Dhammacetiyasutta Error MN89


Hope you are all well - my first post here :slight_smile:

Just wanted to note while reading this sutta it included a reference to ‘Townsville’ - I wasn’t sure whether it was a typo or not, but given the context thought I would make a note of it.

Thank you all for such an incredible resource!

With much metta


Good catch!

FYI, for those who don’t know (especially if you’re of the older generations or in robes for decades), Townsville is the city where the Powerpuff girls save the day. Powerpuff girls are 3 superhero, magical girls created accidentally in a lab. It’s a cartoon show from 1998-2005, covering my primary and secondary school years. It’s not bad a cartoon, not Teen Titans Go standard, way better than those. A possible live action movie/series is in the production line.

Wow, today I learned (TIL), that Townsville is actually a real place in Australia. Haha. My generation might have the Powerpuff girls impression first.


Welcome to the forum!

Bhante Sujato decided to translate all Pali names when possible. So he is translating Nagaraka as Townsville.

If you find any typos, there is a single thread where we can post them:


Ha ha, I had no idea of the Powerpuff girls connection, but I like it!

I sometimes translate Pali names, because it’s not uncommon that names lean more to the side of descriptive epithets in Pali. In this case, nagaraka means “little city” and I thought it was an odd name. So I wanted to translate it with something comparable.

But why “Townsville” in particular? Well, as it happens, Townsville was the place where where the thought first occurred to me, “I should go to Thailand”, and that set me on my path. So I am always grateful to Townsville and wanted to memorialize it in the Suttas.


Before I wiki Townsville, I was thinking only of the Powerpuff girls connection. It could easily lead to misunderstanding that the translator was watching cartoons. Anyway, glad I looked it up and thanks for the clarification.

Hmm… then if I put in pop culture references in my dhamma talks, it might also trigger misunderstanding by those who dunno how young or old I am in robes to think that I watch entertainment… Tricky. I like pop culture references, it’s an easy connection with the youth, however, I think in 10 years, or even 5, my knowledge of pop culture would be very outdated to the internet generation.


Ha ha. It amuses me to hear some monks who have been in robes a long time struggling for words for modern things.


I remember that cartoon. Ironically, the first time I went to India, I remember falling onto the bed in my hotel room, utterly jet-lagged and going through massive culture shock, turning on the TV, and the Powepuff girls was on TV, dubbed in Hindi. It was surreal.

That’s just getting old, Venerable, ha-ha! It would happen even if you weren’t in robes.


That’s all good Bhante @sujato, but Townsville is named for slave trader/merchant/pastoralist Robert Towns. Which stretches the similarity a little, as Towns in Townsville is a personal name, not a synonym for nagara.

Also: slavery.



Thanks Bhante for your reply, appreciate the clarification and the backstory. I enjoy coming across these while researching the suttas - my favourite so far is your translation of Mara as ‘The Terminator’ :slight_smile:

With much metta,

1 Like

Nothing like some local knowledge!


Please do not translate the names. It not only pulls one away from the the gist of the conversation but many a times also leads to confusion. Names of people when translated can become a phrase from just a word. Just like calling ananda, happiness or happiness incarnate or happy one, just leads to confusion in reading. If one must explain the meaning of the name for it truly holds value like example anathpindika then one can put them in brackets after the name (). Because it is clear when a translation is done it is very hard to go back and realize that happy one actually signifies ananda. Names do hold a lot of meaning, especially epithets. But names of town and villages in most cases do not need translating. It become very hard to go back and what townsville was if one were to search for history of that town or city or where it is now.

Thank you

1 Like

Hi @Asolanki,

Welcome to the D&D forum!

There are many tools and resources available here: may these be of assistance along the path!

With Metta

1 Like