On May 11, 868, publishers in northern China printed the Diamond Sutra, which survives as the oldest dated, printed book. The manuscript was one of many discovered in the Mogao Caves of Dunhaung, China. A Daoist monk, Wang Yuanlu, discovered the so-called Dunhaung manuscripts in 1900.“Sutra” is a Sanskrit word meaning a religious teaching or sermon. Sutras are very important to Buddhism, a religion that developed in what is now India and spread to China hundreds of years before the 868 Diamond Sutra was printed. The Diamond Sutra is a teaching from the Buddha himself. The book earns its name from being as short (it can be chanted in about 40 minutes) and sharp as a diamond blade, cutting through worldly illusions.The 868 version of the Diamond Sutra is a collection of seven rectangular woodblock prints pasted together to form a scroll.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry ancient Adjective
(c. 563-483 BCE) Indian prince, spiritual leader, and founder of the Buddhist religion. Also called Prince Siddhartha and Gautama Buddha.
religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha).
to cut or slice through.
chant noun, verb
short, simple melody that is repeated as it is sung.
learned behavior of people, including their languages, belief systems, social structures, institutions, and material goods.
(also Taoist) person who follows the spiritual tradition of Daoism, outlined by Chinese philosophers Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu, emphasizing harmony, simplicity, and non-interference with natural events.
to expand or grow.
to learn or understand something for the first time.
plan or occurrence that creates a false belief.
person responsible for producing a printed or electronic set of information.
a system of spiritual or supernatural belief.
ancient language that developed around the Indian subcontinent, and the primary religious language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.
rolled-up sheet of paper or other thin material for writing.
religious teaching or lecture.
set of Buddhist religious teachings.
woodblock printing Noun
technique of transferring a design onto a surface by: cutting the design in a block of wood, inking the wood, and pressing the wood onto the surface of the item to be printed, such as cloth or paper.