How to use NORBU

The Buddhist Channel, 26 July 2023

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- Two days ago, on 24 July 2023, the Buddhist Channel attained a significant step towards enhancing user experience and fostering knowledge exchange within our community. On that day, we integrated and activated what is probably the world's first Buddhist LLM AI Chat Bot.

Code named NORBU (Neural Omniscient Robotic-Being for Buddhist Understanding), the Buddhist LLM (Learning Language Model) is an artificial intelligence (AI) chat bot built upon cutting-edge ChatGPT technology. The technology allows NORBU to engage with our readers in real-time, answer questions, provide insightful teachings and foster meaningful discussions about Buddhism. This pioneering project aims to bring greater accessibility, personalized wisdom and interactivity to our platform, empowering Dharma seekers like you to embark on a journey of enlightenment, right from the comfort of your screen.

For those new to chat bots like ChatGPT, NORBU is a great way to learn how to use an AI. It is also Buddhist focused, so there is more incentive to learn.

To start, goto and look out for this red and yellow icon. You will find it at the bottom right hand corner. Click on it and a box will appear asking, "Svasti. Namo Buddhaya, how can I help you today?" Just type in anything inside the box that says "write a message" and you will get personalized answers to any queries on any topic regarding Buddha-Dharma. Nevertheless here are some FAQs for you to start off with.

What can you ask?

Actually anything that is related to Buddhism. NORBU is trained on content from the three major traditions, that is Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana.

Are the answers from NORBU accurate?

Mostly, but not always. That is why we require NORBU to be continuously trained. Since it is a dedicated Buddhist chat bot, it will be easier to get together experts from all traditions and provide accurate information so that users will have the best experience using it. Meaning when they use NORBU, they will most likely get an accurate response, which is also rich in context and is delivered in a language that is easy to understand.

Apart from knowledge query, what else can I do with NORBU?

Let's be a bit creative and test it. Although at the beginning, most will use it to clarify or seek explaination on certain Buddhist terms or teachings, NORBU can also do some fun things. Here are some creative prompts that you can try (you can copy and try them out in NORBU):
  • How to prepare Dana for a monk?
  • Can I earn a geshe title as a layman?
  • How to greet a Buddhist monk in a Thai temple?
  • How to tell the life of Buddha to 10 years old children?
  • Who was K Sri Dhammananda?
  • I am from Malaysia [or Japan, Mongolia, Nepal etc]. What is the requirement to visit Tibet for pilgrimage?
  • What to prepare for a pilgrimage to Bodhgaya, India?
  • How to draw an enso circle?
  • In Mahayana Buddhism can I use egg as an ingredient for cooking?
  • I am sad, as a Buddhist what should I do?

As mentioned earlier, we are in the process of training NORBU to be even more responsive and useful. In future, one could ask questions like these:
  • Suggest a vegetarian recipe for a vegan monk.
  • I am a kapiya to a monk. What time should I prepare for his first morning meal?
  • What type of games can you suggest for children to learn Buddhism?
  • What courses can I take to learn Pali?
  • Can you suggest where I can get a Buddhist degree?

So basically NORBU is nowhere near perfect right now, but given time and with support from the community, we are confident it will be an important tool to learn Dharma and also have "a Buddhist to listen" to your woes.

Why use NORBU? Why don't I just use ChatGPT?

NORBU is specifically trained using Buddhist information. This means the project will engage with knowledge experts such as those proficient in Abhidhamma, the Sutta Pitaka, the Vinaya, Mahayana Sutras and Vajrayana Tantras. The time, effort and dedication put in will ensure that NORBU is trained to produce accurate and verified from all expert sources, following the spirit as espoused by the Nalanda Tradition (,13369,0,0,1,0). Also, to enable consistent branding, plans are afoot to enable the bot to be integrated into all Buddhist related websites and apps, so its usage shall be universal.

Will NORBU be only available through the Buddhist Channel?

At the moment yes, as the Buddhist Channel is funding its development. Also we have invested in a highly technical team to do this and the initial investment is quite considerable. Once the training and development of the bot matures, we will release the code for public use. This means that NORBU will be made available to ALL BUDDHIST WEBSITES or APPS. We hope this will not take too long and will become a reality in the near future. It all depends how fast the community embraces the technology and how quickly we can get support - financially and intellectually.

If you have more questions about NORBU, please feel free to contact

To support NORBU, please go here for information -
We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Operator for Responsible Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: