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The Buddhist Catechism, by Henry S. Olcott [1908], at

p. viii p. ix


to the

Thirty-Third Edition.

In the working out of my original plan, I have added more questions and answers in the text of each new English edition of the catechism, leaving it to its translators to render them into whichever of the other vernaculars they may be working in. The unpretending aim in view is to give so succinct and yet comprehensive a digest of Buddhistic history, ethics and philosophy as to enable beginners to understand and appreciate the noble ideal taught by the Buddha, and thus make it easier for them to follow out the Dharma in its details. In the present edition a great many new questions and answers have been introduced, while the matter has been grouped within five categories, viz.: (1) The life of the Buddha; (2) the Doctrine; (3) the Sangha, or monastic order; (4) a brief history of Buddhism, its Councils and propaganda; (5) some reconciliation of Buddhism with science. This, it is believed, will largely increase the value of the little book, and make it even more suitable for use in

p. x

[paragraph continues] Buddhist schools, of which, in Ceylon, over one hundred have already been opened by the Sinhalese people under the general supervision of the Theosophical Society. In preparing this edition I have received valuable help from some of my oldest and best qualified Sinhalese colleagues. The original edition was gone over with me word by word, by that eminent scholar and bhikkhu, H. Sumangala, Pradhâna Nâyaka, and the Assistant Principal of his Pâlî College at Colombo, Hyeyantuduve Anunayaka Terunnanse; and the High Priest has also kindly scrutinised the present revision and given me invaluable points to embody. It has the merit, therefore, of being a fair presentation of the Buddhism of the "Southern Church," chiefly derived from first-hand sources. The catechism has been published in twenty languages, mainly by Buddhists, for Buddhists.

H. S. O.

Adyar, 17th May, 1897.

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