To me the teaching of reliance on meaning instead of word is not just a warning against literal interpretation of Buddha’s teaching – that would be substituting our words for Buddha’s words. Given our deluded state of mind, I actually prefer staying with the Buddha’s words. So what gives something meaning? It seems that meaning emerges only when concepts finally meets reality and become alive. In other words, we finally recognize the reality that came before the words, that which the words are trying to express. Until you learn how to rely on meaning instead of the word, happiness, freedom, abundance, and love will remain as unattainable ideals outside of us.