Saturday, January 06, 2007

Mega-scale prayer turbines

This page on Tibetan Spiritual Technology outlines different methods of machine-assisted mantra recital. Electric and steam-powered drums with the mantra, "Om mane padme hum" written on them can produce the same spiritual effect as merely reciting the phrase.

Like the Amish, it seems that Tibetan Buddhists put conscious thought into how to integrate technology with their religious beliefs. They come to some different conclusions, obviously, but they're questioning the same set of assumptions that most of us take for granted -- does the use of this cell phone or this car or this television set help or hurt my spiritual development?

I can't help thinking though, how cool it would be to take this to its extreme. Imagine row on row of ten-story high prayer turbines, each inscribed with the mantra billions of times, perhaps laser etched at a nanoscale on a teflon surface. Monks could inscribe prayers on trees, which would be chopped down by giant logging machines, and fed into a blast furnace. The furnace would boil water, and the steam would turn the prayer turbines at thousands of rotations per second. Just how fast can Chenrezig read? The smoke from the furnace would be a prayer in itself, much as the threads ripped by prayer flags by the wind constitute a prayer.

Output of the turbines would be measured in kM/s, kilomantras per second. Measured of course by an Ommeter. A nation could have a spiritual accounting office to keep track of its gross national karmic product (GNKP), balancing industrial mantra production against a tally of such negatives as war casualties inflicted, crime rates, and estimated instances of corporate malfeasance.

(Thanks to Liz Highleyman and LHOON for the images!)

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