Author Topic: Should computer games be allowed in monastery?  (Read 23037 times)

kris

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 919
Should computer games be allowed in monastery?
« on: January 06, 2012, 04:35:24 PM »
Someone said that in one of the monasteries in India, young monks are allowed to play computer games once a week (the computer room is used for teaching on other days).

I would think that playing computer games does not really constitute to Dharma, but on the other hand, I also felt that the young monks should be given some "time off"...

What do you think? Do you think young monks should be allowed to play computer games?

Klein

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 502
Re: Should computer games be allowed in monastery?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2012, 05:35:08 PM »
I think computer games should be allowed in the monasteries. It's one of the ways to create exposure for the young monks. Isolating them from the rest of the world would create more ignorance to people's lives in the modern world.

Not all young monks will have a pure motivation to study and practice. Allowing them to play computer games would be one of the least harmful ways of entertainment and also motivation for them to do better in their dharma studies. It is also one of the ways to expose them to computers and internet which are the most efficient and effective methods of disseminating and receiving info around the world. This is very important knowledge for the new generation of dharma teachers.

Galen

  • Moderator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 420
    • Email
Re: Should computer games be allowed in monastery?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2012, 05:59:41 PM »
The monastery I went to in India has a day off for the monks. The monks are free to do what ever they want for that day unless they have official tasks to do. So, I have seen some monks doing their laundry, some monks goes out to town, some monks rest and some monks spend time in the computer room.

In the computer room the monks can go online and also play computer games. Most of the monks in the room are young monks like 9 or 10 years old. Some were on facebook!

To me, I think it is good to have time off so that the monks can get "off" their habits weekly. They get time to rest and relax so that when they start again the next day, they are fresh and more could be done when they are fresh.

Playing computer games is a way for them to do something different from their routine. And through that it may cause them to be better in their Dharmic studies. Young monks also need to socialise to develop their social skills so that they can go out to fund raise or promote their monastery in the future.

Maybe back in the old days, the young monks then were playing marbles during their off days with their monk friends in neighbouring monastery and now the young monks are playing computer games with their monk friends in another country. No difference, only the game is different as it has changed over time. Just like us! And there are so much more monasteries in World! It is a way to get connected. :)


happysun

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 72
Re: Should computer games be allowed in monastery?
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2012, 10:45:50 PM »
haha, this is good question, yes if they allow computer game play in monastery. I went to visit monastery before, I saw some small monks are playing their computer game in off day. According to the adult monk, the small kid only can play game in their off day, school day no!


KhedrubGyatso

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 185
    • Email
Re: Should computer games be allowed in monastery?
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2012, 03:55:39 AM »
I think it is better to think how we can make use of whatever technology has to offer to develop goodness, spread the message of goodwill, love and virtuous action.
If computer games can help develop certain mental faculties , improve mental skills etc then it is not an idle or meaningless pursuit. Since we are talking about young monks here, naturally a certain amount of discipline and regulation will be needed in allowing them access to these games .There also need  to be checks if those games are appropriate for their age since there are those that have adults in mind and not educational at all, like words and maths games, games of strategy or chess games etc.
Young monks will grow to become teachers and sent out to the world. They need to have a balanced education to keep abreast of modern times and techno age n order to communicate effectively and reach out to the masses.

nagaseeker

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 95
Re: Should computer games be allowed in monastery?
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2012, 02:25:11 PM »
Dear kris ,
i don't really agreed about this because i'm a pc gamerz that i used to play for 12 hours per day when i was like 15-16 and i start it with only 2 hours a week or something like that.Once you play any games ,it is very hard to get rid of it as most of the games require you to solve the levels in the game.The purpose of game is to 'win'.If you can't pass through the stage/level,it will bother you so much that you will keep thinking of it everyday and eventually you will addicted to it .

Below is an article about The Effect of Video Games on the Brain by Eleni Kardaras

The effect of video games on the brain is a research area gaining popularity as the percentage of children and adults who play video games is on the rise. Some people believe violence in video games and in other media promotes violent behavior among viewers. While there is not sufficient data to validate this claim, there are a number of studies showing that video games can increase aggressive behavior and emotional outbursts, and decrease inhibitions. From a few of these studies, and from my own observations of children playing video games, it is quite obvious that the video games do have at least some effect on the behavior of the player. The extent and long range consequences of these behavior changes after one has turned off the video game are not so easily deduced. One source states that "While research on video games and aggressive behavior must be considered preliminary, it may be reasonably inferred from the more than 1,000 reports and studies on television violence that video game violence may also contribute to aggressive behavior and desensitization to violence" (1). Another study reports that "Hostility was increased both in subjects playing a highly aggressive video game and those playing a mildly aggressive video game. Subjects who had played the high-aggression game were significantly more anxious than other subjects" (2).

