Robotics and religion are two Rs that don’t usually mix but that cliché notion is about to change!
Meet Mindar, the first Buddhist priest invented in Japan. Mindar is the temple in Kyoto’s Higashiyama Ward’s answer to the declining interest in religion. This issue is the same even in Japan where mortality rate has been dropping for the past years.
The aluminum androgynous robotic seeks to reignite interest in Buddhism in a reverse course tactic to save the religion from extinction.
Standing more than 6 feet tall and weighing nearly 70 pounds, Mindar preaches inside Kodaiji temple, a 400-year-old temple. Mindar is programmed to deliver scripted sermons but is not interactive yet to worshippers.
If an image of Buddha speaks, teachings of Buddhism will probably be easier to understand,” Tensho Goto, the chief steward of the temple in Kyoto’s Higashiyama Ward, said during a recent news conference, according to the Japan Times. “We want people to see the robot and think about the essence of Buddhism.”
The Buddhist deity on which the machine is based is not limited to a single form, meaning an artificially intelligent machine may be just as capable as anything of delivering messages about the Buddha’s path. Unlike a human priest who exists inside the impermanent vessel that is the human form, Mindar has a distinct advantage.