Top Lama: “Violent Video Games as Good as Meditation”


The Karmapa Lama, one of Buddhism’s top leaders, has stated that not only does he play violent video games, he also thinks they are as effective as meditation in freeing the mind of worldly passions.

He also professes a liking for hiphop, though is too coy to name specific artists…

The current Karmapa Lama, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, leads a major school of Buddhism, the Karma Kagyu school, and occupies an especially delicate diplomatic position as he is the only major Buddhist leader to receive recognition from China (whose control he escaped from), India (where he resides now) and the Tibetan people.


However, he is a young man of 24, and as such has picked up rather more of global contemporary culture than any of his forebears.

He explains in an interview:

Moving to other issues, I believe you like to listen to hip-hop on your ipod. Who are your favourite artistes?

I can’t think of any specific artistes 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.

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    Avatar of hALOTOO
    Comment by hALOTOO
    13:11 28/09/2009 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Otaku can never be a Buddhist due to there obsession
    but he is cool

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:46 18/10/2009 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    The difference between him and most of you guys, he understands a balance in video gaming and the rest of life.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:42 25/09/2009 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    wonder if I should include this article in my research paper on buddhism for my religious studies class.

    Avatar of Neferius
    Comment by Neferius
    21:43 21/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    You TOTALLY Should :D

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:16 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Oh my God, this is excellent news.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:22 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is way funnier for me since I come from Venezuela and currently their is a new law coming to life that will make illegal and will prohibit any type of violent/war-related videogames in my country.

    Excuse my english.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:12 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    A religious leader that supports violent video games? What is the world coming to?

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:05 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Finally an enlightened religious leader

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:16 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'd love to see the look on Jack Thompson's face when he reads this. He'd piss his pants for sure and i'd laugh my ass off!

    It's a good thing this Buddhist is catching up to the modern era while keeping his ancient ways.

    Makes his badass level over 9000!

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:10 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'd say a lot of us are buddhists already.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:11 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)


    Comment by Anonymous
    10:14 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    To people who dont belive in buddishm u can just fuk off dont come here and voice ur my place there is a lot of christian base people come to my house pormote their religion.And u say buddishm steal money? fuk u maybe there is some but this u r a off topic asshole.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:10 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I wonder what this guy is like when he plays online?

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:09 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Buddhism is probably the only religion I haven't found a reason to hate yet. Plus every time I find out something new about it, I end up liking it even more.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:08 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    so basically i have been meditating my whole life?

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:52 25/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    This guy played Mortal Kombat and seen the light...

    Avatar of Unlimitedbladeworks
    Comment by Unlimitedbladeworks
    05:41 25/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Lulz! Where are your "desensitized youths" now Jack Thompson? It's nothing that any of us didn't already know but it's hilarious when a leading figure of one the world most peace loving religions comes out and says this.

    Avatar of metatron
    Comment by metatron
    16:50 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Time to worship Buddha and follow his teachings

    Avatar of Kelvin
    Comment by Kelvin
    18:04 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Modern Monks..

    Avatar of Hunger
    Comment by Hunger
    19:12 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    if christian priests could be as modern as this then they would have a better chance of convincing me to believe in their religion =_=

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:44 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    From my long experience on the internet, now I can easily predict the ways conversations will go.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:58 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    video games -- Buddhism's anti... OH never mind. -_-

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:25 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    to outline their strategy, suck up to internet trolls, for that is all there is on the internet.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:12 25/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    It's true.

    I have played GTA4, shooting hookers for refund!
    I have also had my hands on some illusion soft games!
    I am a violent as much a violent gamer as any one of you out there.

    Just recently, I became enlightened because of those super erotic and violent games. You know, about life, lust and violent nature of man and whatever. As a result, I volunteered for an aid group in India for dead children who have been raped.

    Of course I had no time and interest to look up actual Buddhist teachings or ask their teachers...

