For Buddhist influencer ‘sotce,’ a fine line between engagement and attachment

by | Jun 25, 2024 | Religion

(RNS) — Growing up in Philadelphia in a typical American family, “I just really wasn’t from a place that prioritized introspection and nor did I,” said Amelia, who, posting as “sotce,” has become a social media guru offering Buddhist meditation and philosophy through artistic, oddly, or perhaps spiritually, aloof videos and memes.Amelia, 23, conceals her last name because she says she doesn’t want to distract her audience from her message. “Sort of like a deity,” she said. 
In 2021, while studying at a Buddhist monastery in India, Amelia posted her first video on the social media app TikTok. The clip showed a black cat walking along a path in front of a church with natural sound, and overnight it received more than 3 million views.
She continued to post videos demonstrating hand positions, or “mudras,” the Sanskrit word for the gestures that serve in Buddhist art as symbols representing sentiments, such as the expulsion of negativity or the evocation of pure intention. Like clockwork, after posting each clip, Amelia would wake up to millions of views. 
Amelia, an artist and Buddhist influencer who goes by “sotce,” poses in a garden in Manhattan, New York, June 20, 2024. (Photo by Fiona Murphy)
Her audience, as she tells it, fell into her lap. “The algorithm chose me,” she said. “I felt as if the algorithm had selected me to be the one to go viral. Then, I went about it in a way that I thought would bring purification to myself and others.” 
After a year in India, Amelia returned to Pennsylvania and launched an account on Patreon, a subscri …

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[mwai_chat context=”Let’s have a discussion about this article:nn(RNS) — Growing up in Philadelphia in a typical American family, “I just really wasn’t from a place that prioritized introspection and nor did I,” said Amelia, who, posting as “sotce,” has become a social media guru offering Buddhist meditation and philosophy through artistic, oddly, or perhaps spiritually, aloof videos and memes.Amelia, 23, conceals her last name because she says she doesn’t want to distract her audience from her message. “Sort of like a deity,” she said. 
In 2021, while studying at a Buddhist monastery in India, Amelia posted her first video on the social media app TikTok. The clip showed a black cat walking along a path in front of a church with natural sound, and overnight it received more than 3 million views.
She continued to post videos demonstrating hand positions, or “mudras,” the Sanskrit word for the gestures that serve in Buddhist art as symbols representing sentiments, such as the expulsion of negativity or the evocation of pure intention. Like clockwork, after posting each clip, Amelia would wake up to millions of views. 
Amelia, an artist and Buddhist influencer who goes by “sotce,” poses in a garden in Manhattan, New York, June 20, 2024. (Photo by Fiona Murphy)
Her audience, as she tells it, fell into her lap. “The algorithm chose me,” she said. “I felt as if the algorithm had selected me to be the one to go viral. Then, I went about it in a way that I thought would bring purification to myself and others.” 
After a year in India, Amelia returned to Pennsylvania and launched an account on Patreon, a subscri …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]
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