Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Buddhist Tribute to Steve Jobs

This is my little tribute to Steve Jobs who has done the whole world of Buddhist proud by his innovative skills. He had a Zen teacher by the name of Kobun Chino and had visited a few Zen centres. This was reported in various internet news. He had also sought spirituality in India and visited Japan and that was probably where he encountered Zen Buddhism. I will be looking forward to the digital publication of an online comic book detailing his experiences in Japan by Forbes Magazine. His biography due in a few weeks should be interesting too. By his sheer focus and simplicity that are the hallmarks of Zen Buddhism, he was responsible for producing the iphone and ipad that has enabled many of us to quickly receive dharma messages and also replying to them. With these devices we are also able to listen to dharma lectures more conveniently without having to bring in separate gadgets. For example, that message from Khenchen Rinpoche I posted recently was sent by him using an ipad. Amazing that even Lamas are using Apple products! But whether the devices themselves are good or bad, as in most other things, it depends on how and what we use it for, right? For example, we have to train our fingers not to be so trigger happy to reply instantly. Replying without thinking through may land us in deep trouble. We must think first before we reply so quickly. Anyway, even though he may not be a practicing Buddhist as Robert Thurman said (although I am not too sure how Thurman could make that judgement that he was not one), still from the fact that he is a Buddhist, he has got the entire world buzzing about Buddhism and how it has shaped the Apple products. Apple has been on the forefront of innovative smart gadgets in modern times. With the knowledge that he was a Buddhist, it will never be the same again the next time we touch an ipad or use an iphone. We will know that these products were the result of the inspiration and vision of a Buddhist. This is what normal, working lay Buddhists should be, i.e. to turn our daily work and job into something that benefit many people. Buddhism is not only about wanting to be monks and nuns. There are so many ways to be a Buddhist. And Steve Jobs had shown us his way of being a Buddhist.

So, for that much, and perhaps more, I salute him and the honor his great products have indirectly brought to Buddhism. Thank you. May Buddha bless him for a rebirth back as a human to create more products that will benefit all sentient beings in a positive way.

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