Buddha’s insight is really deep, because modern experiments, particularly by the psychologist Delgado, have proved it beyond doubt that with one meal per day man’s life can be doubled. The more you eat the less you will live; the less you eat the longer you will live. He was trying one experiment…for thousands of times he tried, then he gave his conclusion.
He had two rows of white rats. One row was given as much food as they wanted – American way. The food was always available; they could eat as much as they want. And the second row, the way of the bhikku, had just one meal – nourishing, complete for the body. And thousands of times the experiment was tried and always the American style rats died half way. The Buddhist bhikkus lived double the time of the Americans.
So there Buddha had a deep insight: eat one time and don’t hanker for taste; otherwise you would like to eat many times.
It is known about Nero that he used to eat so many times that he had to keep four doctors with him; so when he eats they will help him vomit everything, so he can eat again. Just madness…but he was simply hankering for taste. And that was the only way; otherwise you cannot go on eating the whole day. He was eating from the morning till night when he went to bed – he was either eating or vomiting. And the doctors’ only purpose was to help him vomit easily so he could eat again.
Buddha’s insight is right. It is not self-torture. It is simply a profound insight into health, longevity – and perhaps sooner or later science will like everybody to eat only once. Of course the food should be sufficient, should have all that is needed by the body, but only once. It looks to us a little difficult, but it is only a question of habit. In Africa there are many tribes who – for thousands of years – have never eaten more than once a day. They were simply surprised when Christian missionaries reached Africa. They could not believe it: they start with tea in bed, then breakfast, then lunch, then coffee break, then supper, then dinner…and snacks here and there. They could not believe it. “What are these people doing? Are they living or simply eating?” – because they had eaten only once, and they were far more healthy and they lived longer.
They are still eating once. Their bodies are more proportionate, they live longer, they run faster just like animals, they can run like deer. And their bodies have just the proportion that people are trying to get in thousands of gymnasiums around the world. They have it without any effort, just by a single meal.
Non-violence, non-possessiveness, non-stealing, no-taste…and the fifth precept is compassion.
We live in passion – our lives are passionate. Passion is always a turmoil: ups and downs, one day good, another day bad, day follows night…. In the same way, the life of passion is continuously going into pleasure, into pain – and they are balancing each other.