March 1, 2010

A Classic Commencement Speech: Steve Jobs (Plus, the Buddhist 4 Reminders).

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And the most important, is to have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

The Four Reminders are something we Buddhists repeat, and remind ourselves of, every day. But there’s nothing patently “Buddhist” about them—we’re basically just remembering that life is vulnerable, fragile, precious, and shouldn’t be wasted doing stupid, selfish, insincere stuff.

Four Reminders

Joyful to have
Such a human birth,
Difficult to find,
Free and well-favored.

But death is real,
Comes without warning.
This body
Will be a corpse.

Are the laws of karma;
Cause and effect
Cannot be escaped.

Is an ocean of suffering,
Unbearably intense.

Composed by the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
© 1974 by Chögyam Trungpa


I was reminded of, well, the Four Reminders by Steve Jobs’ famous 15 minute Commencement speech at Stanford a few years back. It’s hard for me to slow down enough to watch it—but I finally just did, sitting at Pekoe, watching the snow fall, thinking to myself that it’s never been my problem to walk the best of my own drummer—but rather to keep the ground of practicality beneath my feet as my head, or vision, floats inexorably into the clouds of world-domination-in-service-of-the-greater-good-and-the-present-moment.


How to Appreciate your Life, fully, Every Morning: the Buddhist Four Reminders.

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