Steve Jobs, Zen, and the Greatest Invention

The Teachings of Zen do not Touch on the Afterlife


In September 2011, “The Liberty” conducted a survey asking the headquarters of Japan’s major Buddhism dominations “What happens to human beings after they die?” The Soto Zen Headquarters replied: “In our teachings, we do not deal with the afterlife. Especially among our younger monks under 40s, many do not believe in it.” In other words, Zen does not deal with the afterlife or even rejects the idea. Still, Jobs, who was devoted to Zen, said during his last days in his struggle with cancer, that he believed in the existence of the afterlife.

In his speech at Stanford he said: “Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” The fact that one of the greatest inventors of the 20th and early 21st century considers death “the single best invention” is significant.

According to Happy Science, “Death is the greatest invention” is only half the truth. Because there is another invention that goes far beyond the greatness of death. The lucid teachings concerning this invention that Zen can simply not explain are contained in Master Ryuho Okawa’s book “The Age of Religious Choice in Religion”. (beginning of quote)

The Ultimate Path to Happiness – A Divine Invention

I have been saying for years that the other world exists, that it is our real home. I have repeated again and again that our life here on earth only spans a few decades, it is like a short dream, or a trip.

Human beings are blessed with eternal life, with everlasting life. The soul lives on for thousands, for ten thousands of years, and beyond. In the midst of this immense time span, our soul has been given a body by our parents here on earth, our descendants can prosper, and the soul can develop further and further through countless rebirths.

I’m sure some people think: “But why does it have to be so complicated?” And I know many of you wonder: “Why can’t we just keep living as spirits in the spirit world? Why do we have to be born as human beings and go through the struggles of life? If in the end, we die and go to the other world anyway…”

But I have experienced the truth, and to explain the cycle of rebirth in simple terms: it is nothing but the ultimate path to happiness, a divine invention. We are born as human beings and live for a few decades, with a particular name, thinking “this is me, I have this name and these particular characteristics”, we are so attached to this life, but considering the countless rebirths that have brought us here, our names feel more like the names of characters in a play we have been cast for. Because once you understand, you will realize that human beings play many parts in many eras, and on many stages for to improve.

Maybe this time you are Japanese. But maybe the last time you were Chinese. Maybe you were British, American, or French. Maybe you lived in India or Egypt. Or on Mu or Atlantis, the lost continents.

Try to picture this in your mind. Isn’t that a wonderful experience? Is this not a wonderful world?

As countless civilizations blossom to the height of their glory, offering their greatest gifts, we get to be born, grow up, work hard, fall in love, get married, have children, grow old and die…. . Of course growing old and passing away is incredibly sad, but after that, the next chance awaits you. (end of quote)

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Steve Jobs, Zen, and the Greatest Invention
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