AI and Buddhist Precepts

I’d be interested in hearing any feedback on this, as I’ve put a lot of time and resources (licenses) into this, learning how to write good prompts, re-rolling prompts and making variations and also researched tools to make minor corrections to images, as Midjourney can be pretty bad as things such as hands and faces.

Do people think A.I. images are suitable to be used for Buddhist websites?

Hi @erlendne

As the author of a Buddhist website with images, I am not planning on using AI Generated images on my site.

Even setting aside the copyright issues, as a Buddhist educator my commitment is to the truth. While many of the images you shared are indeed beautiful, they’re all ultimately disconnected from reality.

I’m not against artwork. I use some on my site occasionally. But when I include, say, a 17th century watercolor or a (19th c?) Thai manuscript painting the artwork serves not only to evoke a Buddhist aesthetic, but also to connect the viewer to the historical artist, their world and the broader, Buddhist community.

This is the purpose of art for me: to connect humans. AI images, fantastic as they are, can’t do that, so my website at least has little use for them.

Best from 21st century Thailand,
Khemarato Bhikkhu


I too run a Buddhist website with images :laughing: and I also help create Buddhist books which are either given away for free or sold to fund Buddhist projects. I am planning on using AI to help with the creation of images.

I have a little bit of experience making images using the current offerings from the AI community (Dall-E, Midjourney, etc) and for me AI does not replace the creative, AI is just a tool that you (the creative) uses to help create images. It’s no different from an artist using an artificial pigment, or an electronic artist using a textured brush in Photoshop. Just the action of sorting through what the AI gives you and rejecting what you don’t want is an act of creation, let alone the rest of the things you mention (writing prompts, re-rolling prompts, making variations and minor alterations)

Are images useful on Buddhist websites, Buddhist social media sites and in Buddhist books? Yes I think they can be. We even have a number of threads for Buddhist cartoons and Buddhist memes on this forum. Images (such as the wheel of life) have been used for a long time to aid in the education of dhamma. Images can also be used to bring about a more peaceful mind state, one that is hopefully more receptive to the dhamma that surrounds the images.

I don’t think that copyright is an issue for AI art. It is not doing direct copying. As far as I’m aware you can’t copyright an idea or a style.


Some interesting issues raised here. All great art builds on and refers to earlier work, so the issue of “copying” is a complicated one. Picasso said something like: “Lesser artists borrow; great artists steal”, possibly stealing from T. S. Eliot : “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn.”

Artists like Bob Dylan, Nick Cave, and many others built their careers on lifting forms and lyrics from the past and making something original out of them. Nick Cave was particularly scathing about AI attempts to imitate his style, and the lyric quoted here: Nick Cave says ChatGPT's AI attempt to write Nick Cave lyrics 'sucks' - BBC News obviously suck compared to what he did with the murder ballad form in “Where the wild roses grow”.

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