The Karmapa talks violent video games, hip-hop, and more

Can the playing of violent video games be skillful? Yes, says the Karmapa, the famous as the leader of the Karma Kagyu school of Buddhism.

Lion’s Roar Staff21 September 2009
Karmapa
The Karmapa in Paris in 2016. Photo by Karmapas Foundation Europe.

The Karmapa on hip-hop:

…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.

The Karmapa on war-based video-games:

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 skillful because when I do that I don’t have to go and hit anyone over the head. […] [v]ideo games are just a skillful method.

On succeeding the Dalai Lama:

For the future, my view is that I will continue as I am now, serving the vision of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and all of us who are serving this vision together will be successful. […] Furthermore, we have to be mindful that the Dalai Lama is enjoying excellent health, he’s very active, he’s still contributing tremendously to the cause of the Tibetan people, he is the strong leader of the Tibetan people and that will continue.

It’s important not to get too far ahead of ourselves. There’s a lot of talk about what an authentic Tibetan democracy will look like in the future, who are the leaders going to be, but that’s all discussion at this point and we shouldn’t try and reach too far into the future.

You can read more of the Times’s interview with the Karmapa here.

Lion s Roar Staff

Lion’s Roar Staff

Lion’s Roar is the website of Lion’s Roar magazine (formerly the Shambhala Sun) and Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly, with exclusive Buddhist news, teachings, art, and commentary. Sign up for the Lion’s Roar weekly newsletter and follow Lion’s Roar on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.