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 neighbors. And the neighbors 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 confess.
He would never say, ‘I have not stolen.’
Finally the neighbors 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….’
Source: ” Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 2 ” ~ Osho