Reading the classics.


“Every single word has its own subtle meaning”

This sign at the Da Xiang Guo Temple in Kaifeng, Henan reminds us that when we are engaged in reading the classics of antiquity, it is important to spend time carefully reading the individual meanings of each word. In Daoist, Confucian, and Buddhist documents, each individual word contains a wealth of meaning and in order to extract all of the meaning from the text, we should try to read it word by word, idea by idea, subtle meaning by subtle meaning.


Da Xiang Guo Temple was erected in 555 and has over 1400 years of history as one of the main Chan Buddhist temples in ancient China. It was featured in the Ming dynasty novel, The Journey West, and still functions as a place of self cultivation and teaching of Chan precepts.

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