Concept & Reality—Introduction

Concept and Reality came out as my first book in 1971, published by the Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy. As indicated in my Preface to the First Edition, the work had its origin in the academic atmosphere of a University but took its final shape in the sylvan solitude of a Hermitage. Though it has gone through several reprints unrevised, I take this opportunity to bring out a revised edition, as the DGMB is now prepared to include it among its ‘pure Dhamma-dāna’ publications.

I was thirty when I wrote the book. Forty eventful years have passed, during the course of which I have dealt in detail elsewhere on many of the salient points discussed in this book. However, I do not wish to expand the present edition by incorporating all that material, as it might confuse the readers already familiar with the original edition. Instead, I shall limit myself to a few alterations and corrections of misprints.

The title Concept and Reality might be a poser to those acquainted with Western philosophy. It must be emphasized that this work does not subscribe to the dichotomy between concept and reality as envisaged by modern philosophers. The Buddha’s Middle Path steers clear of such extreme notions in its recognition of the Relative Validity and the Pragmatic Value of concepts. The world has yet to learn from the chimerical pursuit of ‘reality’ by modern philosophers and nuclear physicists alike. In this respect, Concept and Reality is more relevant to the times today than when it was written forty years ago.

In this hectic electronic age, very few care to venture beyond ads and keywords. I do not propose to update this work to suit the tastes of this age of haste and waste. Let genuine interest be the ‘mouse’, and radical attention the ‘cursor’ for the readers of this volume. Let them traverse the dark corridors of ignorance with the lamp of Wisdom in their quest for ‘Reality’.

I feel morally obliged to grant permission to the Buddhist Publication Society to continue publishing this work and four of my other books which they have been publishing for decades. Although the B.P.S. is not prepared to toe our pure-Dhamma-dāna line, I do hope and trust that it will in future make available these five books to their readers at least at a much reduced price in deference to our pure-Dhamma-dāna ideal.

Bhikkhu Kaṭukurunde Ñāṇananda
Pothgulgala Āranyāya
‘Pahan Kanuwa’
Kandegedara Devalegama

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