SuttaCentral

A SuttaCentral Podcast


#21

Looking forward to this! :heart_eyes:

I think it is a great thing to read one’s own translations aloud. For the few I have done so far I always did this, and it also helped me in fine-tuning the translation itself.


#22

Thanks for this. Now I’m finally established back home I can get into a nice routine again :slight_smile:


#23

Great, well, we’ll let you know as things evolve.


#24

This is amazing! :heart_eyes:

Sure, perhaps we can start with the Majjhima. They seem the most straightforward to adapt to podcast episodes.

Sounds good to me.

Thank you for the reminder. That sounds wonderful. Is there an mp3 with the SC theme music?

If I understood it correctly, you first need a “host” for your podcast, like Podbean. They store your audio files and allow you to create a podcast and episodes. They also give you an RSS feed for your podcast. This RSS feed can be used to distribute your podcast to popular directories like iTunes. I found this overview article about distribution:

I agree. Perhaps start with the Majjhima?


#25

I’ve been surveying the podcast world a little bit, and I’ve learned some things!

  • The ecosystem is built on RSS, so effectively you can DIY.
  • It’s pretty easy to set up on something like Jekyll. We use jekyll for our monastery website, it’s handy cause it’s just markdown files on Github.
  • That kind of system is good because we can ensure that it’s always ad-free. However
  • You still have to host the audio files somewhere.
  • Another option is to host on a podcast provider. After a bit of checking, it seems the cool kid on the block is Anchor.fm.
  • Unlimited use for free, forever.
  • Okay!
  • The catch? So far as I can see, they rely on a similar model to Lulu.com for books: they assume most creators will want to make money, then they take a cut. So it should be fine for us.
  • You can edit audio in their app, which may be okay, so long as we keep backups.

Thoughts?


#26

This is a great idea! When I was recording the voiceover for the promo video I wondered if there would be a chance to do more. I wouldn’t have access to that same engineering situation, but I’m happy to do some work in Striped Bath Towel Studios. :smiley:


#27

:heart_eyes:


#28

Thank you, I didn’t know about Jekyll or Anchor. I signed up for Anchor with username SuttaCentral and my own email address. Is there another email address we can use? After changing the email address i can PM the password to the relevant parties.

That’s nice to hear! Seems like we have quite a team! :hugs:

@Nadine, if you’d like to record a ‘welcome to the SuttaCentral podcast’ and ‘thank you for listening’ message for at the end, that would be awesome! I might know someone who could remix the SC theme music (for free), but then i’d need an mp3 of the music. Does anyone know where i can find this? It would be cool to integrate the (possibly remixed) theme music and the welcome and thank you messages.

I think it’s best to make two separate recordings for the suttaplex description of each sutta and the sutta itself and edit them together in the podcast episodes. Speaking of podcast episodes, let’s start small with one try-out episode. Is there any discourse you’d like to record first, @Viveka? Afterward, we can post the episode here to get some feedback, and take it from there.

Suggestions are welcome, as always :slight_smile:


#29

I haven’t read the whole thread but you’d be most welcome to use the doodles for this.
If you need a doodle for a specific sutta or topic, let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

I’ve uploaded some doodles in low quality because I’ve had to save bandwidth lately. If you need a better resolution, let me know.


#30

Well this is excellent!

Cool, well let’s go ahead with that. Can you assign multiple emails to the account, or how does that work?

Shouldn’t be necessary, we can ask the composer to do it!

Sounds perfect. It seems, in fact there might be a series of things;

  1. opening theme
  2. generic intro
  3. Blurb
  4. sutta
  5. generic outro
  6. closing theme.

probably each should be a separate segment?

Thx v much!


We have someone coming over today with a mic, so we might be able to do a first pass later today. It sounds like it’ll be a communal thing, with different readers, so that with be nice!

I asked Blake whether it would in principle be possible to integrate audio with our new Bilara translation engine. He said it shouldn’t be too hard, so that may be cool. The advantage there would be that we can record on a segmented basis, interspersing pali and English optionally, and adding other languages over time, much like the voice app. But this won’t happen any time soon!


#31

That’s so kind of you! Thank you!

Unfortunately not.

Okay!

I think that would be best.

Absolutely. I didn’t mention it in my first post, but I envisioned different people reading the suttas. Implicitly emphasizing how the suttas are humanity’s shared heritage.


#32

I’m completely happy to be directed by those with more experience and familiarity on a good sequence of teachings :slight_smile:
However, I did have a bit of a look, and a few from those I reviewed could possibly be suitable for a first podcast (though I have no preferences of any kind)
MN: 53 A trainee
MN: 54 Potaliya the wanderer
MN: 126 with Bumija
MN: 141 4 Noble truths
MN 146: Advice from Nandaka to the nuns
MN 147: Advice to Rahula
MN: 7 Similie of the cloth


#33

Okay, so HOLY HECKERATION YOUSE LOT!!!

