Robotic Kannon Unveiled in Kyoto

Society

Kyoto, Feb. 23 (Jiji Press)--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 western Japan city of Kyoto on Saturday.

In a dimly lit hall of the temple, Mindar, the robot, gave a speech on the Heart Sutra and humanity while fantastical music was played, with English and Chinese subtitles of the speech projected on the wall.

An official linked to the temple in Kyoto's Higashiyama Ward expressed hope that the robot will "help people who usually have little connection with Buddhism have an interest" in the religion.

Mindar, which is some 195 centimeters tall and weighs some 60 kilograms, was produced by Tokyo-based A-Lab Co. Its body is made mainly of aluminum, with silicone used for its face and hands.

"If an image of Buddha speaks, teachings of Buddhism will probably be easier to understand," Tensho Goto, chief steward of Kodaiji Temple, told a news conference. "We want many people to come to see (the robot) to think about the essence of Buddhism."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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