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Chinese Buddhism embraces internet, advanced technologies

(People's Daily Online)    14:45, April 19, 2017
Chinese Buddhism embraces internet, advanced technologies
(File photo of a monk of Longquan Temple sits with AI robot Xian'er.)

Chinese Buddhists have been seeking new, fresh ways to preach the religious doctrine using advanced internet technologies and artificial intelligence, said two masters from major Buddhist temples.

Addressing the Future Network Development Summit in Nanjing, Master Xiandu from Beijing's Longquan Temple said that rapidly developing technology is not in conflict with religion.

"As material and technological developments become seemingly infinite, men begin to consider spiritual demands, pondering inner peace, intelligence and the meaning of life. Technology without intelligence is like air carriers without eyes. Buddhists have also been seeking ways reform the way we preach the religion," said the master.

Longquan Temple is famous for its enthusiastic embrace of advanced technology, as many masters and monks are talented graduates in the field of science and technology. Master Xiandu holds a postgraduate degree in computer science, for example. Last year, the temple made a deep impression with the debut of its AI robot, Xian'er.

Master Shuguang from Foding Temple in Nanjing agreed that the fast development of internet in China casts a profound influence on Buddhism, as numerous Buddhist classics have been digitized and made available online for believers around the world.

Of the 32,000 Buddhist temples in China, some 10,000 use the internet for management, public communication and preaching.

"Internet is now an essential tool for modern temples. Technology has met most human demands, but it cannot help with higher-level questions such as life, death and how humans look at the world. This is where Buddhism comes in," Master Shuguang explained. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Jiang Jie, Bianji)

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