You know how, a couple of posts up, I said we could maybe integrate audio recording with Bilara and get segmented audio? Then we can do cool stuff like playback of segments in real voices like on the SCV app?

Well, take a seat. It turns out we don’t need to do that at all. There is, in point of fact, an app for that:

https://www.readbeyond.it/aeneas/

Aeneas , in theory, is able to match up an audio file with the corresponding text. You end up with three things:

  • text in line by line
  • audio
  • a map file that syncs the two.

So it was a bit fiddly but i managed to install aeneas. I created a text file with the line-by-line version of a short sutta. Then I read it. Run the command, and you get the “map” file, which lists exactly where in the audio file the segment starts and stops.

And OMG, it actually works. :exploding_head:

aeneas-test.zip (1.0 MB)

Open map.json in a text editor. See how it has “begin” and “end” fields? Start the audio, and check the begin and end times for each segment: it’s spot on!

So what does this mean?

It means we can take the audio files of any reading of our segmented texts, run them through aeneas, and get the segment times. This can be used to generate distinct audio files for SCV, or any other purpose we think of. It means the real human voices can be as flexible and adaptable as the computer-generated files.

And the best thing, we don’t need the readers to do anything special. Just focus on reading well. I made the audio file in anchor with just the mic on my phone, and it works fine. We can post-process the audio files to sync with the segmented text, like super-duper easy.


#34

Gosh, it’s so neat to watch this all coming together!

A few points as I turn over the things in the pot:

Again, I was really beaming when I read the qualities you’d picked out as being most important. I think your recommendation makes a lot of sense, but I think there are perhaps some variations and related details that could be paused on:

  • Sustainability: you wouldn’t believe how much I’ve always enjoyed watching people coming together to offer what they have to inject something good into the world. Nevertheless, things take work, people have fluctuating commitments and circumstances and so on, and I’d be very hesitant to rule out a good quality, rock solid resource that would more or less guarantee we would be able to keep things rolling even in times of overly stretched human resources. Keeping in mind the ‘start simple’ principle (or re-jigging it a little to ‘keep a simple foundation’)

  • There’s more than one way to go about things: I love the idea of ‘guest readers’, and a million +1s to that. But interested in exactly the same qualities you’ve picked up on, one thought I had was to release maybe a sutta a day/week (I’ll come back to schedule) and then as a second simplicity-tier (ie. as and when possible) perhaps a fortnightly / monthly episode with two or three regulars + guest, discussing recently released suttas (perhaps some take a nerdy line, others a more ‘personal relevance’ line, others thematic, others whatever). Not a million miles away from the Second season of Dhammathreads, but maybe with a bit of a different feel. That said, this was just my first thought, and the main point I want to pause on is just it’s good to reflect on a range of the ways of achieve the qualities we’re interested in sharing.

I can definitely see the benefits of a daily release (although it amplifies the sustainability point), but I can also see some other sides too, and I think to make a call, it might be good to have an idea of who we want to include in our reach.

It can sometimes be overwhelming when you subscribe to a podcast and see there are 600 previous episodes. Of course, these are things you can jump into at any time, and so it should be, I’m just saying at least my experience has generally being pleased that I can conceivably go back and start from the beginning (this can also feed into the ‘listener around friends’ point as you get to see how ‘your friends’ have evolved right from the start). Going a little slower maybe particularly relevant at an early point, while we’d be aiming to find an audience, giving more people more time to hop on from the start.

Also, again, maybe it’s just my experience, but I think there’s something in a measured release. With a couple of podcasts I’m particularly fond of, I look forward to the release day. I Enjoy not having the podcast because it supports my enjoyment of its eventual release. And again, it’s something I feel I can keep up with.

That said, once more, I stress how much I see the value of daily releases, know how great things like the Buddhist Breakfast corner (or whatever it’s called) is, and really recognize it can be a great support to have Dhamma delivered daily like this.

Quite so! Quite so! Thank you so much for kicking this all off and inspiring everyone like this.

One team oriented question I have, is with all of this wonderful variety of inputs and voices and such, I have the idea that it might be good to designate a specific producer/co-producers roles. Nothing so major or anything, but just to help unify everything into a cohesive, delivered product.


#35

It would be such a gift to hear human voices reading the suttas. I would also love to hear people having a short, live dialog about a sutta before playing it. Those introductory dialogs would “fast forward” listeners to a contemporary context and provide a familar and comfortable question/answer framework for understanding.

