Before the publication of this work a comprehensive Anthology of Buddhist Texts had never before been attempted. The documents were distributed over so many languages that no one person could aim at knowing them all. More than a dozen collections of texts from the Pali Scriptures had been published and a fairly representative collection of Mahayana passages, translated by Prof. M. Winternitz, had appeared in German. But there was no corresponding publication in English for the Mahayana, and nothing in any European language for the Tantras, or for China and Japan, The over-whelming majority of the texts preserved in Sanskrit, Tibetan and the Far Eastern languages are still untranslated. Even where English translations of Mahayana texts exist, they were in most cases carried out at a time when the particular idiom of these texts was only imperfectly understood. Only in recent years has it become possible to translate accurately, and work done in the middle of the 20th century is likely to be greatly superior to anything done fifty or more years ago.
All the texts in this book have been newly translated from the originals. In this Anthology only texts are given. They have not been encumbered with notes, on the assumption that the reader can find all the explanation that may be required in Dr. Conze’s book. Considerable attention has been given to the problem of ensuring uniformity in the rendering of technical terms. A Glossary provides a list of the main terms, with their Sanskrit equivalents. In a number of eases we decided not to translate the term at all, as words such as Buddha, Dharma, Nirvana and others are likely in due course to be absorbed into the English language.