I had a chance to observe the effects of video games first hand on two boys, ages eight and ten, when I babysat them earlier in the semester. They were playing the video game "Mario Cart," which is really not a very violent game; the object is to win a car race by coming in first while maneuvering through different courses. When the younger brother won, the older brother got up and started kicking him and yelling insults! Later on that day, the younger brother was playing another video game by himself and when he could not beat the level, he threw down the controller and screamed at the t.v. screen, "Why are you doing this to me...?!" and burst into tears. I was very shocked by this reaction and was not quite sure how to handle the situation. This game had brought an eight year old boy to tears, right in front of me. "Certainly, video games can make some people go nuts. You just have to look at some enthusiasts playing video games on their cellular phones, mumbling to themselves heatedly even though others are around them. At game centers (penny arcades), frustrated people punch or kick game machines without regard to making a spectacle of themselves" (3). From the above descriptions, it seems that players get somewhat "sucked" into the video game and become oblivious to their surroundings and much less inhibited to share their emotions. What types of changes are occurring in the brain to activate this behavior which one exhibits when "sucked" into a video game?

Akio Mori, a professor at Tokyo's Nihon University, conducted a recent study observing the effects of video games on brain activity. He divided 260 people into three groups: those who rarely played video games, those who played between 1 and 3 hours three to four times a week, and those who played 2 to 7 hours each day. He then monitored "the beta waves that indicate liveliness and degree of tension in the prefrontal region of the brain, and alpha waves, which often appear when the brain is resting" (4). The results showed a higher decrease of beta waves the more one played video games. "Beta wave activity in people in the [highest amount of video game playing] was constantly near zero, even when they weren't playing, showing that they hardly used the prefrontal regions of their brains. Many of the people in this group told researchers that they got angry easily, couldn't concentrate, and had trouble associating with friends" (4). This suggests two important points. One, that the decrease of beta wave activity and usage of the prefrontal region of the brain may correlate with the aggressive behavior, and two, that the decrease of beta waves continued after the video game was turned off, implying a lasting effect. Another study found similar results and reported: "Youths who are heavy gamers can end up with 'video-game brain,' in which key parts of the frontal region of their brain become chronically underused, altering moods" (5). This study also asserts that a lack of use of the frontal brain, contributed by video games, can change moods and could account for aggressive and reclusive behavior. An important question arises: if the brain is so impacted by video games as to create behavioral changes, must that mean that the brain perceives the games as real?

Perhaps looking at what effects video games have on autonomic nerves can begin to answer that question. "'Many video games stir up tension and a feeling of fear, and there is a very real concern that this could have a long-term effect on the autonomic nerves,' Mori commented" (6). Autonomic nerves are those connected with involuntary internal organ processes, such as breathing and heart rate. "Heart rate can be altered by electrical signals from emotional centers in the brain or by signals from the chemical messengers called epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine. These hormones are released from the adrenal glands in response to danger..." (7). Multiple studies have reported that playing video games can significantly increase heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen consumption. If studies show that heart rate is increased when playing video games, then it seems that the brain is responding to the video game as if the body is in real danger. Does repeated exposure to this "false" sense of danger have an effect on what the brain then perceives as real danger?

From the above studies and observations, video games do effect the players in some ways, since it appears that players get so wrapped up in the game that they forget their surroundings and begin to see the game as a real quest. Studies have shown that playing video games can increase heart rate and blood pressure, as well as decrease prefrontal lobe activity while the person is playing the game. This could account for changes in the player's mood and cause him or her to become more aggressive or emotional. However, the extent of these effects on the body once video game playing has ceased are preliminary and need to be confirmed.

I guess the young monks should be restricted to play computer games but it is allow to let them do research on the net about dharmic contents and surf for world news ~ if they need to have "time off" , outdoor sports will do right ?

Kris , what do you think ?


triesa

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 609
Re: Should computer games be allowed in monastery?
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2012, 03:35:38 PM »
My opinion on this is that time has changed and as monks in the modern world, it would be necessary to have a taste of what the world of comouter has to offer.

Playing a game in one's free time is fine, it is like any kind of relaxation. The key is that how to ensure the monks would not be addicted to it and develope any side effects og aggression as mentioned by nagaseeker.

There is always no fixed rule or proof that the monks will all be good without palying computer games, so lets not put the blame on computer games but instead aim to stirke a balance in life and the monks can also grow up together with knowledge of what the new age of technology brings to them.

 

WisdomBeing

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2096
    • Add me to your facebook!
Re: Should computer games be allowed in monastery?
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2012, 03:48:25 PM »
i think it depends on what kind of computer games... there are many games which can be quite violent and  not suitable for under 18s. If they're over 18 though or playing with games suitable for their age group, I think there's no harm to be familiar with what is popular in the secular world outside the monastic walls. If the monks eventually go out to teach outside the monastery, they should know what the average person is familiar with - be it movies (i understand that monks on their days off also go to the movies!) or computer games. If they are completely isolated from samsaric activities, they will not be able to connect with the lay people they seek to teach.
Kate Walker - a wannabe wisdom Being

DSFriend

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 955
Re: Should computer games be allowed in monastery?
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2012, 04:04:42 PM »
Computer games seem to have built itself a reputation surrounding violence and aggression. And there are extensive research similar to the ones shared by nagaseeker.

