Here is an outstanding work for which two eminent scholars of Chinese Buddhism separated by 2000 miles of Ocean collaborated for complete ten years, during which 'the manuscript crossed the Atlantic four times'. The authors' aim has been to provide a key for the Student with which to unlock a closed door and which does serve to reveal the riches of the great Buddhist thesaurus in China.
In the absence of a dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, it was small wonder that the translation of Chinese Texts has made Little progress, important though these are to the understanding of Mahayana Buddhism, especially in its Far Eastern development. Two main difficulties present themselves : First of all, the special and peculiar use of numerous ordinary Chinese terms, and secondly, the Large number of transliterated phrases. To explain, the Buddhist cannon in Chinese being basically translation or analogous to translation, a large number of terms existing are employed approximately to connote imported ideas, as the various Chinese translators understood those ideas. Various translators invented different terms; and even when the same term was finally adopted its connotation varied, sometimes widely, from the Chinese term or phrase as normally used by the Chinese. A difficulty equally serious is the transliteration of Sanskrit, a difficulty rendered far greater by the varied versions of many translators.
In order to overcome these difficulties a work like the present one was really needed, though the authors in all humility confess : 'It is not as perfect or complete as it might be. Nevertheless, it seems better to encourage the Study of Chinese Buddhism as early as possible by the provision of a working dictionary rather than delay the publication perhaps for years, until our ideals are satisfied : A Condition which might never be attained.