Travel to Japan today and you may bump into a little Buddhist robot called Pepper.
Pepper’s path to Buddhism has come around like many of us. Pepper the robot has been working hard all his life. He was previously used as a waiter and before that as an assistant at various stores.
Clearly Pepper the robot has gotten bored of the working life, like many of us. He has now taken to Buddhism.
Created by Japanese telecommunications company SoftBank, Pepper the robot was recently taught Buddhism. Pepper can now chant sutras while banging a drum.
Technology company Nissei Eco taught Pepper the robot how to recite Buddhist chants because Buddhist priests are not getting enough monetary support. Donating to charities in Buddhism is down because of a shrinking an aging population in Japan. The technology company hopes Pepper can help out.
Pepper can chant sutras and even hold funerals when there are no Buddhist priests available. And it only costs $350 to hire Pepper, compared to $2200 for an actual Buddhist priest.
A clever idea, perhaps. Sadly, Pepper will have to work on his sutras… and his voice in general. Those brazen, robotic vocals really don’t inspire nirvana.
Pepper is still waiting to be hired for its first funeral.