This term refers to a method to carry out translation and interpretation using Chinese thought for the Buddhist doctrines. During the Wei, Jin, and the Southern and Northern Dynasties period, when a large quantity of Buddhist scriptures was translated and introduced, Buddhist thought was completely unfamiliar for the Chinese world. The Chinese people, who were keen on the law of Buddha, tried to fathom the meaning of the Buddhist scriptures. They borrowed the vocabulary of the scriptures of Laozi, Zhuangzi, etc. The concepts and even ideas of these scriptures were appended. They developed their argumentation and that was called “matching meanings.” “Matching” takes the meaning of measuring. So this period was also called the Buddhist period of matching meanings. “Matching meanings” is a kind of method of interpretation. It is an interpretation of Buddhism from the standpoint of Chinese thought, constructing a system of thought of Buddhism in the world of the Chinese. Therefore, it has produced a fundamental influence in the sinification of Buddhism.
Then, Zhu Faya, Kang Falang and others matched the doctrines in foreign texts with the original concepts in Chinese classics, and gave instances to bring about the meaning for people to understand them. It was called “matching meanings.” Later, monks like Pifu and Xiangtan also used the method of “matching meanings” to instruct their disciples. (Biographies of Eminent Monks)