How long does it take to listen to the discourses?

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It would be nice to know the answer to this question so that those who intend to do voice recordings (@Viveka, @sujato) can estimate how long it will take them to record each section. And I think it’s also useful to know for listeners.

EDIT: this is now a wiki! If you’d like to contribute, you can do so in this post for estimates/data on the duration of audio of various EBT collections, and in this post for sharing visualizations of the data!


I calculated the playing time on SuttaCentral Voice (SCV) for English only. The actual playing will certainly deviate: the values SCV gives are estimates only. The actual time will also depend on the narrator (Amy, Raveena, or Russell). Listeners can estimate the time for Pali + English by multiplying by 2.8 (and for Pali only by 1.8). I calculated this multiplier by comparing English and English + Pali time for the Dīgha; for other āgamas the multiplier might be slightly different.

English translations by Bhikkhu Sujato & Bhikkhu Brahmali


Sīlakkhandha Vagga: 7 h and 22 min
Mahā ~: 10 h and 34 min
Pāthika ~: 10 h and 21 min

Total Dīgha (estimate): 1 d, 4 h, and 16 min (the total differs slightly from the sum of the chapters due to rounding).


Root Group of Fifty: 16 h and 15 min
Middle Group of Fifty: 17 h and 4 min
Upper Group of Fifty: 14 h and 36 min

Total Majjhima (estimate): 1 d, 23 h, and 55 min


Sagāthā Vaggasaṃyutta: 14 h and 41 min
Nidāna ~: 12 h and 37 min
Khandha ~: 15 h and 3 min
Saḷāyatana ~: 16 h and 42 min
Mahā ~: 18 h and 55 min

Total Saṁyutta (estimate): 3 d, 5 h, and 58 min


Book of the Ones: 2 h and 4 min
~ Twos: 2 h and 36 min
~ Threes: 8 h and 37 min
~ Fours: 12 h and 10 min
~ Fives: 10 h and 45 min
~ Sixes: 6 h and 4 min
~ Sevens: 5 h and 20 min
~ Eights: 6 h and 59 min
~ Nines: 3 h and 51 min
~ Elevens: 1 h and 49 min

The audio duration of the Book of Tens is currently unknown. SCV doesn’t seem to index AN 10 properly. The rough preliminary estimate is 8 h and 0 min.

Total Aṅguttara (estimate): 2 d, 20 h, and 15 minutes

Total all four āgamas (estimate): 9 days and 6 hours.

Future Work to Be Done

  • More reliable estimates. For now, the estimates, which are based on the SC Voice estimates, do not take into account empty segments.
  • Other collections when they appear on SCV, first of which the 2019 Therīgāthā and Theragāthā translations.

English Translations by Other Translators

(no data available yet)

Future Work to Be Done

  • Translations by Marcus Bingenheimer, Bhikkhu Anālayo, and others, when they appear on SCV.

Translations into Other Languages

(no data available yet)

Future Work to Be Done

  • Various translations in other languages.


Apologies, if I’m wrong about this—it’s something I’ve been meaning to check but haven’t got around to—but one other point that might be relevant factoring in to this calculation (at least in some cases) is empty segments.

@karl_lew will be able to clear things up on this, but just based on my usage, my guess would be that SCV allots an amount of time for each segment. In the case of suttas with a number of empty segments you can see the estimated time calculation drop rapidly as you go through a sutta and skips over empty segments.


Yes. Quite correct.

        const DN33_PACE = (2*3600 + 0*60 + 27)/(1158);
        var secondsPerSegment =
            (this.showPali ? DN33_PACE * 1.8 : 0) +
            (this.showTrans ? DN33_PACE : 0);


Thanks, I’ll indicate above that SCV uses segment based estimates. If you ever change the code for estimating audio lengths, let me know, then i’ll update my answer.


It will probably have to be extended to deal with translations into other languages. Thanks for pointing out the massiveness of the EBT’s. It does amaze me to see that Bhante Sujato has translated over 3998 suttas.



Added Jan 29, 2019. Estimates of the audio length of the four main āgamas as translated by Bhikkhu Sujato.

These graphs will be updated if more accurate data becomes available.

Future Work

More charts, eg with the Therīgāthā and Theragāthā and forthcoming Vinaya translations.


How cool is this! Thanks so much for making this calculation, Robbie, even if only a rough estimate!

Wouldn’t it make sense to make this into a Wiki page that can be updated as things change?


@Robbie, if you send me a github account for yourself, I can simply add you to the contributors.


I thought about it, but it seems that the Wiki is mainly intended for fundamental EBT terms & concepts.


Maybe the mods can say a word on this.


I have given Robbie access to the SC-Voice Wiki. That might (?) be a helpful place given the context. Robbie, you’ll probably want to edit the Home page with a link to any new page. Please consult with Aminah on Home page edits. The Home page is also the content for the SCV help page.


Good idea :slightly_smiling_face:.

I’ll write a stub later. If we want to extend the counts to other languages/discourses/translations as well, it’d be best to have some code which can do the estimations. Adding up the lengths by hand is quite time-consuming, and perhaps we can also improve accuracy (eg by accounting for empty segments)


Pretty colours! :heart_eyes:

Thanks, Robbie, it is, indeed, really cool to have things broken down like this. One of the roads it leads my mind down is just how manageable—when someone just happens to have built a reader—going through the Nikayas should be. And how it can be further broken down into step-by-step pieces.

It also makes me think of how awesome it would be to embark on such a journey or mini-journeys together with others; but that’s a note for another day.


I can’t see a better place for it than the wiki. What do other @Mods think?
@Nadine @Gillian @Erik_ODonnell @Timothy


The github wiki looks fine to me.


I say to go for it. The special feature of a wiki is that everyone can author it. I thinks it’s fine to move into a new topic area if the need arises: as it does here.


Thankful for the input of the @Mods, and with apologies to @karl_lew, I have chosen to make this topic into a wiki, instead of using the SuttaCentral Voice Wiki. My primary motivation is accessibility: it’s easier for users to find and edit this wiki then the one on SCV.


Oh. I forgot to mention. If any of your podcasts is about a given sutta, you can add a link to your podcast to the sc-voice wiki. For example, if you do a podcast on MN1, add your link to Audio MN1. In this way, your podcast link will be available to anybody who finds MN1 on