Steve Jobs

Thai Group says Steve Jobs reincarnated as warrior-philosopher

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.

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Aston Kutcher channels Steve Jobs at UCLA

The Daily Mail carries photographs of actor Aston Kutcher playing the part of Steve Jobs in a biographical film that’s being make of the late Apple chief.

Jobs is said to have been inspired by meditation and by the minimalist Zen esthetic, although his legendary bad temper suggests that his meditation practice only went so far.

He was so dedicated to Buddhism he went to India in search of enlightenment – and was married by a Zen master.

And new scenes of Ashton Kutcher sitting cross-legged at a meditation class show it is another of the threads of his live that will be touched upon in the forthcoming Steve Jobs biopic.

The Two and a Half Men star looked every inch the idealistic young hippie in his orange and cream striped shirt, torn jeans, Beatles-esque hair and beard at the UCLA university campus today.

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The Zen at the heart of Steve Jobs’ genius

Frederick E. Allen, Forbes: Walter Isaacson, the biographer of Steve Jobs, has a terrific 6,000-word article out at hbr.org today, and in the forthcoming issue of Harvard Business Review, titled The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs.

He discusses the many qualities that set Steve Jobs apart from all other innovators ever, but what most struck me reading the piece is the repeated mention of Jobs’ involvement with Zen Buddhism.

After a while, I found myself reading that part of Jobs’ experience and personality into sections of the article where Isaacson didn’t bring it up.

The first element of Jobs’ leadership that Isaacson discusses …

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Meditation on Jobs: Mankato grad writes graphic novel on Zen influences of former Apple CEO

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Tanner Kent: Though he only graduated from Mankato West in 2008, and from Northwestern University this year, Caleb Melby can now add “published author” to an already lengthy resume in journalism.

He delivered The Free Press as a youngster, started a radio show at KMSU in high school and edited the high school newspaper.

In college, he served as executive director of the school’s news web site and wrote editorials for the Chicago Tribune. In the spring of 2011, he worked as a reporter for The Times of Johannesburg, South Africa, and landed an internship with Forbes Media in the summer of 2011 — an opportunity he parlayed into a full-time job as a wealth reporter beginning next month.

But on Jan. 3, Melby’s latest journalistic venture will arrive in bookstores across the country.

While working as an intern at Forbes, Melby authored “The Zen of Steve Jobs,” a not-quite-factual “re-imagining” of the late Apple CEO’s experiences as an understudy to Kobun Chino Otogawa, a revered Buddhist priest.

“It’s been great,” said Melby, who is visiting home for the holidays before returning

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Steve Jobs’ private spirituality now an open book

Daniel Burke: He considered moving to a Zen monastery before shifting his sights to Silicon Valley, where he became a brash businessman.

He preached about the dangers of desire but urged consumers to covet every new iPhone incarnation.
“He was an enlightened being who was cruel,” says a former girlfriend. “That’s a strange combination.”

Now, we can add another irony to the legacy of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs: Since his death on Oct. 5, the famously private man’s spiritual side has become an open book.

A relative recounted his last words for The New York Times. A new biography traces his early quest for enlightenment …

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Steve Jobs on death

Steve Jobs

I’m sad that Steve Jobs has died. No one has had as much effect on the computer industry as he has. His company, Apple, has transformed the way we relate to computers.

I only recently learned that Jobs was a Buddhist. According to his Wikipedia biography, he went to India in the 1970s and came back a Buddhist. In 1991 his wedding ceremony was performed by a Zen priest. He was a very private man, and I don’t think he talked much about his religion.

I thought a fitting tribute would be Jobs own words, from his 2005 commencement address at Stanford University, in which he eloquently discusses how an awareness of death and impermanence inspired him to live life to the fullest.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

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