Business / Tech

Kannon Bodhisattva robot unveiled at Kyoto temple to share Buddha's religious teachings

JIJI

A robot modeled after Kannon Bodhisattva and designed to explain the teachings of Buddha in plain terms was unveiled to the media at Kodaiji Temple in the city of Kyoto on Saturday.

In a dimly lit hall of the temple, the robot — named Mindar — gave a speech on the Heart Sutra and humanity with English and Chinese subtitles projected on the wall as music played in the background.

“If an image of Buddha speaks, teachings of Buddhism will probably be easier to understand,” said Tensho Goto, the chief steward of the temple in Kyoto’s Higashiyama Ward, during a news conference. “We want many people to come to see (the robot) to think about the essence of Buddhism.”

Another official linked to the temple expressed hope that the robot will “help people who usually have little connection with Buddhism to take an interest” in the religion.

Mindar, which is about 195 centimeters tall and weighs 60 kilograms, was constructed by Tokyo-based A-Lab Co. It’s body is made primarily of aluminum, with silicone used for its face and hands.

The robot will be shown to the public between March 8 and May 6.