust for existence, too; and for status. Generosity is virtuous ... possessions are a burden (and/or a duty). Maybe simulate addiction, e.g. you can do something to "power up" temporarily but end up worse than before (and with an opportunity to make the same mistake again). Include opportunity for study instead of adventuring: study can offer Buddhist doctrine and in-game tips (don't kill, don't steal). Include opportunity for meditation: guided meditation perhaps ... see what the player does if their in-game character is attacked while they're doing metta meditation. Simulate the different levels: in the animal world it's difficult to understand things, in the ghost world it's difficult to find satisfaction (e.g. lots of food but the ghost can't eat it, unless perhaps someone kindly remembers to give it to them), hell is even more powerless, heavens are temporary. Perhaps (if you can design it that way) the different levels should all be on the same playing-field (so that e.g. humans have an opportunity to interact with animals, with ghosts, etc., and vice versa). Unless it's an MPORG (multi-player), include NPCs, some of which are good role-models: the player can recognise and emulate these to become as successful as they are.

See also 601: Game Theory --

A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.

Wait, no, that one also loses. How about a nice game of chess?


Whenever you die, it shows a blind turtle, in a deep slumber, in the depth of the ocean. At the surface of the ocean, a small yoke moves around randomly. You have to wait for days before you can actually control the blind turtle. You have to get the turtle to surface, and to pass its head through the yoke. If you succeed, you get one chance on two to get a good rebirth.

Then, you control your mental consciousness (like the spirit/soul in World of Warcraft) but instead of finding your body back, you have to find parents that are having sex. Of course, you only see the parents of the class you can, according to your karma and the turtle test.

Every time you are reborn, you get another body, your character is of another race, another class, etc. Whatever you were previously familiar with will come a little bit easier to you.

Your body grows and decays and even if you are not killed, you'll die of old age or sickness eventually. Your mind also degenerates with time and you forget your skills and lose your items.


It's an RPG-style game where you run, shoot enemies, collect coins, but every five minutes your character dies of old age and loses all progress, respawn at a random place. The more enemies you kill, the more the level around you gradually transforms to hell, with darker colors, neon lights, and even more monsters. The more time you survive without killing, the level gets brighter and lighter, with flowers and coins. There are numerous signs around, pointing to "immortality potion" and "exit" but they are all fake. Lots of fake stuff in general, like fake coins, fake monsters, fake doors etc. The levels design look beautiful and there's always that feeling that you are about to enter something even grander (like a boss level) but you never actually get anywhere, you just keep going in circles. The entire gameplay is pointles and frustrating, with enemies reanimating and coins falling out of your pockets etc.

The only way to win is to quit playing.

  • what would gameplay based on vajrayana look like?
    – user13375
    May 4, 2018 at 19:53

Record Karma points separately for each action. Both good and bad. The next level should be picked based on the following precedence of actions.

  1. The action(good or bad) with the highest Karma points above a certain lower limit.
  2. The most recent action(good or bad) done with Karma points above a certain lower limit. But this limit should be much less than in the case of #1
  3. The most frequently done action(good or bad) above a certain lower limit for the number of times it was done.
  4. A randomly picked action from all the past levels that wasn't previously used for determining the next level.

There's a lot more complexity of calculations you can add based on how Karma works, but this is a start.


Samsara's Trap!

Create 10 levels,difficulty increases each level.The 10'th level should be impossible to pass.

The game,which btw is a representation of life,can't give you liberation if you follow your ego!I don't see any point in following karma,good karma doesn't free you,liberation from karma does!Nor the power ups you gain through the game,but when you gain knowledge of oneself,similar to Dante's inferno which I think is a man's journey to all facing all his sins!

“When you run after your thoughts, you are like a dog chasing a stick: every time a stick is thrown, you run after it. Instead, be like a lion who, rather than chasing after the stick, turns it's face to the thrower. He only throws the stick once at the lion .”-Milarepa


You have 31 levels.

You randomly go between levels based on last thing you were doing in the previous level. Chances of going in to a higher level is very slim.

You get the picture. If you do it right no body will want to play it.

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