印順法師是當代最具有影響力的佛教思想家，他撰寫《中國古代民族神話與文化之研究》一書雖屬意外，但並非純屬偶然，其中關涉到印順個人研究佛學的內在思想底蘊，故頗值吾人留意。本文撰寫目的之一，是想透過印順對佛教中的傳說與神話的理解與運用，來觀察佛門中傳說與神話的地位與演變。 本文歸納印順著作中有關傳說（神話）的敘述，分為如下七項：1.有關釋尊傳記的傳說，2.有關佛教聖典結集的傳說，3.原始及部派佛教聖典結集傳說，4.有關大乘佛法的傳說，5.有關阿育王、法滅及四大聲聞住世傳說，6.有關器世間的傳說，以及7.中國佛教史上的傳說等。 綜結本文研究發現：1.印順對於佛教聖典傳說的態度，基本上是採用說一切有部對傳說的看法。說一切有部主流－阿毘達磨者，對於傳說、文頌，採批判態度，而非一律看作是事實。2.印順對於佛教傳說的基本態度，早在撰寫《佛法概論》的1940 年代即已確立。3.由於印順對於佛教傳說所採取的理性看法，難免影響他對大乘佛法的評價。4.在佛法研究上，印順有著明顯的「主智論」色彩，在看待佛典上，印順的理智傾向，是超乎信仰層面的。這由他對待佛教中的傳說（神話）之態度上，可以明顯的看出。
Master Yin Shun was the most influential Buddhist thinker in modern China. His book Zhongguo gudai minzu shenhua yu wenhua zhi yanjiu (A study of China’s ancient mythologies and culture) is rather different from most of his other writings most of which deal with Buddhist thoughts only. However, it can shed some light on the Master's reflections on Buddhism. The purpose of this paper is to understand how the Master appreciated and utilized ancient legends and mythologies in the Buddhist tradition, and how they were received and changed in the course of time. There are seven sections: 1. legends on the biographies of Shakymuni; 2. legends on the compilation of Buddhist scriptures; 3. legends on the compilation of Buddhist scriptures during the first and the second stages; 4. legends on Mahayana Buddhism; 5. legends on King Asoka, on the destruction of dharma, and the staying of the four great Hinayana monks; 6. legends on the mundane world; 7. legends in the history of Chinese Buddhism. The results of the present study are as follows: 1. Yin Shun adopted the view of the Mulasarvastivadha on the issue of legends and mythologies. Abhidharma-the greatest theory of the Mulasarvastivadha-took a critical attitude towards the legends, rather than treating them as facts or truths. 2. Yin Shun's attitude toward Buddhist legends was firmly established as early as in his Fofa gailun (An introduction to Buddhism) in the 1940s. 3. Yin Shun's rational view on Buddhist legends greatly influenced his evaluation of Mahayana Buddhism. 4. Yin Shun was predominantly a rationalist. His rationalism overrides his religious belief. This is inferred from his evaluation of Buddhist legends and mythologies.