Kobun and Steve Jobs and Shunryu Suzuki and Zen
9-11-14 - The Zen of Steve Jobs, Kobun Chino Otogawa and Japan - thanks Gregory MacNaughton who sent it as part of a discussion with Reed Zen alumni.
DC responded: I don't know about Jobs sitting at the SFZC zendo, rather the Los Altos zendo. All I know about Jobs and Tassajara is that Kobun brought him there one day to show it to him. I mention more about Jobs and Kobun in a piece I wrote that's at the top of the Kobun page. If anyone knows more, please let me know.
9-12-14 - John Sheehy (who's researching Reed/Zen/Lloyd Renolds) wrote the following after reading yesterday's post from Gregory MacNaughton on Kobun Chino and Steve Jobs and DC's piece on Kobun - some interesting stuff here - dc
Thanks for the link [to this page] (and Greg too ). A great write up. I especially loved the story told by Rick Fields, a dear old friend.
I've interviewed Daniel Kottke '76 about his adventures with Jobs around Reed, SFZC, and India (now on file in Reed archives--and we will eventually provide these interviews to cuke.com I hope). He denies much of what Isaacson wrote in his bio of Jobs about his practice of Zen while at Reed. They weren't meditating, but rather reading numerous spiritual books (most prominently "Be Here Now," although Steve's favorite was "Zen Mind, Beginners Mind"). Also he said that their trips together to Tassajara in the mid-70s were for the baths; and to Green Gulch once only to tour the gardens. They did not sit at SFZC. Only Los Altos.
I've also read Caleb Melby's cartoon book, The Zen of Steve Jobs, which goes into great detail about Steve's relationship to Kobun (especially regarding calligraphy). I'm trying to get in touch with Melby. It's not clear how much of his account is fictitious, and how much is based on interviews. He depicts Steve meeting Suzuki Roshi at the Los Altos zendo while a high school student in 1970, and rejecting him, responding later more to Kobun's style.
I would like to find people who had more knowledge of Steve's relationship with Kobun Chino, especially around the calligraphy and sumi painting.
Steve Jobs had been sitting at the Los Altos zendo and had taken on Kobun as a teacher. He gave Kobun a place to live on his estate. Kobun brought him to Tassajara one day(I don't think Jobs practiced there at all as it says in his bio). Kobun performed a marriage ceremony for Jobs and his fiancÚ. Bob Watkins said he once called Steve Jobs asking for some financial help for Kobun and that Jobs had said he’d only give Kobun money if he came back to live there. Bob asked Kobun why hadn’t he ever asked Jobs for money and he said it had never occurred to him.
Kobun lived with Stephanie for some years. Stephanie told me Kobun devastated her when he announced at the dinner table at Jobs’ place that he had a new love. Kobun introduced me to Katrin, his new young German wife, at Maezumi’s funeral in LA in 1995. He was smitten. She was smiling.
What Kind of Buddhist was Steve Jobs, Really? - Most interesting from Steve Silberman, but the Tassajara connection doesn't ring a bell. If you have any memories of this please write. - posted that a couple of years ago (2-15-12). - DC