Bilara blurbs

Anagarika Sabbamitta and I were discussing where to put blurbs in Bilara. In the following, we propose that they belong with the comments.

A blurb is a comment about a translation. It is not what the Buddha said. A blurb is just an annotation of the translation. And although a blurb will be translated to different languages, it is still not what the Buddha said. This means that blurbs should be separate from the translation JSON files.

Blurbs should not be searched with the same priority as translations. Taking a legal analogy, blurbs are closer to “hearsay” than “witness” testimony and should be given corresponding lower priority. This separation of concerns leads to the conclusion that blurbs should be in a separate folder independent from translations. Such a folder exists in bilara-data. It is called “comments”.

It is possible and convenient to treat a blurb as a “virtual segment”. Segments organize the elements of a sutta, so a blurb can just fit in with the other segments as follows:

    "an1.1:blurb": "...Deutsche blurb..."
    "an1.1:3.2": "...Deutsche comment about an1.1:3.2"

And the above JSON would logically reside within the existing comment hierarchy at:



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Perhaps rather:



So there would be different folders for different languages and different translators. The “en” folder would also have another folder with comments by Ajahn Brahmali on his Vinaya translations, called bilara-data/comments/en/brahmali/pli-tv/pli-tv-bi-vb/pli-tv-bi-vb-np/pli-tv-bi-vb-np10_comment-en-brahmali.json for example.

And then there would still be a Portuguese folder, etc.

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Blake, Bhante and I just had a quick conversation in Gitter. Blake suggests:


Therefore German blurbs would be:


And that single JSON file has ALL the blurbs for DN.

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The structure of dn-blurbs_root-de.json would be:

      "dn": "The Long Discourses (Dīgha Nikāya, abbreviated DN) is a collection of 34 discourses in the Pali canon (Tipiṭaka) of the Theravāda school. The word “long” refers to the length of the individual discourses, not the collection as a whole, which is in fact the smallest of the five Pali Nikāyas. It is one of the fundamental collections of early Buddhist teachings, depicting the Buddha in a lively range of settings. Compared to other collections it contains more extended narratives in diverse literary styles. Many discourses feature interreligious dialog with brahmins and other non-Buddhists. This collection parallels the Dīrghāgama (DA) of the Dharmaguptaka school, which is the first text in the Taishō edition of the Chinese canon. Several uncollected suttas in Chinese and Sanskrit also belong to this collection. Two-thirds of a Dīrghāgama from the Sarvāstivāda school has been found, but only small portions have been published.",
      "dn-silakkhandhavagga": "The Chapter Containing the Section on Ethics (Sīlakkhandhavagga) is a chapter of 13 discourses. Each of these contains a long passage on the Gradual Training in ethics, meditation, and wisdom. The chapter is named after the first of these sections. The two other known versions of the Dīrghāgama (in Chinese and Sanskrit) also contain a similar chapter. Despite the monastic nature of the central teaching, most of these discourses are presented in dialog with lay people, with a strong emphasis on the relation between the Buddha’s teachings and other contemporary movements.",
      "dn-mahavagga": "This chapter contains a diverse range of discourses. Several focus on the events surrounding the Buddha’s death, while others range into fabulous scenarios set among the gods, and still others are grounded in detailed discussions of doctrine.",
      "dn-pathikavagga": "Like the previous chapter, this contains a diverse range of discourses. It is named after the first discourse in the chapter. Among the discourses here are legendary accounts of the history and future of our world, which are extremely famous and influential in Buddhist circles.",
      "dn1": "While others may praise or criticize the Buddha, they tend to focus on trivial details. The Buddha presents an analysis of 62 kinds of wrong view, seeing through which one becomes detached from meaningless speculations.",
      "dn2": "The newly crowned King Ajātasattu is disturbed by the violent means by which he achieved the crown. He visits the Buddha to find peace of mind, and asks him about the benefits of spiritual practice. This is one of the greatest literary and spiritual texts of early Buddhism.",
      "dn3": "A young brahmin student attacks the Buddha’s family, but is put in his place.",
      "dn4": "A reputed brahmin visits the Buddha, despite the reservations of other brahmins. They discuss the true meaning of a brahmin, and the Buddha skillfully draws him around to his own point of view.",
      "dn5": "A brahmin wishes to undertake a great sacrifice, and asks for the Buddha’s advice. The Buddha tells a legend of the past, in which a king is persuaded to give up violent sacrifice, and instead to devote his resources to supporting the needy citizens of his realm. However, even such a beneficial and non-violent sacrifice pales in comparison to the spiritual sacrifice of giving up attachments.",
      "dn6": "The Buddha explains to a diverse group of lay people how the results of meditation depend on the manner of development.",
      "dn7": "This discourse is mostly quoted by the Buddha in the previous.",
      "dn8": "The Buddha is challenged by a naked ascetic on the topic of spiritual austerities. He points out that it is quite possible to perform all kinds of austere practices without having any inner purity of mind.",
      "dn9": "The Buddha discusses with a wanderer the nature of perception and how it evolves through deeper states of meditation. None of these, however, should be identified with a self or soul.",
      "dn10": "Shortly after the Buddha’s death, Venerable Ānanda is invited to explain the core teachings.",
      "dn11": "The Buddha refuses to perform miracles, explaining that this is not the right way to inspire faith. He goes on to tell the story of a monk whose misguided quest for answers led him as far as Brahmā.",
      "dn12": "A brahmin has fallen into the idea that there is no point...

