Since the appearance of the epoch-making works of Rhys Davis, Kern, and
Oldenberg, the sources for the history of Buddha and Buddhism, have been greatly
increased. The accessions to our knowledge of the Pali texts are indeed chiefly
due to Rhys Davids, but this new data has never been incorporated into previous
work sets forth information that is known from records which had not, till
the publication of this book, 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 account,
but this does not touch the fundamental question: is there a concrete,
historical basis at all?