This book is meant to provide basic information about Buddhism for students and others who have personal interest. It was especially designed as an aid for readers of the publications of the Buddhist Text Translation Society (BTTS), and the larger portion of the material presented consists of selections from BTTS publications. It is not meant as a scholarly tool, (although scholars are certainly welcome to read and use it).
The book is arranged in dictionary format and contains information on basic Buddhist concepts and Buddhist lists. It can be used as a Reference when reading Buddhist texts, and it can also function as an Introduction to Buddhism. (See the “List of Introductory Readings” below.)
Buddhism A to Z is by no means all-inclusive. For instance, very little historical information is provided. The most basic important terms and lists are found in it, but from time to time the reader will fail to find what he or she is looking for. In those cases, the “Some Standard Reference Works Including Buddhist subjects” contains information about standard Reference works that will almost certainly be of use. References to non-Buddhist text translation Society publications were initially also planned for inclusion; however, it was decided that since that information can be readily located in the standard Reference works, it would be omitted here.
The following conventions have been adopted: All quotations from Canonical works have been indented ten spaces. Quotations not indented and indicated by quotation marks are from modern works. In quotations from Canonical works, if the speaker is not indicated, it is the Buddha Shakyamuni. In modern works, if the speaker is not indicated, it is the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, ninth Patriarch of the Wei Yang Chan lineage and founder and chairperson of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association.
Buddhism A to Z is by no means a finished work. Because of pressures to make it available, it has been decided to publish it in this preliminary form. The reader is cordially invited to participate in the development of the work for future editions by offering suggestions for its improvement and by providing information about errors and inaccuracies. Although many members of the BTTS have kindly contributed their suggestions and made corrections, the errors that remain are solely my responsibility.