Since the appearance of the epoch-making works of Rhys Davids, Kern, and Oldenberg, the sources for the history of Buddha and Buddhism, have been greatly increased. The present work attempts to set forth what is known from the records, and to utilize information that has never yet been presented in a Western forum.
It is undeniable that in the story of Buddha there has been a growth, and even in the oldest documents we can trace records of varying antiquity. In these pages an attempt has been made to distinguish the earliest accounts, but this does not touch the fundamental question: Is there a historical basis at all? The matter stands just as in the case of any historical person viz., Socrates, Muhammad, or Bonaparte. We have many records, many related facts, dates and archaeological remains, as well as the actually existing Buddhistic peoples with their systems.