Preface

1 September 2550

The present volume is a collection of my Buddhist writings in English on different occasions over a span of some twenty-five years.

Upon learning that although some of the writings were already published, their circulation was confined to a relatively narrow circle of readers, while others were still unpublished, Dr. Somseen Chanawangsa,
Fellow of the Royal Institute of Thailand, came up with the idea of gathering them into a single volume for ease of reference.

Here is a brief account of their sources:

The first paper, “Peace Through Freedom and Happiness,” was the acceptance speech delivered in Paris on the occasion of receiving the UNESCO’s Prize for Peace Education on December 20, 1994.

The second paper, “Foundations of Buddhist Social Ethics” was originally entitled “Foundations of Buddhist Social Ethics in Contemporary Thailand” and subsequently published in Thailand under the title “Social Dimension of Buddhism in Contemporary Thailand.” It was a commissioned paper presented on June 19, 1981, at the “Moral Values in Comparative Perspective” conference, which was sponsored by the Berkeley/Harvard Cooperative Program in Comparative Religion, and held at the Graduate Theological Union, UC Berkeley, June 17–20, 1981. The essay then appeared as the sole chapter of the first section in Ethics, Wealth and Salvation: A Study in Buddhist Social Ethics, edited by Russell F. Sizemore and Donald K. Swearer, and published by the University of South Carolina Press in 1989. Also included in the present collection is the original volume editors’ section introduction.

The third paper, “Tradition and Change in Thai Buddhism,” was published as a Perspectives article in Harvard University’s Center for the Study of World Religions Bulletin for the Fall of 1981. It was the keynote address delivered on Wednesday, May 27, 1981, for the Center’s First Annual Associates’ Day, the subject of which was “Buddhism in Southeast Asia, Prospects and Dilemmas.”

The next three papers (4–6) were prepared during my teaching at Harvard University in the spring term of 1981. They were handouts for the course entitled “History of Religion 178. Contemporary Buddhism in
South East Asia: The Sangha in Thailand.” offered by the Divinity School, which was the same course offered by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, but under the title “Religion 178. Contemporary Buddhism in
South East Asia: The Sangha in Thailand.” The course was taught by Professor Donald K. Swearer while a portion of sessions was exclusively set aside for me as a visiting scholar and guest lecturer at the University’s Center for the Study of World Religions. These handouts were given to students during my own sessions. They are as follows:

The seventh paper, “Applications and Meanings of the Term Dhamma,” was originally prepared as a handout for the Pali class at Vajiradhammapadip Temple in New York in 1977.

The next three papers (8–10) were handouts given to students at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, in 1976. They are as follows:

The next three papers (11–13) were prepared for the Confrontation of Cultures Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s University Museum, April 5–May 4, 1972. They are as follows:

The last paper, “Some Basic Concepts of Buddhism,” first appeared as a short article in the Dhammaduta Magazine, Vol. 1 (January–March 2502) issued in Bangkok in 1969 by the Training Institute for Dhammaduta Going Abroad.

Although varied in scope and content, these papers, some of which have been slightly revised for accuracy, clarity and consistency, should hopefully contribute to a better understanding of Buddhist teachings in general and Thai Buddhism in particular.

I hereby would like to thank Dr. Somseen Chanawangsa for his efforts in putting together all these writings in book form and getting the volume published.
 Bhikkhu P. A. Payutto
 (Phra Brahmagunabhorn)
 September 2007

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