@Blake @Sujato, unless you have objections, I will transfer and split the existing blurb.json according to the above next week

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Sure, I’m happy so long as you and Blake are happy.


Blake are you happy? :grin:


I would note that blurbs can be very useful to help searching for suttas.

Please allow search to “crawl” through it?

@marco and I look forward to translating those later in our project of translating Pali Nikayas to Portuguese.


Yes. Voice currently searches blurbs. What Anagarika Sabbamitta and I have discussed is searching blurbs implicitly when the other search mechanisms return nothing. There is currently a hierarchy of searches: 1) phrase search, 2) keyword search. The third in the hierarchy would be blurb search. We’re also introducing tri-lingual search in v1.8, which would allow a search for a Portuguese segmented sutta by using Pali, English or Portuguese. The search algorithm automatically determines the search language from what you type.

BTW, do you know when the Portuguese segmented four nikayas might start showing up in bilara-data?


Gotcha. Good work.
I don’t know when it will be moved to Bilara.
As @marco and I are still progressing with it in Pootle I would say that only when Bilara is ready to be used, which I assume is not happening anytime soon.
Given we are working on it almost on a daily basis I would suggest only move it to Bilate when it is fully stable and ready to fully replace Pootle.


Ah. OK. Holler if you need help importing Pootl files into bilara-data. We’re importing Anagarika’s Deutsch files. And Anagarika Sabbimitta has found that trilingual search has helped her translations. To be clear, she’s using Sublime Text and a command line search from scv-bilara, but not Bilara itself just yet.

However, if you’re happy with Pootl, there’s no hurry to convert.

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Yep, let’s not hurry. I quite like Pootle actually.


Understandably so! If it works it’s fantastic!! :slightly_smiling_face:


@blake, @sujato, @sabbamitta

sc-data blurbs have been imported into bilara-data and split into individual files.
Please advise if there are errors. We’ll clone these for Deutsch blurbs.

On a side note, there appears to be only one blurb for all of Thig and that is in divisions. Will there be a kn blurb section?

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Thank you so much for doing this, Karl!

I just happened to see that there is no blurb for MN24 in the respective file, but there is a blurb to that sutta on the website. You probably want to correct this, Bhante @sujato. I didn’t check systematically if there are more such errors, though; but will certainly see it once I come to any sutta that has no blurb. :grin:

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We discussed this at a meeting a couple of days ago. The priorities are:

  1. Get the basic editing and saving functions solid (mostly done!)
  2. Implement trilingual translation.
  3. Add a search function.

The trilingual function should not take too long, and once it is done it may be used for German, Portuguese, etc., so long as you are happy using some kind of local search. I use Sublime text.

Agreed, it’s nice, but when you start using Bilara you see the difference. When you commit an edit in Pootle it churns around and then decides, hmm, maybe now I’ll move on to the next segment. In Bilara, it is all instantaneous. In fact some of our bugs are created because the page is too damn fast. And the interface is much more suited for translating texts (as opposed to user interfaces).

I didn’t make blurbs for each of the Thag/Thig sections, what is there to say other than “A set of verses associated with Venerable so and so”?

I’ll probably do blurbs for Snp, Ud, and Iti, maybe not for others. And I might get around to at least some of the thig/thag poems as well.

But this is also something others an do, there’s no particular reason why I should write all the blurbs!

Sorry, what file are you looking at? There is a blurb in blurbs.json.


Hmm… I was looking at the counterpart of this file which we have in the Voice fork; but I now see that MN24 is here in your original. So it seems to be a bug with the forking? @karl_lew?

Anyway, copy & paste just does the trick. :white_check_mark:

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Like it already! :smile:


In case you think I’m joking, here’s the LitElement issue for being too fast!


I see the segments in the blurb files have no spaces at the end of each line. Is this intended?

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:rofl: “space…the final frontier”

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