Creative Commons translations and possible misuse

a) Can I copy it and say I translated it?
b) Can I copy it add or omit and change parts to suit my belief and publish it?

In Sri Lanka there is a tug war between two monks about the accuracy of a translation by Ven Kiribathgoda Nanananda.

You can “make use of this translation in any way that you wish”.

No matter what you do, I will not take you to court. I will not treat you like a criminal. That doesn’t mean that I will endorse what you do.


Even given Bhante 's position, you may additionally consider whether you are prepared to break the precepts with regard to lying, deceit, etc…


What I said was there is an issue. But I did not tell anyone is right or wrong. I think it is quite appropriate to talk about the reality. Just see the amount of man hours we lost discussing Ven. Thaniissro’s teachings mainly because his translation works are in the main stream.

1 Like

I am the Mara. Bhante Sujato escape from my net for the time being. I am back to my drawing board. Ha.Ha


@Viveka Hi Moderator please kindly remove my posts in this thread or create a new thread so we can discuss how materials can be misused by when it placed in the wrong hand.
Thank you.

1 Like

I have heard people argue from the basis of fear and control so many times, and I think it is just misguided. You can’t base a spiritual journey on fear.

So far, I have released everything I have done with no caveats, and what have we seen?

  • Printed editions made by friends!
  • A professional printed edition of the Theragatha!
  • Cool voice app!
  • Nice EPUBs!
  • Soon, podcasts!

Creativity and innovation is what we need, let us go forth and do awesome things! Remix and reinvent! Do it again, do it better! Do things that I can’t even dream of!


What is this Bhante?
Do you mean some friends already printed your translation of four Nikaya?

That’s right. well, excerpts anyway.


Translation work is a very serious job when it comes to Buddhist teaching of Anatta. I just found a classic problem of it just now.

R.Davids has done a serious mistake in his translation in the last few sentences.
He translated ‘Yes, it would, Sir.’ instead of ‘Yes, it would not, Sir.’

1 Like

I think it’s great. It’s in the spirit of what Knuth and Lamport did with TeX and LaTeX, and Stallman did with the GNU project, which enabled the creation of GNU/Linux, which is what most supercomputers run these days…

In those cases the authors had some restrictions. Knuth specified that any variant had to have a different name, and the GNU licences are designed to force the release of source code of derivatives. But in neither case was there any prohibition of making money - RedHat makes a lot of money providing a well-supported Linux distribution, for example.

It’s the same with most scientific research. We are pleased when people take our work and improve on it - that’s the game! It’s expected that we’ll be referenced - but there’s no legal requirement.

Certain discoveries with commercial potential get patented, of course, but that’s a small part of the total output.

Unlike the examples of TeX/LaTeX/GNU/Linux, Bhante’s public domain work doesn’t need elaborate protection. Someone might take it and make money by printing or some other type of distribution (with or without modification), but that wouldn’t restrict its use. In fact, the ability to pay for a nice printed copy via Lulu is, in my view, a better method than the restrictive “free distribution only” approach, which only reaches people with the right connections.


Ajahn, isn’t there any free-distribution Buddhist publishers anywhere who have been asked if they want to produce a run of hard copies?

I picked up a lot of Dhamma books like this in the past? Why would this create an obstacle to S.C.'s publishing strategy?

How about rice-paper scrolls printed in Taiwan? You’ve got Taiwanese Mitra’s - is that correct? I wonder if they have this kind of digital typeset with some Dhamma-doodles for good measure (see below).

How about: the first letters like this:

Laurence, thank you for volunteering to make this happen!

1 Like

There are, and we will work in the long term with budaedu of taiwan. But i am not rushing this, I want to make sure the text settles down, there are thousands more corrections and additions coming soon. Small stuff, but it all adds up. Maybe towards the end of this year we’ll look at creating official printed editions.


If you are replying to my post, I didn’t mean that free-distribution books, from ForestSangha, etc, are a bad thing. I meant that if one does not have connections with particular monasteries, it is not always easy to get hold of hard copies.

Whereas an arrangement with a service like Lulu to print and mail is much easier get hold of:

1 Like

Waiting until the texts are more settled (your avoidance of the word ‘finalised’ is nice) is very sagacious Sadhu.


Patient endurance is the highest austerity - thanks for showing us how to wait with open-ended patience. A bunch of nobody’s going nowhere! Xxoo

1 Like