An android, or a humanoid robot, has been preaching wisdom at a 400-year-old Buddhist temple in Japan for some time now. While it has received positive response from the Japanese, many westerners say the robot reminds them of Frankenstein’s monster.

The Koda-Ji temple in Kyoto added a robot priest to recite Buddhist preaching and scriptures, in a bid to appeal to younger worshippers. The temple partnered with the robotics team at Osaka University and unveiled the $1 million humanoid, “Mindar,” earlier this year.

The 6-foot tall silicon-and-aluminium robot is designed after the Buddhist deity of mercy, Kannon. It recites the well-known Japanese scripture “Heart Sutra” in Japanese, whose English and Chinese translations are projected for tourists on a screen.

While the Terminator-esque robot, which preaches things like "Worldly desires are nothing other than a mind lost at sea," has gained positive responses from the Japanese crowd, the Westerners have not been very welcoming of Mindar. Tensh Goto, the chief monk at the temple, said that the Westerners compared the robot to “Frankenstein’s monster.”

"It could be the influence of the Bible, but Westerners have compared it to Frankenstein's monster. Japanese people don't possess any prejudices against robots. We were brought up on comics where robots are our friends. Westerners think differently," Goto told the AFP.

Goto added that the Bodhisattva robot will not die and will keep on evolving and updating. He noted that Buddhism was essentially about following Buddha’s path and the robot can save anyone who is seeking help.

"Obviously a machine doesn't have a soul, but Buddhist faith isn't about believing in God. It's about following Buddha's path, so it doesn't matter whether it is represented by a machine, a scrap of iron or a tree. It is here to save anyone who seeks help. Modern society brings other kinds of stress, but the goal hasn't really changed for over 2,000 years," the monk said.

This is not the first time Japan and Buddhism have embraced robots and artificial intelligence. Since 2017, a robot named Pepper, which has been programmed to read and chant scriptures, has been acting as a low cost alternative to real priests at Buddhist funerals.