New-age robot offers centuries-old wisdom in Beijing temple

Updated: 2016-04-07 11:59

By Chen Ziyan(

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New-age robot offers centuries-old wisdom in Beijing temple

A robot named "Xian'er" makes its debut at Guangzhou Animation Festival in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong province, Oct 4, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

Standing about 60-cm-tall and dressed in a yellow rob, Xian'er, a cute-looking robot that resembles a Buddhist monk, has become an internet celebrity as it is able to sense its surroundings and answer questions about Buddhism at Beijing's Longquan Temple.

"Who are you?" "How old are you?" Let me ask my master"..., the chatty robot can answer simple questions and interact with the surroundings, and also chant and play Buddhist music, the Beijing News reported on Thursday.

The cute pudgy monk, developed by Longquan Temple in October last year, is the protagonist of cartoon series "Trouble, you seek for yourself" published by the Temple.

"We just want to take a modern approach to promote Buddhism," said Master Xianfan, the creator of the cartoon novice monk, also in charge of the animation group of the temple.

"To differentiate from the cartoon images from Japan and Western countries, we used the traditional Chinese painting as the cultural symbol," Xianfan said.

The robot is so cute that many visitors want to buy one, but Xianfan said there is only one such robot monk there and the temple has no plans to commercialize it.

In order to better promote Buddhism among the growing number of tech-savvy young Chinese, Longquan Temple has launched various new ways to combine traditional Buddhism with modern technologies.

Comic books, animation, music video, micro films, also virtual reality, which features the cartoon character Xian'er, are all used by the animation group to disperse Buddhist wisdom to more people.

According to the report, Xian'er even has its own account on Weibo, a Twitter-like service, and messaging app Wechat, to interact with its fans through simple conversations.

"Xian'er is the first generation of robot monk," Xianfan said. "We are planning the development of second generation of robot monk, which will be more intelligent," he added.

New-age robot offers centuries-old wisdom in Beijing temple

A robot named "Xian'er" is unveiled during the National Day Gala at Dragon Spring Temple in Beijing, Oct 1, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

New-age robot offers centuries-old wisdom in Beijing temple

Master Xianfan draws cartoon image of Xian'er in Longquan Temple in Beijing, Sept 27, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]