Kyoto Shimbun 2013.3.7 News

Sutra Chant via Tracing Tablet for Disaster Area
At Byodo-in Temple and Osaka University

On March 7, the Heart Sutra was chanted simultaneously via the Internet at the separated locations of Byodo-in Temple, Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture, and Osaka University, Suita City, Osaka Prefecture, utilizing tablet terminal software in which a voice speaks when characters on the screen are traced with a finger. This was also conducted on March 11, the second anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, to offer prayers for the disaster area.

The software was developed by the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Osaka University and others. Even those who are unfamiliar with the Heart Sutra can experience the sutra-reading through the voice coming from the terminal as they trace the characters with their fingers. They can also join the "chanting" from distant places through the Internet.

At Jodo-in, a "Tacchu," or subsidiary temple, of Byodo-in Temple, Monsho Kamii, the chief priest, along with the other priests, chanted the Heart Sutra. As about ten local people handled the terminal devices, the main fall was filled with mixed voices from both the priests and the devices. Five students from Osaka University also participated in the chanting by tracing the sutra on the screens of the terminals in accordance with the Internet-relayed voice of the chief priest. Hideyuki Ando, associate professor at the graduate school, said, "I want to further the application research of this as a system that enables people in different places to share the same experience, such as chanting sutras."

(translated by Galileo, Inc.)

Photo= A participant traces the sutra on a tablet screen while following the priests' chanting (Jodo-in, a subsidiary temple of Byodo-in Temple, Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture)