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 about 195 centimeters tall and weighs about 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.”
The robot will be shown to the public between March 8 and May 6.