Discrepancies with chapter titles in Vinaya texts

There are discrepancies with subtitles in Vinaya texts.

I noticed that some of the German legacy Vinaya texts have different chapter numbering than the English segmented version—which I assume to be the correct one.

I am looking at Kd 1 at the moment, and the first (minor) discrepancy appears at chapter 14, where the English segmented version still has a sub-chapter 14.1, while the German has subheadings with no numbering. I think that’s not really an issue.

It becomes more complicated from chapter 18/19 on.

  • Chapter 19 in the German version begins in the middle of the English chapter 18, at 32.1.1.
  • Chapter 20 Paṇāmanākhamāpanā seems not to be there in the German version, but the title is found where in English there is 35.1.1, the beginning of chapter 21.
  • Chapter 21 in German starts at English chapter 22, and it also includes content of English chapter 23 up to 36.9.3.
  • Chapter 22 in German starts in the middle of English chapter 23, at 36.10.1.
  • Chapter 23 in German starts at English 36.14.1 (still in chapter 23).
  • Chapter 24 in German seems to be in line again with English chapter 24.
  • Chapter 25 in line with English … everything fine up to and including chapter 36.
  • Chapter 38 in German starts at English 51.1.1 which is still in chapter 37.
  • Chapter 39 in German starts at English chapter 38.
  • Chapter 40 in German starts at English chapter 39, and also includes English chapter 40.
  • In chapter 41 both are again in line.
  • Chapter 42 in German starts at English 55.1.1. It also includes almost all of English chapter 42.
  • Chapter 43 in German starts at English 56.1.1.
  • Chapter 44 in German starts at English 57.1.11.
  • Chapter 45 in German starts at English chapter 44.
  • Chapter 46 in German starts at English chapter 45.
  • Chapter 47 in German starts at English 60.1.16.
  • Chapter 48 in German starts at English chapter 47.
  • Chapter 49 in German starts at English chapter 48.
  • Chapter 50 in German starts at English chapter 49.
  • Chapter 51 in German starts at English chapter 50; this chapter includes English chapter 51.
  • Chapter 52 in German starts in line with English chapter 52. Correct assignment continues from here up to the end of the Khandhaka.

The names of the chapters are all correctly associated with their numbers, so in case of wrong assignments the title doesn’t fit with the content of the chapter.

I am happy to amend this text if that seems appropriate (which is why I collected all this), but I am not going to check the entire Vinaya for similar problems, at least not at this moment. Bhante @sujato?

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You’ll want to work on this with @Brahmali

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Any input from your side, Ajahn @Brahmali, would of course be much appreciated.

My numbering system follows the MS Pali. It is likely that the German version is based on a different Pali text, and thus the discrepancy. If this is so, I am not sure if it is a good idea to change the numbering. I think it is important that the translation should reflect the underlying text. However, perhaps you can add a note or something to clarify why there is a difference.

Does this help?

And not to forget: much metta from Oz,
Ajahn Brahmali


This doesn’t seem to be the cause, Ajahn.

I became aware of the problem when I wanted to refer to the story with the dragon who went for ordination. This story is told in the German text under the title “50. Mātughātakavatthu”, while the preceding chapter is called “49. Tiracchānagatavatthu”—which would be the appropriate title for the dragon story.

It’s this kind of discrepancy. Or sometimes what is titled as one chapter just consists of the last concluding sentence of the previous chapter. For example what is called “47. Paṇḍakavatthu” just contains this sentence:

Ich erlaube, ihr Mönche, einen mit diesen zehn Eigenschaften versehenen Novizen zu vertreiben.

Which corresponds to

anujānāmi, bhikkhave, imehi dasahaṅgehi samannāgataṁ sāmaṇeraṁ nāsetun”ti.

After this sentecne, the Pandaka chapter starts in English, but in German this one sentence is the entire “Pandaka” chapter. The actual Pandaka chapter is then titled “48. Theyyasaṁvāsakavatthu”. This can’t be right, and I don’t think any manuscript would have this.

The info section that is with the text on SC doesn’t mention which manuscript the translation is based on, and I don’t think the original printed version does (but I don’t have it any more; so I also can’t compare how titles are handled there).

The thought that came to mind was that these things happened when the text was added to SuttaCentral perhaps. The titles are not translated in the German, so maybe they were only added on that occasion at all? I don’t remember how it was in the printed edition. Probably—and actually that seems likely—the edition only had the “titles” as end-of-chapter summaries, as was originally the case in manuscripts.

:smiley: :heart: :pray:

Much metta back from Saarland!


We could perhaps find that out: Ven. @Vimala, you prepared this for SC at the time. Do you remember how this was? I know it’s a long while back, and my memory would probably have to struggle, but maybe you do remember. Or my old copy of the German Mahākhandhaka translation is even living at Tilorien Monastery now, so we could simply look it up?

And that would also raise the question: In case we decide to correct the titles, would it make sense to add a German translation (perhaps based on your English translation)? This would make it easier to find a particular section, especially in a long text like the first Khandhaka.

I suspect that Thomas Trätow made these with another version of the Pali texts that has different ways of dividing texts. I suggest to contact him and ask and then maybe make a note in the meta data. At that time we did not change things from how the translator had done it.

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Thank you! :pray:

I’ll try to get in contact.

But you might want to check with Bhante @Sujato how he wants it done now. With the current texts I’m working on from the PTS I am changing things to match the Pali on SuttaCentral.

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Yes, generally this is still the case. It isn’t a great situation, though.


  • keep as-is and accept that there are inconsistencies when it comes to legacy texts
  • change the numbers to match SC
  • remove the numbers entirely.

Honestly I don’t have a strong opinion, especially when it comes to legacy texts. So long as Brahmali is happy with how the Bilara texts are, I’m happy to tolerate some discrepancies with legacy translations.

As I’ve just noted to you also in email, to try to fit and adapt legacy texts is an endless quagmire. We’ve done pretty well, but at the end of the day, it just is the case that all the editions have small differences like this. The main thing is that the correct text shows up at the correct URL.

Let us move on to the glorious future of Bilara!


In this case it’s not just a small difference, but plain wrong.

If you want to read the chapter on Pandakas you find this sentence, which is the entire content of the Pandaka chapter:

Mendicants, I allow to drive out a novice with these ten qualities.

(Or something similar, if it were English.)

If you want to read the Pandaka story you have to go for “Theyyasaṁvāsakavatthu”. So how many users will find this?

And so on …

If you find this acceptable, I’ll happily leave it; it’s not that I don’t have other things to do. I just want to make sure you are aware of the scope of the problem.

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Sure. Tell you what, I’ll make an issue for it, and if we have a German speaker who wants to fix it they can.


Great, thank you. I’ll still consult with the translator if I can contact him.

I am happy to do the first Khandhaka at least, as I have already put some effort into that one. So that will be a start.

BTW, while diving into this whole title thing I have totally forgotten what originally brought me to look into it in the first place:

When I wanted to refer to a particular section in the first Khandhaka, I first tried it via the chapter link, like for example


But this does not take me to the respective chapter as expected. It takes me to the top of the page. So that isn’t particularly helpful in a long text like this.

Only then did I look into the chapter titles because I needed some way to refer to a particular chapter.

If others have the same experience that these links are not working, we’d have still another issue to look into.

I have a hypothesis for what could be the cause for this and made an issue.