You may have noticed that I’ve been adding a bunch of talks and other resources here on Discourse. This is one of the purposes I’d like to see this platform used for: a gathering place for the great teachings on the Suttas that are scattered all over the web.
And here’s where you can help. Find the talks, essays, articles, chanting, or whatever that inspires you and helps you understand the Suttas, and post it here.
I’m starting this now because we are ready to move to the next step of integrating Discourse with SuttaCentral. In a few days, we’ll launch a new feature, where any posts or discussions about a particular sutta here will show up in the sidebar at SuttaCentral. Whatever sutta you’re reading, there’ll be a wealth of wisdom to help you, right there.
So how to make it work?
We’ve done the hard work on the coding side—or rather, @blake has done the hard work, and I’ve cheered him on—so that everything is simple on this end. Here’s how to do it:
- Find an inspiring resource on the Suttas.
- Make a new Topic here.
- For AV material like YouTube, paste the link. For written material, you can use a link for a web page or file, upload for a pdf file, or paste an essay directly into the post.
- Make sure to include at least two things in the title: the SuttaCentral ID (eg MN 23, AN 3.4, etc.) and something to distinguish this post (eg “talk by Ajahn Brahm”).
- Put it under the correct category (typically AV or Essays).
- Create Topic. Your post will appear both here and in the sidebar for the relevant sutta on SuttaCentral.
And you’re done. It only takes a minute, and you’ve helped make the Buddha’s words available for people all over the world. Sadhu!
The most important thing is to use the proper SuttaCentral ID. This is what lets us hook it up with our system. Let me know if you need help with this.
One note: If you paste essays directly in Discourse, as I did with In the Buddha’s Words, make sure the formatting is done properly. You can’t just directly paste Word documents here. Discourse doesn’t support complex text formatting, although improved support will be coming in a few months. However if it is a complex essay with footnotes and the like, best to use a pdf. Let me know if you have questions.
In some cases, you can get great results simply by pasting the URL. For example, see DN1 “The Great Entanglement”: essay and talk by Alexander Duncan. All I did was paste the URL from the original site (
http://palisuttas.com/2014/11/01/brahmajala-sutta/) and Discourse did the rest. Headings, lists, blockquotes, notes, images, videos, even tables, just work right out of the box. Whoa! This is because of a cool Discourse feature called “oneboxing”, where for certain whitelisted sites, we can just pull in information. To use this, try just adding a URL. If it doesn’t do anything, it means that site is not whitelisted. Let me know, and I’ll add it to the whitelist for oneboxing. Not all sites support this, however, so it’s a bit hit and miss. Oneboxing is supported for Google Drive, so if you have a slideshow or complex document, add it to Google Drive, publish it, and paste the URL in Discourse.