Introducing Advanced Search

There is now an advanced search tool, find it at

It permits making more precise queries and also searching on fields such as Vol/Page. At the moment advanced search is only for the Sutta database. It cannot be used to search texts or dictionaries. However I expect to add these to the advanced search tool.

Naturally the advanced search will probably only be of interest to scholars, and will probably only be useful when you can’t make the default search produce relevant results.


thank you

could we have a crash course on the usage of the search?

the meanings of the acronyms, maybe a legend somewhere in a corner

a salient link to the advanced search page would also be useful



Perhaps ‘Name’ should be renamed ‘Title’, and ‘Acronym’ renamed ‘Identifier’ seeing as that is how they are referred to in the search results.

The vol/page box requires the nikaya identifier (DN, MN, SN etc) as well as volume and page numbers - took me a bit to work that out.

I can’t work out what ‘division’ refers to.

Division pertains to subgroups of texts of the published collections.

On a desktop monitor under resolution of 1280 x 1024 in this drop-down list only Sutta pitakas divisions are visible, but without the last 3 entries.

One needs to squeeze the window into a responsive mode and arrange the view to see a bit more

Thanks, for me on firefox the language and division dropdown menus just looked like regular search fields. Got it now!

Yes, that’s not ideal, is it. @blake, when you get some time if you could look at this.

Hello all,

The “division” and “language” drop-downs are not working for me with Chrome or Firefox on Windows 10. Tried it in Firefox safe mode to remove add-on variable but still no go. Chrome doesn’t have safe mode so I booted it in incognito which is the equivalent to safe-mode but still no go. Works fine in Internet Explorer.

Not a big issue, but something to be aware of down the line when you work on improving the advanced search.

edit: it appears that advanced search is not working at all for me on any browser—getting an error with every search


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What happened to the Advanced Search? The site says : Page not found.

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Oops, looks like it has broken. Sorry 'bout that! We’re not maintaining the old site, so that’s that.

The good news is that I just asked Blake to focus on search improvements on the new site. I’ll make a new thread for people to make requests.

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Delete my content and posts

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This is possible already in the normal legacy site search, I apologise for it not being documented. Like on Google you can use prefixes before terms to narrow down a search, for example:


Would restrict the search to texts that the uid starts with sn11.

Prefixes you can try:

uid, acro, division, lang, root_lang, author, content and is_root:true


Delete my content and posts

By default the search engine ORs components of the query together which works well for overly verbose queries but not for precise queries, if you add AND between search terms it will narrow down the search results, i.e.

uid:an* AND monastic AND code

of course it makes it incredibly unforgiving.

Delete my content and posts

Obviously the AN does not talk about the monastic code. Same for SN, MN. Only the DN has one result: DN 12

That’s because “monastic code” does not literally appear in our AN translations so you get zero matches. Instead it tends to be translated as “discipline”, also there are no synonyms defined for “monastic” or “code”, for example we do make monk/bhikkhu/bhiksu synonyms (the same for nun) and a few other cases like nibbana/nirvana but that’s about the extent of the “meaning based” search.


Delete my content and posts

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There’s a site confusion here: the above discussion was referring to the legacy site, where this term doesn’t appear.


Yup. It’s worth noting though that the search engine works the same way for both the legacy and modern site, so the prefixes I mentioned above along with AND can be used for advanced queries over the texts on the modern site too.


Thanks so much for this! Just trying it out: uid:sn11.* AND “ugly” :+1: