A rather quirky Buddhist organization has taken the distasteful, and I must assume dishonest, step of making claims about Steve Job’s rebirth. Many people only became aware that the Apple leader was a BUddhist when he died last year after a prolonged battle with cancer.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Dhammakaya Group in Thailand is now claiming that “Mr. Jobs has been reincarnated as a celestial warrior-philosopher .. and he’s living in a mystical glass palace hovering above his old office at Apple’s Cupertino, California headquarters.”
The WSJ pointed out that the widespread grief many felt after Jobs’ passing took an odd form, when some of hisadmirers in Malaysia “gathered on a tropical island and in a religious ceremony each took a bite from an apple before flinging the fruit into the sea in a bid to speed up his reincarnation.”
Now, over in Thailand, Phra Chaibul Dhammajayo, who is the abbot at the Dhammakaya Temple north of Bangkok, is claiming that Mr. Jobs has already been reborn.
“After Steve Jobs passed away, he was reincarnated as a divine being with a special knowledge and appreciation for science and the arts,” the Dhammakaya leader said in the first of a series of sermons beamed to hundreds of thousands of the group’s followers around the world.
The WSJ charitably notes that “Phra Chaibul’s claims are impossible to corroborate.” it seems reasonable to assume that they are, in fact, either fabrications or delusions.
It also notes that Chaibul has faced criticism for his claims, which have been accused of being part of a fundraising campaign. Sadly, that sounds about right. I have to say that Dhammakaya’s claims smack of an attempt to profit from the death of a prominent Buddhist.
It is salutary for us to remember that the Buddhist world is not as “pure” as we sometimes might like to think it is.