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AI Buddhism in the new age

Posted November. 15, 2021 08:16,   

Updated November. 15, 2021 08:16


“AI Buddhism” is a book about the fourth industrial revolution from a Buddhism perspective, written by Monk Boil (age 49, photo) and acting dean for the Sangha University at Haein Temple. Graduating from Sanghan University, he completed master and doctorate studies at the department of philosophy at Seoul National University.

He is known for his studies in the role of and future of Buddhism in the future AI world, after winning grand prize in a research paper competition at university. Your reporter met the author at the Buddhism Exhibition held at SETEC in Gangnam on November 11.

- Do you believe that AI has the nature of Buddha?  

“The traditional belief is that machines do not have nature of Buddha or spirit. However, rapid advancement of technology in fields of AI, big data and deep learning have blurred the lines between machines and humans. Being moderate is about being free from determining whether it exists or not. What is important that the borders or barriers existed between machines and humans are coming down and that they are becoming interdependent.”

- In your book, you claimed that religious circles should put more focus on the fourth industrial revolution.  

“Experts in physics, AI and brain science are asking philosophical questions on how we should live. We are living in an age where scientist discuss on art, philosophy, Buddhism and Christianity.”  

- Some say that the Buddhist way of thinking should gain attention in the age of the fourth industrial revolution.  

“The Buddhist saying of ‘Form is nothing other than emptiness; emptiness is nothing other than form,’ is well-known. In the past, it may have seemed as vague, but it has become a reality in the digital world known as the metaverse.”

-What are the strengths of Buddhism?  

“Buddhism has studied the human mind for more than 2,000 years. We offer peace and insight through meditation and Zen. Buddha quoted that I am my own Lord throughout heaven and earth, which means that my existence cannot be replaced. We need to study our mind if we want to exist as a valued being.”

-What is your mindset as a master?  

“When Buddha’s disciples asked how to proceed with the funeral, Buddha was firm by replying “do not be distracted by such matters, continue to proceed with your work as the world continues to change rapidly.” We will lag behind if we cannot share Buddha’s teaching with the language and thinking of fourth industrial revolution.”

Gab-Sik Kim dunanworld@donga.com