The present volume contains some of the papers presented in the First International Conference on `Buddhism and National Cultures` sponsored by Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Indian Council of Historical Research, Indian National Advisory Committee on Buddhist Studies and Indian Council of Philosophical Research in collaboration with Indian Council of Social Science Research, Sahitya Academy, Sangeet Natak Academy, Lalit Kala Academy and University Grants Commission in 1984. Prominent Buddhist scholars from different parts of the world participated.
S.R. Bhatt was the Convener of Philosophy Section. Some of the papers were with him and he thought to publish them as they are very valuable contributions to Buddhist thought and culture. He has added a few more papers to make this volume more representative. His gratefulness is to all the scholars who made their rich contributions to this volume. Some of the scholars are no longer alive and he remembers them with deep gratitude.
Buddhism is multifaceted and it is at once ancient and modern. It has large number of following almost all over the world. There is an underlying unity in all its multiple manifestations. Whatever be its form and in whichever country it exists, the basic ideas and seminal concepts remain the same. In this sense it is ecumenical. It is both a view of reality and a way of life. Lord Buddha`s message of truth, peace, compassion, tolerance and co-existence is as relevant today as it was in the past. It is hoped that this volume will be informative as well as instructive to the readers.