Chapter 7: The Ten Grounds of the Way
And you can even put an alarm in your body-clock. When you are going to sleep you can repeat your own name loudly, three times. If your name is Rama, you can say, “Rama, listen. I have to get up at five o’clock. Help me.” Talk to your body and go to sleep, and exactly at five o’clock your body will wake you. The body has a clock. That’s why, every month, after exactly four weeks, twenty-eight days, the monthly period comes to a woman. The body manages very exactly unless something has gone wrong with the body - the woman may have disturbances. Otherwise, it is exactly twenty-eight days. If the clock is functioning well there will never be any problem: twenty-eight days means twenty-eight days. After nine months the body is ready to give birth to a child, exactly after nine months. If the woman is healthy and there is no complication in her body, it will happen exactly at the moment nine months are complete. The body carries a clock and functions perfectly well.
The body, of course, is measured by days. And the body shows every sign of passing time. Young, old: you can see it on the body. The body carries the whole biography.
This man’s understanding was very physical, very superficial.
The Buddha asked another monk. “How do you measure the length of a man’s life?”
The monk answered, “By the time that passes during a meal.”
His understanding goes a little deeper. He is less physical and more psychological. To enjoy a meal you need a mind, to indulge you need a mind, to be sensual you need a mind. This man’s understanding was a little deeper. What was he saying? He was saying that a man’s life is measured by the pleasures, indulgences, sensuality, experiences that he has gathered in his life. The man is saying, “How long you live is not the point, but how much you enjoy the pleasures of life.”
There is a story about Nero, the Roman emperor. He must have been of the exact same type as this second monk. He always had two physicians with him. He would eat, and the physicians would help him to vomit. Then he would eat again. You cannot go on eating; there is a limit. So when he would feel that now the stomach was full, he would order the physician to help him vomit; then he could eat again. He would eat ten, twelve times a day.
And don’t think that this is very far-fetched: I have come across a few people who do it.
There was one sannyasin: she told me this after she had been here for at least two years. She said, “I am ashamed, but I have to tell you that every day, when I eat, I vomit immediately.”
I said, “Why?”
She said, “So that I can eat more. But then I vomit again.”
Now vomiting has become a habit. Now she cannot resist; when she eats she has to vomit. It has become a mechanical habit. It took almost six months to break her habit.
Nero must have done it. Ordinarily, you may not be vomiting but you can go on eating too much. There are people who live to eat. It is good to eat, it is good to eat to live, but once you start living for eating then you are in a very confused state. Eating is a means, not the end.
This monk says, “By the time that passes during a meal.”