Monks learn tech skills at ‘Digital Monk Era’ workshop

Technological advancement is taking the world by storm. It has touched the lives of individuals in every section of society. However, not everyone is digitally literate to take advantage of this technological advancement. To empower monks to use digital technology meaningfully, a workshop called “Digital Monk Era” was held at the Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck Super FAB Lab in Thimphu recently. It was funded by Bhutan Foundation. 

Close to 40 participants from the Central Monastic Body attended the two-day digital literacy workshop facilitated by four trainers from the DHI InnoTech.

The workshop, initiated by Kesang Choden Tashi, the Executive Director of the Buddhist Art and Cultural Conservation Centre, provided the participants with basic knowledge of emerging technologies including cryptocurrency, blockchain, artificial intelligence and social media.

“With the changing times, even within the Central Monastic Body, training in digital technologies such as cryptocurrency, blockchain, and AI has become vital. Likewise, social media has also gained importance over time. We have learned about digital technologies and how to conduct related training in the future during the two-day training,” said Khenpo Tashi Tshering, chairperson of the Human Resource Division at Central Monastic Body.

“With global digitalisation, it’s important for us to keep up with it. The main agenda of the programme is to maintain a digital record of every Lhakhang and monastery under the Central Monastic Body through digitisation. For this, we have this training on camera handling, internet usage, cryptocurrency, and social media,” said Namgyal Dorji, head of TenSuung Digitization at Central Monastic Body.

During the workshop, participants also presented ideas to digitise scripts and foster online learning for philosophical studies among others, reflecting a modern approach while preserving the essence of monastic traditions.

The participants even expressed some challenges like technological infrastructure, cultural sensitivity, privacy and security concerns.

“DHI InnoTech studies show advanced artificial intelligence, blockchain, and the internet of things benefit the country. We also focus on strengthening Bhutan’s innovation ecosystem,” said Tashi Phuntsho, associate analyst at DHI InnoTech.

The Central Monastic Body and the DHI InnoTech, both have expressed interest in future collaborative projects to expand digital literacy and explore innovative ways to integrate technology into the monastic community.

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