A 400-year-old temple in Japan is attempting to hot-wire interest in Buddhism with a robotic priest it believes will change the face of religion - despite being accused of creating a "Frankenstein's monster". (Photo: AFP/Charly Triballeau) The android Kannon, based on the Buddhist deity of mercy, preaches sermons at Kodaiji temple in Kyoto, and its human colleagues predict that with artificial intelligence it could one day acquire unlimited wisdom. "This robot will never die, it will just keep updating itself and evolving," priest Tensho Goto told AFP. "That's the beauty of a robot. It can store knowledge forever and limitlessly. "With AI we hope it will grow in wisdom to help people overcome even the most difficult troubles. It's changing Buddhism," added Goto. The adult-sized robot began service earlier this year and is able to move its torso, arms and head. But only its hands, face and shoulders are covered in silicone to replicate human skin. Clasping its hands together in … [Read more...] about Playing god: Japan temple puts faith in robot priest
How god sees us
Viet Nam News Taking a look at Christmas through the eyes of Catholics sheds fresh light on the celebration and what it means to them. An Phương reports. Christmas has forever been my favourite time of the year. Bustling HCM City, dazzling Christmas banners and sparkling lights always give me so much joy during this festive season. To be honest, I often take Christmas for granted. But it can be celebrated by everyone, young and old, men and women, religious or not. Recently, I saw an article in the New York Times which mentioned that “religious elements of Christmas are emphasised less now than they were in the past”. For the first time, I began to think beyond how people in general view Christmas, but how Catholics, particularly in HCM City, celebrate it, and how people like me, a Buddhist, enjoy this as a cultural event. Việt Nam has four main belief groups, including folk religion, Buddhism, Catholicism, Caodaism, and other minor belief … [Read more...] about Christmas, a joyous festival for all!
Viet Nam News by LÊ QUANG TRẠNG Leaving his hometown for Hồ Chí Minh City, Hận brought me a lot of fried beef, fish paste and fruit. When he arrived at the dormitory of the College of Medicine, he sat outside the gate to wait for me. “As a medical student, can you perform a blood transfusion?” Hận asked me abruptly instead of saying hello. “Why not?” I answered with a hearty laugh. “But first what do you say to eating something?” “Sure, I’m starving.” He seemed in high spirits. I noticed his eyes were bright, a rarity for him. “Is a transfusion difficult and expensive?” he asked when our snack was nearly over. “My God! Why are you obsessed with this?” I said in an anxious voice, for I was fully aware that he was serious. “Between you and me, I can hardly keep going on with the blood I have in my veins. I need better blood,” he replied sincerely. … [Read more...] about Blood Transfusion
“As the plane ascends The screeching chaos I turn to take on last look. What am I fleeing from? I cannot yet comprehend. Where am I going? that... God only knows” Sue Bylund’s poem asks a question with retrospective effect going back 44 years. She was 36 days old then. That day, when she and 17 other children were taken out of Vietnam, she was too young to know or understand anything. She now knows a lot more, but fundamental questions remain, and she has been looking for answers for many years. Sue Bylund during her first days in Australia Fateful flight Sue Bylund was born at the Maternity Hospital Saigon on April 18, 1974 (Vietnam war time), under the name Luu Thi Van, and was taken to an orphanage the same day. A month later, her name was put up for adoption by an Australian couple, Richard and Marlene. “On May 24, 1974, I was taken to Australia and started a new life under the name Sue Bylund,” she told VnExpress. The little Asian girl with dark … [Read more...] about I want mommy: Australian’s 17-year-search for Vietnamese mother continues
Doctors said there was no hope. The baby would die. The broken-hearted father signed the cremation papers. He could not take her to their native place for burial because the premature baby’s mother, his wife, was still in the hospital and had to be tended to. Later, the sad parents went to the hospital to collect the ashes, but could not. They returned home, accepting their fate. But... In a story that twists at every turn with ifs and buts, the baby did not die. No chance “When I was six months pregnant, doctors at the district hospital said my baby had congenital hydrocephalus (a condition in which cerebrospinal fluid accumulates within the brain and increases pressure inside the skull). They advised me to give her up. “Even if she was born, she would not survive (for long), they noted,” said Khong Thi Thu Trang, sitting in her small house in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre. Trang and her husband did not lose hope immediately. They went to the Tu Du … [Read more...] about A baby dies, survives and reunites with long-lost Vietnamese mother