I can’t decide if this is brilliant innovation or the perpetuation of a harmful delusion.
There are now “smart” versions of Buddhist prayer beads that connect to your phone so that you can focus on saying a mantra instead of mentally keeping track of how many times you’ve said it.
The smart product looks just like traditional Buddhist prayer beads except that one of the beads has an embedded chip which can connect with the user’s smartphone and show the number of times a mantra is recited on the mobile app.
Also, the app has a function to transfer merits to friends and family members, enabling the user to use the social network to share the love of Buddha.
When I was younger, my family’s prayer rituals involved saying particular words 108 times, and that meant moving the mala bead to bead, after every recitation, until we had made a full circle. As far as convenience goes, I can see how this sort of technology would be useful.
The problem is that it suggests saying a mantra a set number of times has any effect on anything. It doesn’t. Chanting something 107 times is as effective as doing it 108 times, and both are as effective as doing it never. At least when you don’t do it at all, you haven’t wasted hours of your life.
That’s not tech company Acer’s fault, though. They’re just capitalizing on the irrational beliefs of other people, and it’s hard to fault them for it when other companies are doing the same thing.
Maybe the silver lining here is that putting actual numbers on how many mantras people chant might wake them up as to how much time they’re wasting on religion.
Imagine if Christians had a constant reminder of how much money they’ve paid in tithes over the years. When their bank account is low, or they’re struggling with debt, that reminder of how much money they’ve given to their church could force them to rethink their budgeting.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Guy for the link)