Matching couplets is a branch of Asian literature which requires a penetrating and precise understanding of Chinese characters. Every Chinese character involves the three aspects of meaning, form, and sound. By skillfully using the changes of meaning, form and sound of Chinese characters, one call invent delightful word games. Although we call them "games," they are actually much more. The most valuable attribute is the profound philosophy and subtle wisdom of the meaning hidden between the lines, of the music beyond the notes played by the orchestra, containing both worldly and transcendental Dharma.
Matched couplets are similar to the Buddhadharma, in that when you only take a superficial look, you cannot perceive the wonder. But if you study the couplets word by word, you will begin to discover their fascinating qualities. This is especially true of the famous matched couplets of the past, which are so perfect that if you tried to add, take away, or change even one character, it would spoil the wonderful meaning. These examples are truly unforgettable.
Due to differences of language and culture, it is not easy for people to thoroughly understand the principle and meaning of the couplets through a literal translation of the characters into English. However, despite the difficulties of interpretation, we would still like to try our best, in the sincere hope that the study of matching couplets will be adopted in the West.
In addition to bringing the Dharma to the West, the Venerable Master has also brought the age-old heritage of Eastern culture to this young and energetic country. Thus, matching couplets, the national legacy of Chinese culture, has been brought to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.
Whenever the Venerable Master comes to the City, he will teach a class on matching couplets for the fourfold assembly of disciples. The class is scheduled from 6:00 to 7:30 A.M. in Wonderful Words Hall, but because of the enthusiasm of the assembly, the class usually continues way past the scheduled time.
As one student who has tasted the sweetness of the fruit, I have written down my feelings about the matching couplets class. Although they cannot represent the feelings of the whole assembly, I would still like to share them with all those living beings outside the City, giving them a refreshing taste of the joyful Dharma found in the matching couplets class.