Is it distinctly un-Buddha-like to see a new gadget and say, "I want one?" Probably, but that's what this one inspires: The New York Times and others report that a 1,000-year-old temple in Beijing, China is using an adorable robot named Xian'er to help impart the teachings of Buddhism. A monk named Master Xianfan worked with Chinese robotics companies to build the bot.
The two-foot-tall monkbot can be controlled via voice, or through the touchscreen tablet that he grasps in his little monkbot hands. "Who is your master?" Xianfan asks the bot in a video on Quartz's website. "I have many masters. Which one?" the monkbot replies. Smooth answer, Xian'er.
The monkbot can also sing Buddhist chants, and answer questions such as, "What is the meaning of life?" (To help more people "finally leave behind bitterness and gain more happiness," in case you were wondering.)
Right now there's only one Xian'er, with no plans to commercialize the bot. Xianfan says in the video that the robot "shows that science and Buddhism are not contradicting."