In fact that is what we are doing. It is all ours and we are in subtle ways stealing. It does not mean that you have to steal money or you have to steal things; you can steal thoughts, you can steal words. All your knowledge is stolen. It is not something that you have discovered, it is something you have picked up – from here, from there. Then, without thinking twice, with a straight face, you say to the world, “This is my opinion.” It is not your opinion! You are not even aware of yourself – what opinion can you have? So all this is part of stealing.
The fourth is no-taste. It became a torture, but it was not meant so. A man of the sensibilities of Gautam Buddha cannot make it a self-torture. His idea of no-taste was simply not to hanker after taste. Food is for nourishment of the body; taste is secondary – don’t make it primary. Secondly, his disciples were all monks; they had to beg. And he was a very careful man. He never wanted his people to become a burden on the society. If they start asking, “We want this, we want that…please prepare this dish for tomorrow when I come to beg,” then they will be heavy and burdensome.
He made it a rule: don’t ask from just one house. Your one meal – and the Buddhist monk was to eat only one meal – your one meal has to come from five houses. He was simply trying to spread the burden, otherwise…he was moving with ten thousand bhikkus, his disciples, wherever he was going, and it would have been really troublesome if the ten thousand bhikkus had come into a small town – which may not have had the population of ten thousand – and they started asking for their preferences. The poor people of the town would be in a difficulty.
Buddha’s whole effort about no-taste was that you should never be unwelcome wherever you go. People should know that out of compassion you go to five houses – just for a single meal. He denied more than one meal. It looks to us that it is asceticism, that it is self-torture. Even in the poorest countries, people need at least two meals. In richer countries like America people are eating five times or as many times as they go and visit the fridge…the whole day. It is not a question of times.
There are thirty million people in America today who are dying because of over-eating. They know that this over-eating is killing them, but they cannot stop it. It is just like being an alcoholic; they have become so addicted, that they need something. If they have nothing then at least they chew gum, so their mouth goes on and on. In a way it is good; otherwise they would talk – yakkety yak, yakkety yak – because somehow they have to go on using their mouth. Their talking is just a substitute. Chewing gum keeps them silent at least!