Trinley Dorje is a 24-year-old man, so you might expect him to enjoy playing a video game or two. However, he is also the Karmapa Lama – the only senior Buddhist leader to be officially recognised by China, India and Tibet. And it turns out that even high-ranking Buddhists need to let off a little steam now and then – enter Dorje’s PlayStation.
In an interview with The Times of India, Dorje stated that he felt the occasional indulgence in a bit of digitised violence to work quite nicely with his philosophy.
“I view video games as something of an emotional therapy, a mundane level of emotional therapy for me,” he said. “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.”
So there you go – achieving nirvana and finishing Gears of War 2 on Insane difficulty might not be mutually exclusive after all.