“The big difference between a monk and a robot is that we are going to die,” says Buddhist monk Tensho Goto, emphasizing the android’s “immortality.”

“[Mindar] can meet a lot of people and store a lot of information [over time]. It will evolve infinitely.”

The temple has been accused of sacrilege by some critics, but Goto rejects these claims.

“Buddhism isn’t a belief in a God, it’s pursuing Buddha’s path,” he adds. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s represented by a machine, a piece of scrap metal or a tree.”