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 Steve Jobs -- this article is worth reading

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PostSubject: Steve Jobs -- this article is worth reading   Wed Nov 02, 2011 6:51 pm

Steve Jobs' Faith, Now an Open Book

11/2/11 06:23 PM ET

By Daniel Burke - Religion News Service

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 and lifelong appreciation for Zen Buddhism. Everyone from ABC News to India Today has pondered the link between his religious interests and business acumen.

All this for a guy who guarded his personal life like it was an Apple trade secret.

On Sunday (Oct. 30), The New York Times published the eulogy that Mona Simpson, Jobs' sister, delivered at his Oct. 16 memorial service.

In his last moments, Jobs' breath shortened, as if he were climbing a steep path. His last words were "OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW," Simpson writes.

Whatever Jobs saw, he had been seeking it for decades, according to a new biography by Walter Isaacson.

"For most of my life, I've felt there must be more to our existence than meets the eye," Jobs told Isaacson. The adopted son of blue-collar Californians spent much of his early adulthood searching for that unseen something.

At age 13, Jobs asked the Lutheran pastor of his parents' church if God knew about starving children. "Yes, God knows everything," the pastor replied. Jobs never returned to church, refusing to worship a God who allowed such suffering.

Like many baby boomers, Jobs later turned to Eastern spirituality, particularly countercultural keystones such as "Be Here Now," Baba Ram Dass​' guide to meditation and psychedelic drugs.

He also studied Buddhism, practicing meditation and reading "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind," a collection of lectures by Shunryu Suzuki​, one of the first Zen masters to teach in America.

In 1974, Jobs traveled halfway around the world, to India, in search of his own guru. Upon returning, he found one in his hometown of Los Altos, Calif., where a Suzuki disciple, Kobun Chino Otagawa, had opened the Haiku Zen Center.

Jobs and the Zen master quickly forged a bond, discussing life and Buddhism during midnight walks. "I ended up spending as much time with him as I could," Jobs told Isaacson. "Zen has been a deep influence in my life ever since."

Jobs even considered traveling to Eihei-ji, the main training temple of the Soto school of Zen in Japan. But Kobun, as he was known, counseled Jobs to stay in California.

Les Kaye, a Zen teacher in Silicon Valley who also studied under Kobun, remembers Kobun as enigmatic and wise. "He was the epitome of an enlightened being: sweet, kind and generous. People flocked to him."

In 1976, after just one year, Jobs stopped practicing Buddhism at the Haiku Zen Center, said Kaye, who was a member of the center at the time. Apple had begun to consume the budding businessman's attention.

Jobs kept in contact with Kobun, asking him to officiate at his 1991 wedding. He also gave friends recordings of Kobun's lectures, including one in which he cautions against craving. Buddhism's "first noble truth" teaches that desire fuels suffering.

Jobs bristled when a friend pointed out the irony of a marketing genius warning against materialism, according to Isaacson.

When Kobun drowned in 2002, Jobs called Kaye in tears. "Kobun's death really struck him," Kaye said. "He was beside himself."

Jobs believed that Zen meditation taught him to concentrate and ignore distractions, according to Isaacson. He also learned to trust intuition and curiosity -- what Buddhists call "beginner's mind" -- over analysis and preconceptions.

More visibly, Apple's sleek, minimalist designs reveal Jobs' zeal for Zen aesthetics -- the uncluttered lines of calligraphy and Japanese gardens, according to Isaacson's book.

Kaye, who teaches meditation to Silicon Valley companies, said Jobs was delighted when he began offering classes at Apple 12 years ago. He particularly wanted Apple's engineers to learn meditation, Kaye said, to boost their creativity.

But Jobs told Kaye that he had practiced Zen "only occasionally" in recent years.

Despite his Buddhist background, Jobs was often mean, manipulative and egocentric, writes Isaacson, whose book is filled with tales of the Apple chief's abusive behavior.

"Unfortunately his Zen training never quite produced in him a Zen-like calm of inner serenity," Isaacson writes, "and that, too, is part of his legacy."

Kaye, the head teacher of Kannon Do Zen Meditation Center in Mountain View, Calif., said Jobs didn't practice Buddhism long enough to let it sink in.

"He got to the aesthetic part of Zen -- the relationship between lines and spaces, the quality and craftsmanship," Kaye said. "But he didn't stay long enough to get the Buddhist part, the compassion part, the sensitivity part."
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Posts : 1617
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PostSubject: Re: Steve Jobs -- this article is worth reading   Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:50 pm

There is new book out -- it's graphic -- I mean literally - in the style of graphic novels or comic books -- all illustrations. I assume this book is essentially fiction - the author imagines dialogues and events - since Jobs was a very private person and I doubt if he ever talked much about this aspect of his life. Jobs did talk a bit about his relationship to Zen in the big official bio that came out a few weeks after his death, but i doubt if this book is based on those conversations. So this might fit into the general category of myth making.


An illustrated depiction of Steve Jobs' friendship with Zen Buddhist Kobun Chino Otogawa and the impact it had on Jobs' career

Apple cofounder Steve Jobs (1955-2011) had such an enormous impact on so many people that his life often took on aspects of myth. But much of his success was due to collaboration with designers, engineers and thinkers. The Zen of Steve Jobs tells the story of Jobs' relationship with one such person: Kobun Chino Otogawa.

Kobun was a Zen Buddhist priest who emigrated to the U.S. from Japan in the early 1970s. He was an innovator, lacked appreciation for rules and was passionate about art and design. Kobun was to Buddhism as Jobs was to the computer business: a renegade and maverick. It wasn't long before the two became friends--a relationship that was not built to last.

This graphic book is a reimagining of that friendship. The story moves back and forward in time, from the 1970s to 2011, but centers on the period after Jobs' exile from Apple in 1985 when he took up intensive study with Kobun. Their time together was integral to the big leaps that Apple took later on with its product design and business strategy.

Told using stripped down dialogue and bold calligraphic panels, The Zen of Steve Jobs explores how Jobs might have honed his design aesthetic via Eastern religion before choosing to identify only what he needs and leave the rest behind.
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PostSubject: Re: Steve Jobs -- this article is worth reading   Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:38 am

From a Buddhist viewpoint one could say that perhaps during Steve Jobs last dying moments, the gates of compassion were flung open wide and he was able to enter into the clear state of recognition, awareness, that all his life had eluded him, in spite of the fact that he had let other pursuits take precedence over his lifefor one reason or another, putting aside for what had been the real longing of his heart.
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PostSubject: Re: Steve Jobs -- this article is worth reading   Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:09 pm

Or,( more simply) it could be said that Genius could be just as much a deterrent to practice than any other distraction.
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