The translation of Erich Frauwallner’s Die Philosophie des Buddhismus, first published in 1956, opens up a classic introduction to Buddhist thought to a broader English language readership. The book covers the period of early canonical literature with examples of its philosophically relevant ideas, followed by the principal philosophical concepts of systematic Sravakayana Buddhism. In the main part of the book, Frauwallner presents the first survey of the development of the philosophical systems of Mahayana Buddhism. He was well aware of the limitations in presenting only the Buddhist philosophy of the “classical”, i.e., the systematic period, and does not seem to have been ready to add the philosophically creative new postsystematic tradition of Buddhist epistemology and logic, a major subject of his subsequent years of research.
Frauwallner’s way of translating was straightforward: to remain as close as possible to the original text while presenting it in a clear and readable way in order to convey an accurate impression of its meaning. For technical terms in the source materials he maintained a single translation even when various meanings were suggested. For clarity regarding such variations of meaning he relied on the context and his explanation.
The same approach was taken by the translator of the present book. Although his translation attempts to be faithful to the 1994 edition of Die Philosophie des Buddhismus, he inserted helpful additional headlines into the text and considerably enlarged the index. All other additions by the translator are given within square brackets. Besides this, he created an Appendix, which contains one of Frauwallner’s more important articles “Amalavijnana and Alayavijnana” (1951) to complement the long Yogacara section of the book, a bibliography of selective publications after 1969. The URLs for many of the source materials were also conveniently provided.