Some two thousand years ago Buddhism experienced a major reformation through a movement called the Mahayana, or "Great Vehicle," which dominated religious thought in much of Asia for many centuries and still exerts considerable influence. The basic Mahayana texts were sermons ascribed to the Buddha, called "sutras" in Sanskrit.
The earliest and most influential of these Mahayana sutras had the "perfection of wisdom" as its main subject matter. Of these texts, the famous "Diamond" and "Heart" sutras have been known in the West for many years, but they are merely condensations of the original "Large Sutra on Perfect Wisdom" that took shape between 50 and 200 A.D.
In the present volume, Dr. Conze offers the result of thirty-five years of close study, and makes available this "Large Sutra," the key document for dealing with early Mahayana doctrine. This scripture has, through the centuries, been revered as "The great mother of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas" not only in India but in China, Tibet, Japan, Mongolia and Southeast Asia as well. It is now made available in its complete form for the first time in an annotated translation.