How to look up Venerable Bodhi's Citations On Sutta Central?

I have a hard copy of Bhikkhu Bodhi’s “In The Buddhas Words”.

I’ve had a hard time using his sutta citations to look up suttas on

A few times the numbers have not been the same, and in the book for short quotes he only uses the translated sutta names.

For example, on page 88 of his book he has the this sutta quote

Not A Secret Doctrine

"These three things, monks, are conducted in secret, not openly.

What three? Affairs with women, the mantras of the brahmins, and wrong view.

“But these three things, monks, shine openly, not in secret. What
three? The moon, the sun, and the Dhamma and Discipline proclaimed
by the Tathagata.”

His citation is
AN 3:129 and I 282-283

That isn’t it.

I remembered Ajahn Sujato making a post about former FBI James Comey quoting the sutta, so I was able to search Discuss & Discover for the old thread and find this citation, quite different:

AN 3.131

In the future, if all I have is a Bhikkhu Bodhi number and without the help of James Comey, how would I look the same sutta on

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I just use:

Most of the links there work, though that one is a problem. Perhaps @Snowbird could fix that. :pray:

The main difficulty is the AN suttas, as I recall. In ITBW, Bhikkhu Bodhi used an older numbering system than in his later translation. Sutta central uses the latter.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s translation at Suttas | and Access to Insight Tipitaka: The Pali Canon also have differences for the SN and AN relative to Sutta Central. In that case I think it’s the difference between Thai and PTS numbering.


Nice to know that I wasn’t imagining things and why the incongruity exists! Thank you!

Today was the first time I opened that book in years.

I found some old bookmarks in it, including an old Netflix envelope for mailing DVDs!

It kind of shocked me to realize how long ago I read that book.

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Ha! My copy has a Hong Kong price sticker from 2007…

We have a small local study group that we started during the first Covid wave going through the book at roughly the pace of Bhikkhu Bodhi’s talks, with a session every two weeks or so. We’re finally in the last Chapter: Stream Entry today… :rofl:

That book was my foundation for studying the Suttas. Of course, going through it again carefully in a discussion context, I sometimes wonder why this or that sutta was not included. But I can only do that because of the sound framework that Bhikkhu Bodhi provided.

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Oh I didn’t know that! Learn something every day.

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I can’t find the explicit statement in either ITBW or the AN translation, but for ITBW he says:

In 1999, under the imprint of The Sacred Literature Trust Series, AltaMira Press published an anthology of suttas from the Aṅguttara Nikāya, translated by the late Nyanaponika Thera and myself, titled Numerical Discourses of the Buddha. I am currently working on a new translation of the entire Aṅguttara Nikāya, intended for Wisdom Publication’s Teachings of the Buddha series.

And in the AN:

The summary verse (uddāna) at the end of the last volume states that the Aṅguttara Nikāya contains 9,557 suttas. An exact figure is hard to arrive at because it is uncertain whether particular suttas are to be counted separately or as composite wholes. The large figure probably results from counting separately all the suttas generated by the “Lust and So Forth Repetition Series” found at the end of each nipāta after the first (see below, pp. 62–63). According to my numbering scheme, AN contains a total of 8,122 suttas, of which 4,250 belong to the “Lust and So Forth Repetition Series.” This means that there are only 3,872 suttas independent of that series.

I understand Sutta Central uses Bhikkhu Bodhi’s numbers for the SN and AN, but I’m not clear whether they are based on previous numbering.

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We should be using the mature BB system. As far as I know that’s the case, unless we have made a mistake somewhere.

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I regards to the AN, if I am going between different web sites and books and the numbers don’t match I will now try reading a little bit before and a little bit after to find the matching passages. Now that I now that the numbering systems don’t quite match.

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