I think by now, everyone is aware of the passing of Steve Jobs, the former co-founder and CEO of Apple. Many westerners have one way or another benefited through his work, be it through things like the iPOD; iMac, iPhone, etc. One of the first computers I ever used was a MAC, sometime in 1992. In 2011, many of the things I’ve put together on this site have been done from an iMac, and I’ve spent years listening to recorded Dharma talks through my iPod.
I suppose I also have some additional interest in this because I started studying again (software engineering), so many people that I study with have been talking about him non-stop.
Steve Jobs on Death
I’ve noticed on Facebook, people have been circulating this quote from Steve jobs, which echoes many of the sentiments that Buddhists share about death and impermanence. I found it startingly insightful, and thought it had to do with his constant battle with cancer.
“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 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.”
Steve Jobs and Zen
Interestingly enough, Steve Jobs was actually introduced to Zen in the 1970s, and had extremely close ties to Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi. Kobun Chino is known for helping Suzuki Roshi at the San Francisco Zen Center. He also was reportedly, at one point, appointed as a corporate spiritual advisor by Jobs.
More of the article about Jobs and his Zen ties can be read here.