Photo: Kyoto University

Buddhist metaverse in development at Kyoto University, includes AI Buddha

By Master Blaster, SoraNews24

The metaverse has taken the world by storm, or talk about it at least, since there hasn’t been a whole lot in the way of a real mainstream metaverse except for maybe Second Life, but that came out like 20 years ago. However, it could probably be said that a metaverse isn’t built in a day, so all these purportedly life-changing platforms are likely still in development.

Take Teraverse for example. This virtual space is still in its very early stages of development by the Institute for the Future of Society at Kyoto University and Teraverse Inc. However, unlike other metaverses, Teraverse is centered solely on bringing Buddhism into the modern world.

This is a good time to point out that tera is the Japanese word for a Buddhist temple, and as such is intended to host branches of real temples in virtual space, thus throwing off the shackles of the physical world’s limitations such as space and time. According to a press release image, temples of all shapes and sizes can be crafted in the Teraverse and visitors can fly all over and check them out…and apparently shoot lasers out of their faces too, which is pretty cool.


That’s a really nice feature and great especially for temples in remote locations suffering from population decline. But it’s also important to note that the “tera” in “Teraverse” is also a reference to the prefix “tera-” which refers to a factor of one trillion and is used in computing terms such as a “terabyte.”

This would suggest that the Teraverse also aims to be a beefy digital land of enlightenment. Hints of that can also be seen in the highlight of Tera Platform AR Ver 1.0: Buddhabot!

Buddhabot is an AR Buddha powered by an AI trained on the Buddhist scriptures Sutta Nipata and Dhammapada using Google’s BERT machine learning algorithm. Users can ask Buddhabot a question and it will respond with advice based on actual Buddhist teachings.

Professor Seiji Kumagai of Kyoto University said about the platform: “With the COVID-19 pandemic and Russian-Ukraine war, more and more people are feeling pressure in the real world. The Buddhist virtual space that we started ,Teraverse and Tera Platform AR Ver. 1.0, released as a prototype, are new ways to fuse traditional knowledge and science. As an option in today’s diversified society, we hope to deliver healing and enjoyment to people, create new vitality and hope, and realize a more vibrant society.”

▼ Even if people throw Buddhabot some modern-age curveball questions, scholars and monks can handle fine tuning on the algorithm.


Unfortunately both Buddhabot and Teraverse are not open to the public yet. For the time being, they require more development and security, especially since they deal in religious iconography and open the door for whole new forms of desecration. It is coming though, and in the process teaching us the importance of patience.

Source: Kyoto University via CNET Japan

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- VR metaverse of Akihabara Station being made by JR East, netizens scoff at early quality

-- Japanese school entrance ceremony held in the metaverse for over 3,000 new students

-- Tera Ango now offers the chance to live and take part in daily practices at a Buddhist temple

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Naisu! This is great idea!

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

What Buddhist sect will this AI Buddha belong to? Which Buddhist teachings will he preach?

Buddhism has had a lot of internal schisms and divisions. If this AI Buddha preaches provisional teachings instead of the one true vehicle which can lead all sentient, insentient and metaversal beings to enlightenment, then this AI Buddha will only perpetuate the Buddhist schisms of the real world into the metaverse.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Buddhabot is an AR Buddha powered by an AI trained on the Buddhist scriptures Sutta Nipata and Dhammapada

Sutta Nipata is a canon of Theravada Buddhism. Written and preserved in ancient Indian language Pali.

Being a Nichiren Buddhist, I would want this AI Buddha bot to become well versed with the teachings of Nichiren and Lotus Sutra.

Then this AI bot might agree with me as to why the one great vehicle that can lead all sentient beings to enlightenment is to be found nowhere else but Saddharmapundarika Sutra.

Other provisional teachings are of no use.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The Metaverse: MySpace VR.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

That is really cool.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I don't see the point of the Metaverse at all to be honest

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I hope all those very sick patients get well again very soon.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Second Life has had a Buddha Center for many years, however it like most online Buddhism, is the provisional teachings.

The "AI Buddha" is foolish.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Now we are gossiping virtual Buddhas.

There's no respect for traditions anymore.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've never met anyone who can explain Buddhism to me and I've lived here for decades. I always assumed reincarnation was a central teaching, but many Buddhists here reject it. I used to be curious, but I've given up trying to understand it in sheer exasperation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Lord Dartmouth.

Most religions are complicated. This allows for an empowered hierarchy of professionals to be created out of those who have studied it for some years. They are then in positions of authority over everyone else. Christianity has considerably more than 57 varieties and every aspect of it is complex. And the Gospels do not even entirely agree on the names of the 12 disciples. If you want to dip your toe deeper into the murky waters, you might consider the suspiciously Western names they have. That's because we use translations. For a bit of authenticity, St. Peter was perhaps originally Simon and Simeon (following the custom of having a patriarchal name and a Greek/Roman name - a bit like some South Koreans having an additional Western name). Jesus then called him Cephas. Cephas comes from the Aramaic 'Kepha' probably meaning rock or stone. So he would have been Simon Cephas. 'Cephas' is translated/modernised in the New Testament as 'Petros' (from 'Petra' = stone), and rendered into English as 'Peter'. So, although nobody at the time would have called him 'Peter', they do now. Ditto for the rest of them. It may be time to rewrite Bibles with more original proper nouns, showing the tradition and source texts a bit more respect.

Most religions are insanely confusing, and most of what people now read in the Bible and other faith texts is a world of translations, poor adaptations and convenient fiddling away from any of the mish mash of original source texts, most of which differ. So it is always amusing when an American TV evangelist holds up his New English Bible and declares it to be 'The Real Thing'. Nope. Not by a long way.

Luckily, the Dummies guides are there to help us, and there is one for Buddhism.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites