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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
ancient
Adjective

very old.

Buddha
Noun

(c. 563-483 BCE) Indian prince, spiritual leader, and founder of the Buddhist religion. Also called Prince Siddhartha and Gautama Buddha.

Buddhism
Noun

religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha).

carve
Verb

to cut or slice through.

chant
noun, verb

short, simple melody that is repeated as it is sung.

culture
Noun

learned behavior of people, including their languages, belief systems, social structures, institutions, and material goods.

Daoist
Adjective

(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.

develop
Verb

to expand or grow.

discover
Verb

to learn or understand something for the first time.

illusion
Noun

plan or occurrence that creates a false belief.

manuscript
Noun

written material.

publisher
Noun

person responsible for producing a printed or electronic set of information.

religion
Noun

a system of spiritual or supernatural belief.

Sanskrit
Noun

ancient language that developed around the Indian subcontinent, and the primary religious language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

scroll
Noun

rolled-up sheet of paper or other thin material for writing.

sermon
Noun

religious teaching or lecture.

survive
Verb

to live.

sutra
Noun

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.

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