I'm guilty of playing computer games while growing up which continued into my adulthood. :)

With that said, I'm somewhat exposed to different types of games, including educational games which can be quite engaging and definitely beneficial to children in developing problem solving skills, social skills, spacial, language etc.. These type of games are quite popular and used with children as young as 3 or 4 years old. High end, educational games have built in simulations of real life scenarios.

I am all for the monks to keep up with technology, social media, computer games (those that are non-violent) especially the educational type games.

negra orquida

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 205
Re: Should computer games be allowed in monastery?
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2012, 04:07:48 PM »
I think its fine to let monks play with computer games, as it is a good idea for them to have some connection with the secular world, know what is going on so they can relate to laypeople's lives to better communicate with them.  Also a good practice of non-attachment/non-addiction to computer games!

I am not sure if we can say that letting the monks play with computer games as a "time off"... take a time off what? Time off from walking the path of enlightenment? Imagine Buddha Shakyamuni while meditating one day stops mid-way and says "Gosh, I need some time off.. gotta have my computer game break"

On another hand, I also agree with Klein that perhaps not all monks have developed pure motivation to pursue monastic life for the benefit of all sentient beings.  So having computer game breaks could be beneficial for such monks.  By the way, is there negative karma created if we play violent computer games and kill people in the game??

diamond girl

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 282
Re: Should computer games be allowed in monastery?
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2012, 04:17:28 PM »
i think it depends on what kind of computer games... there are many games which can be quite violent and  not suitable for under 18s. If they're over 18 though or playing with games suitable for their age group, I think there's no harm to be familiar with what is popular in the secular world outside the monastic walls. If the monks eventually go out to teach outside the monastery, they should know what the average person is familiar with - be it movies (i understand that monks on their days off also go to the movies!) or computer games. If they are completely isolated from samsaric activities, they will not be able to connect with the lay people they seek to teach.

I have children the ages of young monks in the monastery. Moderation is the key. My children play way too much and too much time. And yes I do see aggressive behavior and also short attention span on other things while not playing the games. So, I do not encourage that the young monks put too much time on the games but complete no exposure is also not good. Control and moderation takes discipline which I feel is a virtue which even young monks should develop.

Computer games should be allowed in monasteries however, moderation and censorship are required by the disciplinarian of the monastery. I agree with WB that when they grow and teach lay people, they should be able to relate to the samsaric stuff of the modern people. I personally relate better to a Guru who knows what I do and is not obsolete. My Guru is so in tune with the modern times, gadgets etc. When he teaches he relates Buddha's ancient teachings to my modern lifestyle. I get it and I can apply easily.

valeriecheung

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 63
Re: Should computer games be allowed in monastery?
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2012, 04:33:15 PM »
For my point of view is fine if once a week but not addicted it. Especially for kids is fine because games will train their mind reaction become intelligent. This might let player realize  something during the process of playing. Some games you need to think into it to accomplish target and challenge to next level.

kris

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 919
Re: Should computer games be allowed in monastery?
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2012, 05:13:54 PM »
Nagaseeker, I think I would agree with a few of the replies, that it depends on what kind of games they are playing.

So, how about the following games:
1. Star craft (strategy game which involves killing of enemy troops)
2. Need for speed (racing game, which involves winning other opponents)
3. World of Warcraft
4. IGI Project (action game to kill some other soldiers)
5. FarmVille

Nowadays, it is quite difficult to find an interesting game that does not promote violent :p

nagaseeker

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 95
Re: Should computer games be allowed in monastery?
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2012, 05:28:23 PM »
Nagaseeker, I think I would agree with a few of the replies, that it depends on what kind of games they are playing.

So, how about the following games:
1. Star craft (strategy game which involves killing of enemy troops)
2. Need for speed (racing game, which involves winning other opponents)
3. World of Warcraft
4. IGI Project (action game to kill some other soldiers)
5. FarmVille

Nowadays, it is quite difficult to find an interesting game that does not promote violent :p


kris,

all the games you mentioned were related to 'killing' or how to win over opponents which will definitely affect youngster mind and become violent if play continuously except Farmville....but farmville is a game that waste your time and i don't see how it can train one's mind to become more alert,awareness , and also i don't you can get any knowledge from this game.

i do find star craft is a game that can train us on how to organize things in daily life because it really need you to plan strategy all the times but at the end the purpose of the games is to kill all your opponent......


what about sudoku ? simple yet can train you mind very well. what do you think ,kris ?

kris

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 919
Re: Should computer games be allowed in monastery?
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2012, 06:36:01 PM »
Nagaseeker, I think games like Sudoku, Freecell should be ok, provided he is not too attached to winning the game.