The world is of course abuzz with the news of the passing of Apple visionary Steve Jobs. (We’re talking about it here in our offices, and you may very well be too. (This is being written on a Mac. What are you reading it on?) Now, we’d recently touched on Jobs’ interaction with Zen Buddhism here on SunSpace — click here to see Adam Tebbe’s article on the new mini-graphic about Jobs’ interactions with the late Zen teacher, Kobun Chino Roshi. And now there’s this new item via ABC News, “Steve Jobs’ Mantra Rooted in Buddhism: Focus and Simplicity.”)
But: Buddhist or non-Buddhist, Mac or PC, Jobs’ vision was something we can all appreciate, and leadership was a big part of that. Janice Marturano, who blogs about leadership for Mindful.org — and who was a keynote speaker at last weekend’s Creating a Mindful Society gathering in New York City — has posted “Thank You, Steve” — a short appreciation of Jobs’ impact.
Graphic novel or no, we’ll never know for sure how much of that impact was brought about by Jobs’ time with Kobun Chino. Jobs’ relative silence on the matter ensures that — though it’s long been speculated that said silence was more about humility and preserving the specialness of that time and its lessons than anything else. That being said, it’s fair to posit that the late roshi had a definite influence on Jobs’s ability to — as Apple would eventually suggest we all do — “think different.” As Reginald Ray wrote about Kobun Chino in a posthumous appreciation published in the Shambhala Sun in 2002: “Kobun’s mind was truly free of thinking things should be one way as opposed to another and this was why, for me anyway, it was so liberating and joyful to be around him.”
Perhaps Steve Jobs’s mind wasn’t free in quite the same way. But it seemed pretty darned close sometimes, didn’t it?
See also: “Earthquakes and Blossoms Appear,” Zen teachings of Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi, from the archives of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly.
And, via our friends at Elephant: Steve Jobs Sought Enlightenment in India After Dropping Out of College