September 20, 2009
The Karmapa on Hip-Hop & Video War Games: : "The aggression that comes out in the video game satiates whatever desire I might have to express that feeling."
Video game site kotaku.com points us to an interview with Trinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa (the one recognized by the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government), who enjoys hip-hop and considers video war games a kind of "emotional therapy":
I believe you like to listen to hip-hop on your ipod. Who are your favourite artistes?
I can't think of any specific artists right now, I basically listen to what ever comes my way, whatever sounds appealing. It's important for me to stick to my traditional forms of art because I am a Tibetan Buddhist teacher wearing these robes. It's important for me to maintain my cultural affiliations.
But from time to time I do enjoy listening to hip-hop because it has a very modern sound to it and even though I'm a Tibetan teacher representing these ancient teachings, I'm also a global citizen in the 21st century. Hip-hop perhaps is one way of me being a 21st-century person.
Is that why you play war games on your play station because many might say it's inappropriate for a Buddhist monk dedicated to peace to play war games?
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.
But shouldn't meditation take care of that?
No, video games are just a skilful method.
A few weeks back, I wrote about Cursed Mountain, a Tibetan Buddhist inspired video game. I don't know if he has stumbled upon it yet.
You can read the full Times of India interview with the 17th Karmapa here.