“I like to think that something survives after you die.”
The most prominent and widely mourned among those who passed away in 2011 left these words, giving us this glimpse of his deepest thoughts, shortly before he left us. In his biography “Steve Jobs” published in November 2011, Walter Isaacson, his biographer informs us about this on the last page.
It is widely known that Jobs’ ideas about life and death were strongly influenced by Zen Buddhism. As a young man, he traveled to India and encountered Buddhism. In the 1970s he attended a Zen center in California, and deepened his studies under the guidance of a Japanese Zen teacher. In his graduation speech at Stanford University, Jobs talked about how we have to live our daily lives being conscious of death. The teachings of Zen emphasizes this. Naturally, being aware of death is one way to enhance life. The Western world expresses this idea in the Latin saying “memento mori” (remember your mortality). But what does Zen have to say about what happens after we die?