The Buddhist Catechism is an invaluable textbook for those wishing to familiarize themselves with the basic principles of Buddhism. Since its first edition in 1881 it has been published in more than twenty languages, mainly by Buddhists for Buddhists, and was widely used in the Buddhist educational movement which Col. H.S.Olcott established in Ceylon(now Sri Lanka)
The book is constructed in an easy to follow question-answer form, together with an appendix which outlines the fourteen fundamental Buddhistic tenets. The fourteen items were accepted as fundamental in both the Southern and Northern sections of Buddhism by authoritative committees to whom they were submitted by the author personally.
The unpretending aim in view is to give so succinct and yet comprehensive a digest of Buddhistic history, ethics and philosophy as to enable beginners to understand and appreciate the noble ideal taught by the Buddha and thus make it easier to them to follow out the Dharma in its details .
From the preface to the Thirty-third Edition by Henry S. Olcott