    And then I ran into this post today on Sankaku. To my disbelief, I was already a Buddhist by practice, without even knowing anything about it! And so are all my blood thirsty brothers of gaming who are out there.

    Therefore, I decided to consult an expert on Buddhism to find out. And plus, it sounds like an awesome religion right?

    So I visited a temple to ask a Buddhist monk, "I was L4D-ing with my buddies and it occurred to me; poor zombies. So can I bring my other friends to this temple and we can all start playing like everyday?"

    And he replied "Anon, are there no consequences of playing video games for many hours on end, or fapping too much? From doing anything excessively?"

    "Anon, it's not that Buddhism has anything against video games. From where it stands, its perfectly ok for people to play any of them for entertainment."

    And I was like "surely not XBOX 360???"

    "Sure, except for 360..."

    The monk continued. "Any case, we advice people to think clear and have the right frame of mind so that we're not mindlessly emulating any bad behavior from whatever's on the tube. Or games."

    "I would love to stay here and chat Anon, but I have to get back to my quiet meditation. Besides, I have to read up some holy texts later too," said the monk.

    "What? You monks just mediate and read your teachings?!?!" I was furious. "I had the impression that this religion was fantastic but now, its like bullshit!"

    The calm Buddhist monk smiled and replied "my dear Anon, it doesn't matter to me. I made a choice to give up worldly possessions and devote my 24/7 to the practice. You Anon, can still go back to all your games. That is your choice."

    "Not 360!"

    "Ok Anon, not 360..."

    "Yeah but that ain't Buddhist man! You are supposed to free your mind by meditating on playing violent games!" I protested.

    "Anon, did you even know where Buddhism came from? It came from Nepal, not Tibet..."

    "True Buddhism has been twisted out of shape by ignorance. And then there's Wikipedia...But you don't even have to ask a real Buddhist monk to know where Buddhism started. Even Wikipedia can tell you that for sure."

    "You mean Wikia?"

    "No, Wiki-pedia, Anon. You do know Wikipedia right?"

    "Right...Whatever.Hey man can, my iPod's flat. Let me use your charger for a bit?"

    "I don't have an iPOD. Like what i said earlier, we Buddhist monks have given up our worldly possessions."

    "No iPod? What? Okay I don't wanna keep you from not meditating. But I'm still confused about this Buddhist stuff. Can I Twitter you?"

    "No Twitter."

    "Call of Duty?Halo ODST?"


    But at that point, I cannot recall anything from two minutes ago and none of those words registered in my head. Not Wikipedia, not even 'originated.'

    Plus I was fuming like Fuuu...Since my mind had been dissolved of its intelligence by going to /b/ day after day, it moved quickly from confusion to Pedo Bear and chasing Haruhi and Rick roll played in head.

    So I just stormed off from the temple where the Buddhist monk lived, came home and posted this while I fapped. I still think this article is spot on 'Buddhism.'

    Now,now. I know what you're thinking. But I'm not a religious nut.I have also capitalized the word 'Sankaku' earlier. Go check.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:58 14/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    no 360

    halo ODST


    Comment by Anonymous
    19:44 18/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Wow, you really did capitalize it.

    Dang, I can't believe I actually checked.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:25 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I have a new light for my own religion =D

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:03 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Cool guy!
    He can put a clear boundary between religion and secular world and excel in both! Balance! Yin and Yang! I LIKE

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:09 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    If you actually read his response, he sounds pretty reasonable and level headed, unlike most religious crack heads.

    Avatar of fxc2
    Comment by fxc2
    02:30 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    This guy x9000

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:34 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    so meditation equals to violence and sexual abuse?
    What are those monk thinking?
    Pedophilia maybe?

    Avatar of ecceAnime
    Comment by ecceAnime
    16:21 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    In case that you are serious:

    No he said that violence relaxes your feelings, equivalent in a way to mediation.

    One monk. One.

    He's talking about violent games where does pedophilia come in?

