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This is the Ryōan-ji tsukubai .The kanji written on the surface of the stone are without significance when read alone. If each is read in combination with 口 , which the central bowl is meant to represent, then the characters become 吾, 唯, 足, 知. This is read as "ware, tada taru shiru" and translates literally as "I only know enough" (吾= I, 唯 = merely, 足 = be sufficient, 知 =know).

Fine Art Americafrom Fine Art America

Shishi-odoshi - Japanese Deer Scarer Canvas Print / Canvas Art by Matt Dobson

Japanese Deer Scarer

Purification fountains can be found everywhere in modern Japan, including private gardens, homes, and businesses. At all Shinto shrines, worshippers and casual visitors are asked to purify themselves (Harai ) of impurity before praying to the Shinto deities. The act of cleansing is called Misogi, and the actual washing of hands and mouth with water is called Temizu. An associated term is Imi, meaning "abstention from defilement." Most large shrines have a stone wash basin where worshippers…