Source on "enough"

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Source on "enough"

Postby Jikan » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:32 pm

A friend asked me a question by email that is above my pay grade:

A student of mine quoted something in reference to a famous symbol on Ryoanji Temple which basically means, "I only know what is eough." He said the symbol was based on the last teaching of the Buddha before he died. He quoted that teaching as, “You Bhikku! If you want to escape from suffering, you have to comprehend the realization of enough. The basis of realizing enough is comfort and peace. The one who realizes enough would be comfortable even if he slept on the ground. The one who does not realize enough would be uncomfortable even if he were in palace. The one who does not realize enough would be poor even if he were rich. The one who realizes enough would be rich even if he were poor. That is called realizing enough.”


Any ideas on which sutra this quotation may have come from? I had guessed the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, but I'm not sure this is so.
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Re: Source on "enough"

Postby Huifeng » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:52 pm

Considering the whole East Asian angle on it, my guess would be that "know enough" is from 知足 zhīzú; which is from Skt "saṃtuṣṭi". Really, would be better translated as "knowing contentment".

Often comes in the form 少欲知足 "of few desires, knowing contentment", which is a very common phrase, eg.

《中阿含經》卷2〈1 七法品〉:「自少欲.知足。稱說少欲.知足。」(CBETA, T01, no. 26, p. 430, a10);

Compare M. 24. Rathavinīta-sutta (MN i 145): "attanā ca appiccho appicchakathañca bhikkhūnaṃ kattā, attanā ca santuṭṭho santuṭṭhikathañca bhikkhūnaṃ kattā..."

In Bodhi's translation of MN, pg. 240): "Having few wishes himself, he talks to the bhikkhus on fewness of wishes; content himself, he talks to the bhikkhus on contentment."

As for which sutra that actual quote comes from, not entirely sure at this point.

~~ Huifeng
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Re: Source on "enough"

Postby Jikan » Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:30 pm

Thank you, Ven. Huifeng! This is very helpful.
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Re: Source on "enough"

Postby Jikan » Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:49 pm

Evidently, this is how it looks in Japanese:

吾唯足るを知る
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Re: Source on "enough"

Postby Huifeng » Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:53 am

Jikan wrote:Evidently, this is how it looks in Japanese:

吾唯足るを知る


Maybe, but I suspect that what you have here needs to be seen from another angle, where it is quickly revealed to be more about a play on Chinese characters, than an attempt at a translation or straight Buddhist saying or term. The play is around the 口 radical, which forms part of each of four characters arranged in a circle.

吾唯知足

Image

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Re: Source on "enough"

Postby Jikan » Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:34 pm

Thank you for your continued help, Ven. Huifeng!
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Re: Source on "enough"

Postby PorkChop » Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:16 am

Huifeng wrote:
Jikan wrote:Evidently, this is how it looks in Japanese:

吾唯足るを知る


Maybe, but I suspect that what you have here needs to be seen from another angle, where it is quickly revealed to be more about a play on Chinese characters, than an attempt at a translation or straight Buddhist saying or term. The play is around the 口 radical, which forms part of each of four characters arranged in a circle.

吾唯知足

Image

~~ Huifeng


While I don't doubt that you are probably right about the play on radicals, 足るを知る (たるをしる taru wo shiru) is a pretty stock phrase meaning "to know one has enough; to be satisfied with one's lot in life".
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