The Karmapa Lama – the only high-ranking Buddhist leader recognized by Tibet, China, and India alike – thinks videogames should be used to help satiate natural human aggressive instincts.
Trinley Dorje may be considered the latest reincarnation of the Karmapa Lama – the leader of the largest sub-school of Tibetan Buddhism and the only religious leader of his stature recognized by authorities in China, Tibet, and India – but he’s also a twenty-six-year-old young man who has grown up in the modern age, and his tastes reflect that. In an interview with the Times of India, His Holiness discussed the current political landscape in the roof of the world as well as more mundane things such as music and his fondness for playing videogames.
When asked if he thought it was inappropriate for a Buddhist monk – a man dedicated to peace and serenity – to play violent war games, Dorje said he did not, and in fact supported videogames as a way to healthily release and satiate feelings of aggression “in the illusion of the game”:
Well, I view video games as something of an emotional therapy, a mundane level of emotional therapy for me. We all have emotions whether we’re Buddhist practitioners or not, all of us have emotions, happy emotions, sad emotions, displeased emotions and we need to figure out a way to deal with them when they arise.
So, for me sometimes it can be a relief, a kind of decompression to just play some video games. If I’m having some negative thoughts or negative feelings, video games are one way in which I can release that energy in the context of the illusion of the game. I feel better afterwards.
The aggression that comes out in the video game satiates whatever desire I might have to express that feeling. For me, that’s very skilful because when I do that I don’t have to go and hit anyone over the head.
When asked if his meditation should be taking care of these feelings instead, Dorje replied that games are merely a “skillful method.”
So in the future, should any of us be faced with the type of angry talking head ranting about how games cause violence (As seen on TV), we should point them in the direction of His Holiness Trinley Dorje. Because come on – if a senior Buddhist Lama isn’t an expert on peace and tranquility, who is?