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:36 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    that thinking about such things maybe equal to give you relaxed feelings like mentioned there so they meditate about all possible things.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:50 18/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    If you are a pedophile at heart then you must learn to deal with and release those harmful emotions. To bottle them up and pretend they do not exist would cause more harm. So, if reading loli hentai releases it for you so you don't go after the neighbor kids, so much the better.

    Maybe someday you can learn to do without such a worldly crutch and eliminate the emotion at its root.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:07 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hm, if he's trying to suggest that video games are a viable method of catharsis... unfortunately catharsis has been shown to be ineffective at reducing feelings of aggression.

    Not that it will stop me from playing video games.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:58 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    That's a Monk from Atlantica Online in the picture.

    Avatar of Ragefat
    Comment by Ragefat
    03:31 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Atlantica Online is a good game in my opinion, though it may suck when your mercenaries retire. XD

    Avatar of Falk5T
    Comment by Falk5T
    02:58 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hes kinda cool, im not into hiphop though but it seems he has a good oppinion about Games being not so bad as all those dumbass politicans say. Gosh here in germany some tried to get PAINTBALL banned! Because someone who played once or two times paintball with his friends, he goes on school shotting and rampage -.-

    Comment by HyperKnuckles99
    02:37 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I support his statement.

    Comment by Busy
    02:57 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I still prefer being shinto, we got a god for everything.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:50 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    well buddhism is an addition to shinto, you, yourself can be a god as well in addition to others being god.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:15 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Not true. Buddhism is a complement to Shinto, but it is developed independently in India. It just so happens that Zen Buddhism school of thought complements the Shinto school of thought that the two of them are sometimes practiced together.

    Avatar of Otakuza
    Comment by Otakuza
    07:27 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Not to mention a totally kickass mythology. Susanoo for the win!

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:59 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    no shyt, one has try this method right after having two tooth removed years ago, GTA vice city was such a sanctuary, barely feel a pain in those days

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:55 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Finally someone tells that playing violent video game is good for use XD

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:46 18/10/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Actually, that depends on how you apply it. If you use it to release the emotion, then great. If you use it to foster the emotion, not great.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:27 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    hmmm, isnt it contradictory? If he is trying to free his mind of worldy possessions, why the hell does he have an ipod and a playstation? That is totally against buddhism

    Avatar of nocturne
    Comment by nocturne
    02:08 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Buddhism isn't about relinquishing one's worldly possessions. Even Siddhartha became a complete ascetic, practicing self-mortification and completely throwing away everything he owned, only to realize that moderation is the key, not going to either extreme. A Buddhist monk's lifestyle does contain a level of asceticism, but it's okay to spend leisure time with your hobbies and eat good food - as long as you keep it in check. Children growing up in monasteries can be seen playing soccer in the courtyard and such. You'd never see that if they were true ascetics.

    Buddhism isn't puritanical as a religion in the slightest. If you had to sum up the religion, it's basically that life sucks, and there's a way of finding balance in mind, body and spirit that can help you overcome that.

    Avatar of BlaqCat
    Comment by BlaqCat
    04:48 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I think you just made me into a Buddhist with that explination. 0_0;

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:58 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    you're probably right about that, but that mostly applies to Mahayana(sp?) group. The southern school of Buddhism, Theravada, is a more stricter form of Buddhism. And you usually won't see Theravadan young monks playing soccer.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:24 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    lol, unlike catholics...they are told to free themselves from all material things....

    now its really

    Buddhism > Catholicism

    it looks that way

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:12 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    In Buddhism, you are encouraged to severe all attachments to worldly and petty desires. In fact, most of the waking hours of a monk is devoted just for that.

    Avatar of DK
    Comment by DK
    01:36 24/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Eh, he's a pretty cool guy (no, I'm not going for THAT joke). At least we can safely say he's a gamer who believes that "Crime + Video Games = BULLSHIT!"

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