Zen Master in Jail
Osho : A Zen master had been put into jail several
times.... Now a step further! These Zen people are really eccentric people,
mad people – but they do beautiful things.
A Zen master had been put into jail several times.... Now, it is one thing
to forgive a thief, it is one thing not to think that he is bad, it is
another thing to go to jail oneself. And not once, many times – for stealing
small things from his neighbours. And the neighbours knew, and they were
puzzled: Why does this man steal? and such small things. But the moment he
would be out of prison he would steal again, and he would go back. Even the
judges were worried. But they had to send him to jail, because he would
He would never say, ’I have not stolen.’
Finally the neighbours gathered together, and they said, ’Sir, don’t steal
any more. You are getting old, and we are ready to provide you with all that
you need – all your necessities, whatsoever it is. You stop this! We are
very much worried, and we are very sad. Why do you go on doing this?
And the old man laughed. And he said, ’I steal in order to get in with the
prisoners, and bring them the inner message. Who will help them? Outside,
for you prisoners, there are many masters. But inside the jail there is no
master. Who will help them, you tell me?
This is my way to get in and help
those people. So when my punishment is over and I am thrown out, I have to
steal something and go back again. I am going to continue this. And I have
found there in jail such beautiful souls, such innocent souls – sometimes
far MORE innocent....’
Once it happened, one of my friends became a governor of a state in India,
and he allowed me to go into jails all over his state. And I went for years,
and I was surprised. The people who are in jails are far more innocent than
the politicians in New Delhi, than the rich people, than the so-called
saints. I know almost all the saints of this country.
They are more cunning.
I have found in the criminals such innocent souls.... I can understand this
old Zen master’s idea – of stealing, of getting caught, and bringing the
message to them. ’I steal in order to get in with the prisoners and bring
them the inner message.’
Source: " Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 2 " - Osho