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Teachers and students have long felt a need for a convenient, one-volume collection of English translations of the basic texts that have shaped the major Asian philosophical traditions. A Sourcebook in Asian Philosophy is a response to this need. Our principal aim has been to include the texts that the Asian philosophical traditions themselves have regarded as fundamental, for it is these texts that give us the greatest insight into Asian philosophies. Which texts to include was often a difficult choice, since space allowed us to include only a small fraction of the total of each tradition's foundational books. Twenty-five years of experience in teaching introductory courses in Asian philosophy and the suggestions of friends and colleagues helped us choose texts that we think are both foundational within the various Asian traditions and accessible to readers whose ideas and modes of thinking have been shaped by different intellectual traditions.
We are greatly indebted to the many scholars whose translations and interpretive studies we have used in compiling this Sourcebook. Sources of translations and especially helpful interpretive studies have been indicated at the end of the introduction to each chapter. In some cases minor modifications have been made to the translations, including correcting errors and omitting unnecessary scholarly footnotes and brackets. The introductions have been kept as brief as possible so as not to intrude on the texts themselves. Readers looking for more help in understanding the Asian philosophical traditions these texts helped shape might want to turn to John M. Koller, Oriental Philosophies, 2nd edition (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1985) or similar works, including those listed in the introductions.
Finally, we would like to express our appreciation to all the people who have supported our efforts in putting together this anthology. In particular, we would like to thank Professors Roger Ames, Russell Blackwood, Richard Lambert, Ashok Malhotra, Joel Marks, Rama Rao Pappu, and Wei-ming Tu for their helpful recommendations.
J.M. & P.K.