Q: Bhante Sujato, welcome to SuttaCentral Podcasts!
A: Thank you, Robbie, it’s good to be here. What do you have for us today?
Q: We have a question about the root of suffering and what it means for all the suffering we see in the world today…
A: Oh crikey, there are so many things to say here…

:pray:


#36

Well well, I’ve been going over Ajahn Brahmalis pali pronunciation classes and discovered something quite wonderful :smiley:
My cultural heritage is Latvian (Indo-European language), and the grammar and phonetic structure appear to be almost identical. Latvian also has 3 genders and 8 cases, (as well as all the complicated declensions etc etc). Who would have thought that sitting through 12 years of Latvian School on the weekends would have such a lovely application today :smiley: I do love the many wonderful facets of Kamma :anjal:


#37

More for the mix:

Yes, indeed, it would be! At the same time, while so excited about all the new voices coming forward, I feel it’s not irrelevant to note that we shouldn’t necessarily take “human voice = better” as an assumed value. It will be better for many, but not necessarily others. As I have articulated elsewhere, for me personally, I prefer to listen to SCV’s Raveena above any human voice I’ve yet heard because I like its ‘personality-light’ quality and find that it helps me listen to the sutta and not the voice. Just speaking for myself, the greatest value humans bring is in the sharing of experience and understanding.

That said, it’s not an either/or thing, it’s wonderful to have both resources. However, one thing I would suggest, is that maybe it would be sensible to maximize our resources. The core of SCV is built on the segmented Pali texts. In a stroke of brilliance, Karl extended that to other Pali texts (so eg. I can listen to a translation by Bhikkhu Bodhi if it’s available on SC, as well as Bhante Sujato’s) and I can’t say how delighted I am he made this decision. But SCV does only cover Pali texts/translations. By my count there are 490 English translations of Agama texts, and to me it would add even more value to use human voices to start making some of these available to listen to as well, rather than in a way duplicate what already exists.

Another other floating item:

I was having a look at Anchor to see if they have any kind of ‘channel’ facility that would enable ‘shoot off series’. One podcast I thought worked very well was 50 Things That Made The Modern Economy. As indicated by the title, it was designed as a contained series that ended after 50 (well, 53, in fact) episodes. Still thinking of my “keep things manageable for the listener” point above, this might be a nice way to handle say a series on the Majjhima, or a theme or whatever under a broader umbrella of something like a “SC Sounds” channel. The one snag with this is that Anchor doesn’t work like that, and they encourage setting up multiple accounts. Of course, with proper, unified branding it should be pretty easy to create a channel-like effect.

One thing of particular attraction to me with the series idea is to essentially, eventually produce audio books for each of the 4 Nikayas. It was something I was actually going to ask Karl about with respect to the development of SCV, but maybe this would be a better way. I know that it’s a bit pathetic, but as I mentioned in some old thread on approaches to reading the Samyutta, much as in theory I’d love to read it (or one of the others) from cover to cover, my funny little mind just can’t cope with it. Now with SCV, that possibility has been opened up for me.

And ending on something completely random, in terms of human readings, has anyone already wondered about doing them with multiple voices (ie, a narrator—or “Ananda” I guess—and individual characters)?


SuttaCentral Voice v1.0.0 Released :heart_eyes:
#38

Thank you Viveka, these all sound like excellent suggestions to me.

This is amazing news. I can already imagine a ‘switch to human narrator’ button on SCV. IMO, segmented translations are one of the most promising developments in Early Buddhism. I hope other translators and academics will follow suit, eg a segmented translation of the Chinese āgamas. It paved the way for SCV and SCP and I suspect it will pave the way for more in the future.

Absolutely. You’re right to point this out, and i’m totally on board with human-AI hybrid episodes (or even AI episodes). As long as it’s not an all-AI podcast I think we are good :).

Thank you for sharing your experience. That more or less explicates, and solidifies, my intuition that we should start with one “sutta” episode/week (in addition to potential “discussion” episodes). One think i’d like to add is that there’s really no hurry, something also encapsulated in Bhante Sujato’s ‘start small and build up’ principle.

I love this idea! Brings the discourses ‘closer to home,’ allows for extra depth, gives an additional fortnightly/monthly date to look forward to…

I can give it a shot! If anyone would like to co-produce the episodes with me that would be wonderful.

I’m still waiting for season 3…

I’d be way too shy to be on air! :flushed: However, these dialogs seem a great fit with fortnightly/monthly “discussion” episodes.

This is a good point, and possibly a reason to favor Jekyll over Anchor while we’re still uncommitted…

:heart_eyes: Imagine a Therīgāthā audiobook!

Thanks everyone for their suggestions and input. It feels like we’re on our way to something amazing which will benefit a lot of people. I’m humbled to be part of this.


#39

And therefore an excellent practice. :rofl:


#40

I would be happy to!

@Robbie would I be able to do basically what Bhante mentions in the below quote?