Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto is a Zen temple known for its stone garden. This proverb is engraved on a stone tsukubai(a bowl filled with water for washing hands before entering a tea room) in a corner of the temple grounds. In the center of the tsukubai is a square hole to store water in, around this square are four characters. From the top the four characters are engraved in a clockwise direction. The center square represents the kanji “ 口 ” (mouth) and the four characters surrounding it combine to create this phrase. This is the original form of “taru wo shiru”(knowing you have enough).” Some say that this saying came from the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu. But the Japanese accept this as the Zen teaching: “Even if they are poor, people who know they have enough are rich in spirit.” Human greed is limitless. If you get hold of some money, you will want even more. Even if you have lots of money, unless you have time to enjoy your life, that money will do you no good. Happiness isn’t about having a lot of money; it’s about the contentment you get from enjoying the many good moments in life. Even if you are poor, if you have companions who accept you for who you are and have enough time to do what you like, you’ll be happy. It could also be said that being born as a human being is a blessing in itself. It is said that many handicapped people view their disability as a positive thing and develop other abilities. “Taru wo shiru” is a saying that can teach anyone to be happy with things as they are.
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