Increasing the readability of omissions/repetitions even further


Found the following use case. Perhaps it can be generalized. It has to do with having to work with one-viewport viewing and navigation (computers, modern time) vs paper books/materials any old-school method (just flip back two pages, lift the top page slightly, not losing time = 3D — better than hyperD-text sometimes). Also, supposing we want to use it to work with those texts as opposed to leaning towards preserving them.

Example case: When trying to read AN 3.65 very thoroughly, word by word in English after looking at Pali, without skipping any repetitions as is often recommended for an authentic reading, it is tricky. Whilst, the omission that comes form the Pali original (placeholder “…pe…”) has been most kindly indicated as being identical to a stanza AN 3.63 (very nice!), the only way right now to see this, if I’m not somehow smart in advance by keeping two windows open in separate tabs, is to:

1. use the browser’s back function
2. locate AN 3.63
3. (if I’m not “smart”, ie. I behave normally) click on it
4. read the passage
5. (if not “smart”, again) use back
6. relocate AN 3.65
7. click
8. imagine I just read the passage there and continue reading until the next omission
9. repeat 8 steps or learn and adjust

This piece has only two omissions. Not too bad. The “being smart” part = learning ie. knowing the situation in advance, one can work around it via less moves: 1) going back once, 2) locating the other text, 3) right-clicking it into a new tab and 4) then returning to the initial text by the forward function. And we can enjoy reading with 5) swapping back and forth a bit hopefully using keyboard shortcuts instead of a mouse for an easier life (thats also why the post says function as opposed to a button, too, allows for both behaviors).

/:eyeglasses: /

Solution ideas

The effort of pointing to AN 3.63 is already very valuable! Thanks. I was thinking, would it be also possible without unproportional effort to take it even up a notch in one of the following ways:

  • a) have the depicted squared insertion be old-school clickable (ie. lead to the other text – if smart, one opens it in a background tab – hopefully even using Vimium or Gleebox for fast navigation <- recommendation of the day: give self-gift: discover Vimium. (Gleebox a bit too confusing).
  • b) have the squared insertion somehow pull the text and when clicked, fill the space out temporarily or permanently for those who want it, like accordion functions do
  • c) have it display the omission in a mouse hover pop-up bubble
  • d) something else
  • e) it’s not a problem -> nothing
  • f) it takes too much effort -> nothing
  • g) already talked about -> OP failed to find it -> is sorry. :slight_smile:

Maybe this can be somehow helpful.


I was just curious. Where can this recommendation be found? Is it in the suttas?

Not have any omissions at all! :slight_smile:

I find the omissions really distracting and upset my flow of reading and concentration. I have resorted to cutting and pasting the entire sutta into google docs and then pasting the omissions. Its not so bad doing it that way. It means I have my own fully copy of the sutta and I can add my notes at the end.

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Neat! Tip of the cap. I’ve occasionally done the same thing myself. But for me the attraction to this is context dependant.

As a hopefully useful addition to this matter, I’m linking in a question I asked elsewhere a while ago as a lead into Bhante Sujato’s helpful answer (which is actually what I think might actually be some - and with any luck not too tangential - relevance here).


Thanks for the suggestions. The post that Aminah links to includes some of my entirely cynical and depressive thoughts about the potential of such things!

Having said which, some of you suggestions may be usable, such as linkifying sutta IDs in abbreviated passages.

Nevertheless, the more cogent issue at the moment is that our efforts are going into the new site, and as far as I’m concerned all the current translations are deprecated. I think it’s a waste of time to put work and time into them for now, and probably for the future. They’ll remain there, and we might fix typos or whatever, but not put major effort into them. So if we are to look at ways of improving handling of abbreviations, this should be done on the basis of the new generation of translation.

Now, as far as that is concerned, my central aim is to create texts that will be readable in and of themselves. Given the nature of the literature, it will not be possible to fully satisfy everyone’s individual usage, but we will certainly be able to do a lot better than before. My suggestion at this time would be to wait and see how it turns out with the new translations. Once we have experience using them, we will have a clearer idea of what kinds of enhancements will be useful going forward.


Thank you. Informative.

Thank you. I also read the linked material. There are indeed a thousand and one ways to deal with this depending on one’s personal preference in one’s private reading. My thought followed from the fact that this is a completely new medium to chanting or flipping through pali sheets or a modern thick book, with new possibilities (and drawbacks) that in its essence (pun intended) has the potential to cater to several ways of reading. But, of course,resource allocation, reasonability and various caveats are easily understandable points. So we can consider these technical ideas as being “for the record”.

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Sadhu. I actually misread your post the first time in the opposite direction. Talk about perception.

Hello. :anjal:
I like this question. With all reasonable likelihood, no. I’ve received this as verbal instruction from teachers; and in writing one can find it for example here. And, logic.

To my best understanding right now, I don’t think we should expect to find this recommendation in the suttas by definition. No point even looking. Because suttas are a later supposed written recording of the pre-existing oral material containing the words of the Blessed One and his most authoritative disciples. They did not instruct the compiling of those written manuscripts, so could not have also included technical instructions to handling the media. Pali sheet, paper, digital – just media. Just as the medium of recitation by heart (ie. from memory).

And as the ancient oral memory tools in various cultures often relied on repetition, rhyme and rhythm and other (“literary”) tricks (assonance, alliteration) to both help with the retention and retrieval of data from the memory bank and also with driving the meaning to the recipient of the flow of data, we would even have to think, without reasonable evidence to the contrary (“unprove/prove spaghetti monster” level), there was no talk of any omissions prior to having to save material and time and manpower. It would simpy not have made any sense to remember “broken” or “normal” passages instead of those initially designed to be easy to remember and reuse, and thus, “carry”.

:mindblown: PS. Leaning towards off-topic, but not: Been experimenting with parallel translations into my mother tongue stemming from this logic and how the Pali actually “feels”. So, after first creating an academic translation, one created a 100% reciteable version using all the above mentioned tools. Initial feedback by a practitioner (academic feedback still pending) was that they preferred the draft of the creative adoption to the academic one. An yet, this version was all one big, long, flowing repetition (ie. without omissions).

(The target language provides essential tools for this – an old tradition of repetitive memory-songs has been preserved, and also, as speakers of an agglutinative language, we can easily bend the text take visual/auditive forms more similar to the “feel” of the original by playing around with case endings, suffixes, which one has to do even in an academic translation etc. Both versions are under critical review/editing now, and if this works, I will try to continue the dual experiment. The draft was promising – it did feel hypnotizing/captivating like the Pali original, whilst preserving the meaning. And passages are spontaneously starting to pop up in one’s head due to the techniques employed).


May I ask what language this is?

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Sure thing. I was specifically referring to Estonian.
(Finnic languages, esp. those of Baltic Finns as far as I know, use a specific form of the runo song (regilaul), which in some cases uses very little melody (akin to chanting). Probably irrelevant to the topic but found some reference in English here (here example 2 is extremely remotely like some Sri Lankan melodic chanting, ex 1 (second half onwards) is quite monotonous, ex 4 has only moderate variation as well, ex5 is too melodic, but syllabic rhythm is similar to some Burmese ways - ignoring rhyme and melodic logic, extending lines).

(PS. Typo in my post “as an speakers of an”).


@mhviriyo Thank you for a very informative and fascinating reply. :anjal: