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HOW ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE CAN HELP IN BUDDHISM PROPAGATION

Keynote Speech

Definition of Artificial Intelligence

What does artificial intelligence mean? Anh when is artificial intelligence founded? In computer scienceartificial intelligence (AI), sometimes called machine intelligence, is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans. Colloquially, the term “artificial intelligence” is often used to describe machines (or computers) that mimic “cognitive” functions that humans associate with the human mind, such as “learning” and “problem solving”. And Artificial intelligence was founded as an academic discipline in 1956.

I am indeed luckily to be born as a human being in the era of artificial intelligence or in the modern world. Luckier I was born in a Buddhist family. I had a chance to study basic Buddhist teaching at a village pagoda, which was very closed to my home. I was a boy scout for few years, then I came to realize about Buddhism which could help me to become a good person and achieve happiness and peace in this very life. I, therefore, decided to become a Buddhist monk in order to achieve that goal finally. I still remember that I wished to study Buddhist philosophy, mindfulness, insight meditation, practice and applied it in my daily life and then I could share what I have been learning and experiencing to others, who needed it in order to help them to get out of mental suffering in this very life.

How artificial intelligence helps me to learn Buddhism?

As I said above, I was very lucky to be born in the era of artificial intelligence and luckiest to be born as a human being. Our Buddha said in the Dhammapada verse 182: Hard to gain is birth as man; hard is the life of mortals; hard to get is the opportunity of hearing the Ariya Dhamma (Teaching of the Buddhas); hard it is for a Buddha to appear.In the ancient time, our teachers couldn’t have artificial intelligence such as computer to do research or study or spread the dhamma even they wanted to learn about Buddhism from other famous teachers around the world, but they couldn’t because artificial intelligence was very limited. They couldn’t travel from town to town or city to city or country to country for studying. But we are very lucky today, we have over enough means in order to learn whatever we wish to learn, we can do research about Buddhist teachings or teachings of other religions in one second even on airplane when we are traveling as I always did it in airplane. For example: I always travel by either Southwest airlines or Delta airlines etc.… So, I often did research or study philosophy of Buddhism on airplane. It is too convenient for scholars in nowadays. For few months ago, when I got invitation requesting from Dr. Lye Ket Young for this conference and he gave me a theme was “Dhamma Propagation in the Era of Artificial Intelligence”. At the beginning, I had a feeling this ‘artificial intelligence term’ I thought that it was very new and strange for me because I am a Buddhist monk and I have been done a research on other fields such as insight meditation (vipassana), morality (vinaya) and dhamma talk, but luckily I still remembered Wikipedia website so I clicked on it and search the definition of artificial intelligence term and I  got it immediately. So artificial intelligence helped me learnt a lot of things during the time of studying and researching. As you know, Atlanta, Georgia where I am living right now. There are several famous places for tourists enjoy and visit such as a famous CNN center, a very beautiful Aquarium, a too lovely and sweetly Coca Cola company, a very high and beautiful Stone Mountain where tourists can climb up and enjoy pure air and relax physicality and mentality but they do not know where it is situated then they can come to google and click on it within one second so they can find it out immediately. So artificial intelligence helps me and others in this era very much.  

How artificial intelligence helps me to solve my difficulties during the time of my studying in abroad?

I still remembered those days during the time I had lived in Sri Lanka to do my further studies and research, as a foreign monk student I couldn’t had done anything to earn my living and the cost of living was too high which compared to my fund at that time. So, I thought to myself that it was not easy for me to continue my further study and I just started for haft way of my journey. I, therefore, was a little bit worried about that and immediately I remembered a wonderful proverb: “Where there’s a will there’s a way”. Then, I had a strong will and itself overcame my lack of will and I also knew will could conquer habit and I found the brilliant way finally. Do you know what could help and solved my financial problem in those days? I will let you know my secret in a second for you to know how artificial intelligence was, one evening I participated dhamma talk forum on online with all Buddhist monks and nuns and lay devotees around the world through software equipment which was called Paltalk. Everyone could join it if one had a computer and internet facility. I, then, had been invited by a Vietnamese monk who has been living in Canada to give three Refuges (Triple Gems) and five precepts, then day by day I had been invited to give a dhamma talk, so I had accepted and shared one dhamma talk to them and this dhamma talk was so wonderful, this dhamma talk had changed my life totally. How it was!!! It was very interested thing! I thought the power of truth, the power of sincere mind, the power of determination and so on… have come and combined and built up my life since then. I still remembered that, on occasion I have been invited by another Buddhist monk to give a dhamma talk. I have accepted immediately and gave a dhamma talk on the next day. During the time of my dhamma talk’s sharing among the online audiences there was a pious lady, who had been living in Montreal of Canada. After listening my dhamma talk, she had given a telephone call to a Buddhist monk, who had been living in the same city of her and she had inquired for my personal information. She had asked him: “where is he living right now? What he is studying? What is his address? What is his contact number please? And so on” … then that monk gave my personal information to her. She had contacted me, and I had introduced myself to her and finally we had known each other. She had knew my situation which was about my study’s fee and expenses of cost living in Sri Lanka since 2007, then I had been supported by her and she had supported me  for almost four years and because of her helping and supporting I could had completed my all further education and got all degrees which I have been searching for many years. The artificial intelligence was a powerful equipment to give a very big support and help me a lot during the time I had learned philosophy of Buddhism.

How artificial intelligence helps and supports me to propagate the Dhamma in nowadays?  

As you know, internet facility is a very powerful equipment for everyone in nowadays, from it and itself supports and helps us to propagate the Buddha’s teachings to everyone in every corner of the world. It is not like in the ancient time in which our old teachers had been limited of spreading the Buddha’s teachings to the worldwide even they wanted to do it but mean was so poor, because at that time there hadn’t gotten artificial intelligence if we compare with modern day. So, we are very lucky to be at the present in this world and in this artificial intelligence. In these days, I always do missionary work by livestream, which is through on Facebook. Whenever and whatever I have been making livestreams of sharing the Buddha’s teachings, so my audiences got online and watched it immediately. So, by this artificial intelligence has been bringing many benefits to people, Buddhists and other people of other religions too. It means that whenever and whatever I have been learning and experiencing while I am sharing my people, my dhamma friends and my classmates could learn and enjoy it through artificial intelligence. For the time being, I am living in America, when I gave a dhamma talk through Facebook facility my friends who are living in rural area can listen it even. So, the artificial intelligence is very helpful for us in the present day, especially for whom who is doing missionary work.

Under my far vision artificial intelligence will support and help us to spread more and more Dhamma in the future?

According to my vision, artificial intelligence will support more and more for young generation of monks and Buddhists in the way of propagating and learning the teachings of the Buddha from the city to the end of countryside. Base on my experiences, artificial intelligence only is not enough, because it just supports us means for learning and searching. It itself cannot help and guide us how to practice and apply those artificial intelligences to our daily life in order to reduce or eliminate mental sufferings. So, we must take advantages of it and use more of our effort in second by second minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, month by month, year by year and so on… by this way, we can combine two means such as artificial intelligence and hardworking (viriya), I am sure we will be successful in this very life. Finally, we can bring and share peace and happiness to everyone in this world, and that is we get from learning and sharing of artificial intelligence.

May all living beings be well, happy, healthy, peaceful and successful!

Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu – well-done, well-done, well-done!

Written by

谢旭原