¿ Can you trace the ancient Chinese roots of the sentence

吾 唯 足 知 。

In the 茶の湯 garden of 龍安寺 🇯🇵 there's a stone dubbed 蹲踞〔つくばい〕where there it's written on it :


矢  隹


and the 囗 is a basin of water. https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%81%A4%E3%81%8F%E3%81%B0%E3%81%84

  • 3
    Sorry, I don't understand the question. Are you trying to ask how 五隹止矢 is supposed to be 吾唯足知? In that case it's the central 囗 which is shared by all its surrounding characters.
    – dROOOze
    Nov 28 '20 at 21:40
  • Yes, 囗 it's shared in Tsukubai-stone. The sentence is 吾唯足知。THE QUESTION IS Where are the roots of the sentence? There's something very similar in 道德經 and maybe there is one of the roots. But 吾唯足知 is ambiguous. You can read it different directions and arbitrary: 五雉止 or 五雉足 or 吾足唯知 or even 唯吾足知 etc. The ideas of the author of the Tsukubai-stone are at least 2 and the roots maybe come not only from 老子 but from 大正新脩大藏經 very possible ... The idea is clear at first sight: “I know only to be content with poverty” 【茶屋 rustic aesthetics 詫び寂び】but there are ALSO: 五矢。 五 雉 足。 隹。 吾 知。吾足。… and more than 2 ↓
    – Routcheau
    Nov 29 '20 at 14:47
  • ... more than 2 ancient connotations. MY QUESTION IS Where are the roots/connotations of the Tsukubai-stone sentence?
    – Routcheau
    Nov 29 '20 at 14:50

Probably the variant of 知人者智、自知者明。勝人者有力、自勝者強。知足者富、強行者有志。不失其所者久。死而不亡者壽 from "Tao te ching" by Laozi.

The quote 『足るを知る者は富む』 : "He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough." is well known.

Japanese scholar says Taoism and Zen Buddhism are highly related(cf.鈴木 大拙 : Daisetzu Suzuki ), but I think ordinary Japanese people don't care about the distinction so much though.

There is also the wikipedia entry :Buddhism and Eastern religions.

  • Yes, that's my cross-reference to Lao (Thanks for the links and the adequacy!-). Is 足るを知る者は富む a proverb or known quotation?
    – Routcheau
    Nov 29 '20 at 14:58
  • I see 『足るを知る者は富む』 is Japanese for 知足者富、(I'm not Chinese or Japanese, I'm European. Thanks and excuse me for the latter question).
    – Routcheau
    Nov 29 '20 at 15:06
  • So, my Chinese teacher (my aunt) told me once that there will be few directions of reading the Tsukubai-stone: 唯 shows that 吾知足 is said by somebody (is the quotation), as I remember ... 唯 wèi is translation of एव eva in Saṅskrit. In madhyamika logic it is: Affirmative, yes; in ancient Chinese means “to answer, respond”; it can be said to interpret मात्रता mātratā, and is defined as: discrimination, decision, approval. एव and 唯are also used for “only, alone, but”. So 吾知足or 吾足知 are the saying, something like: “I agree 唯 that 吾足知 is the thing”. What are you thinking about 唯吾足知 or 唯吾知足 ¡?¿!
    – Routcheau
    Nov 29 '20 at 15:23
  • Alternative English translation:《Aware of people - learns. Self-aware - enlightens. Conquering people - possesses strength. Conquering himself - becomes strong. Conscious contentment - is to be rich. The movement of the strong it is the presence of will aspirations. You didn't lose your position - it is the ability to last. Dying, do not disappear - it is longevity.》So, the paradigm is that: awareness of the Inner is not possessing of something complemental (qualities) but being yourself a fountain (of qualities) inside out. So, 唯吾足知 appears to be something like: ↓
    – Routcheau
    Nov 29 '20 at 15:43
  • 【Yes唯, for me吾 《足知》(as 老子 said) works!!!】— How You feel this hypothesis?
    – Routcheau
    Nov 29 '20 at 15:44

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