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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Tibetan nun speaks at NIC on power of ads

October 7, 2008

Talk focuses on the prevalence of violence and sex as
attention-grabbers in society
Tess Brinkerhoff
The Sentinel OnLine (Ohio, USA)
October 6, 2008

"We use sex and violence to advertise just about everything
nowadays," said Venerable Thutbten (toop-ton) Chodron (children).
Chodron has been an ordained nun at Sravasti Abby for 30 years. She
has studied all over the world with many Buddhist masters such as the
Dalai Lama. Chodron came to speak to students and staff on Sept. 19
and 20 about "Sex, Violence and Your Mind."

Chodron spoke first about the mind and the brain; she defined and
discussed the difference between the two.

We can find many definitions for brain, "but what is the mind?" asked
Chodron. As everyone sat and thought she asked, "Are the brain and
the mind the same thing? Could you have a mind without a brain or a
brain without a mind?"

"In Buddhism, 'mind' can be translated as 'heart', but we don't think
of them as the same thing instead we think of them as two different
things," Chodron said.

After distinguishing the difference between the mind and the brain,
Chodron talked about advertisements and movies and how they influence
us as well as the messages we get from them.

"We use sex to advertise, and the news uses violence," Chodron said.
"Journalists say they create what we want, but they create it to make
us want it. We use advertisements to fill those holes that we have in
ourselves. They make us think. Well, if I can just get that, then I
will be satisfied with myself. That is where we are wrong, though,
because we are trying to fill our holes and problems with things from
the outside when our problems are coming from the inside.

"Almost every commercial can be related to sex in some way because we
use sex to advertise, because it makes us happy," she said.

The advertising industry can lower self-esteem because no one looks
like they do. They are airbrushed and photo shopped, but we think if
I look like that, then I will be happy," Chodron said.

"Before advertising was informational, it was, 'go here if you need
horse shoes,' but now it's, 'you don't have horse shoes? What's wrong
with you? Everyone has horse shoes,'" Chodron said.

"When you go to the movies have you ever noticed they all have the
same basic plot?," Chodron asked. "Boy meets girl, they fall in love
all too fast, they fight, they make up and it's over."

The action movies where people are shooting people and are breaking
into buildings to steal things and they have to go through crazy
security systems and we are cheering them on to make it through to
get this big diamond and even worse than that, we find this all
entertaining, Chodron said.

"You might ask how I know all about these movies? All I have to do is
look at the TV screens on the plane and I can tell you exactly what's
going on," Thutbten said.

"The movies portray things such as: We should be able to have
whatever we want without ever being in debt. Little kids' fairy tales
are even worse. All they say is when you grow up you meet Prince
Charming and live happily ever after, and that's not how it is,"
Chodron said. "Not one fairy tale shows that relationships need work,
and that's part of where we end up seeking for happiness outside of
us instead of inside of us because we hold the hope someone will
sweep us off our feet and fill some or all of our little hole.
Objects and people bring us happiness but only a temporary type of happiness."

"A lot of people feel they need things like whiter teeth and perfect
bodies because that's the way advertisements make people feel, and
now everywhere you look they have all this anti-aging stuff," she said.

"We think of it so negatively " said Chodron. "Why not embrace our
age and be happy."

People are against aging, and a lot of depression is caused by aging.
People go through their midlife crisis because their bodies are
changing, said Chodron, and they think about what they wanted when
they were little, and the things they imagined they would have that they don't.

We have to think about how we allow the media to influence us, she said.

"I think she is very insightful; she presents her ideas in a very
down-to-earth fashion and she has very enlightening ideas," said
Aaron Oswald, a freshman at NIC who attended Chodron's speech both
this semester and last semester. "Last semester she spoke about
dealing with simple day-to-day struggles, and I liked that speech a
lot," Oswald said.

We need to remember and understand our happiness comes from inside us
and not from objects around us, Chodron said. We have to figure out
how to make ourselves happy.
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