Listening to "A Swift Pair of Messengers"

Bhante @Sujato, I would like to listen to “A Swift Pair of Messengers” since reading is quite taxing for me. It occurred to me that passing the text through AWS Polly (as Voice does) might be possible. What are your current thoughts on this?

No Derivative Works. You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.


p.s., Others might also be interested in the same audio (please RSVP here if interested).


Here it is as audiobook read by Justin Merritt ( @Namarupa ) Audiobooks – simple|suttas


Excellent! Thank you for the reference. I will be able to read it immediately. :pray:

---- update ----
Well, not quite immediately. I ran into several issues. Wordpress balks at a full download, so I downloaded just the first part. And that MP3 file is a massive 5MB for five minutes of listening. :poop:

So I converted that to an Opus file and that is much smaller at 0.7MB. Unfortunately I can’t share that Opus file for others here since D&D won’t upload Opus. :laughing:

We still have a bit of an issue in that for the non-technical listener it is a great challenge to listen to Bhante’s book offline. :thinking:

Bhante @sujato, what concerns might you have regarding audio transformations of A Swift Pair of Messengers? That Opus file itself is indeed a “transformation” that might be forbidden. And it would need to be stored somewhere (~50MB Opus files on Github?)


That’s great. I actually end up going through a lot my Buddhist/sutta “reading” material via audio. Good book, nice speaking voice by Justin Merritt, so thanks for this!


Zip it and then upload? :wink:


D&D doesn’t allow ZIP. :scream_cat: :see_no_evil:

I ended up just asking Justin if I could give him a full Opus to post on Wordpress. Maybe he’ll support that…but I also need Bhante’s permission to create that Opus.


The easiest option would be to expand the list of file types, @musiko what do you think?

Otherwise use Internet Archive to host it? Or Youtube?

No worries at all, I’m thrilled people are still paying attention!

I wrote that book with pen and paper, twenty years ago in a cave monastery in Ipoh. Getting it digitized was my first venture in computers.


@musiko, supporting the .opus suffix would be quite nice since 16KHz Opus for speech is about 30% of 22KHz MP3 files. This would decrease audio snippet upload burden to D&D by 3x. Anagarika Sabbamitta and I are contemplating a shift to Opus for Voice given broader support by Apple for offline use. MP3 is a good standard for music. Opus is an excellent format for speech.

Thank you, Bhante! I’ll discuss with Justin if he is OK using Opus for his reading of your book. :pray:

Glad the cave did not devour you. :wink:


Just an FYI, different formats are not (according to the licence) considered transformations, if I am reading it correctly:

You are free to:

  • Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format

+1 to @Snowbird. The Creative Commons Licenses are well written. They explicitly allow simple reformatting provided that the rest of the terms are followed (ie: you still attribute the author, don’t charge money if it’s a non-commercial license, etc)

From the FAQ:

This means, for example, that even if a creator distributes a work in digital format, you have permission to print and share a hard copy of the same work.
Generall, a modification rises to the level of an adaptation under copyright law when the modified work is based on the prior work but manifests sufficient new creativity to be copyrightable, such as a translation of a novel from one language to another, or the creation of a screenplay based on a novel.


No, @karl_lew … there must be some misunderstanding. :thinking:

D&D takes zip files. I have uploaded such a file (mobi file zipped) earlier on this site. Any unsupported format can just be zipped and uploaded. :man_shrugging:

Here is a screenshot of the file upload menu… the file types supported are jpg, jpeg, png, gif, mp3, ogg, pdf, epub, zip, 7z, gz.

1 Like

Probably that’s different if you’re not a mod?


:fearful: :crazy_face: :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: :thinking: :face_with_raised_eyebrow: :zipper_mouth_face: :cold_sweat:

My goodness gracious… I could never have expected that!!!
So sorry @karl_lew . My abject apologies. :pray:


I believe (we?) had this conversation before, opus is designed for streaming (seamless automatic quality adjustment dependent on network conditions) and is only truly relevant if you have access to raw recording. Discourse also isn’t designed for audio streaming (it just hosts files on local storage/S3 and delivers them optionally via CDN).

Reencoding from one lossy format to another will likely introduce artefacts, although it can reduce the size of the file (at almost imperceptible loss) if the source was encoded at higher values than needed (e.g. voice at 44kHz 128kbps stereo vs 11kHz 16kbps mono).

Opus at low frequencies is a bit better than mp3 for voice, but usually I can’t hear much difference with reencoded files. But we can discuss this in a dedicated topic in #meta.

I’ve achieved the same result by converting the complete recording to download friendly mp3 file, but it also couldn’t be hosted here on D&D (currently we have a 35MB limit for file uploads). What I can do is to split it into chapters, which will be from 30min–2hrs long and between 3–15MB in size and upload it in a dedicated topic?

This also came up before, it’s because Discourse currently doesn’t provide antivirus checks on upload, and therefore only safe filetypes are allowed.


That would indeed be quite lovely to have Justin’s audio here on D&D split by chapter. If we do host that on this thread then I would simply mark your post as the solution. I expect the primary use is for offline listening. Anagarika Sabbamitta and I have tested Opus downloads on Android and iPhone. At 16K Opus sampling from MP3 masters, Justin’s music interludes suffer a bit but his speech is quite clear. Whether you choose to host MP3 or Opus is your decision. We would be grateful for either. Streaming from D&D is not required–I doubt anyone has the fortitude to be tethered to a streaming desktop for listening to audiobooks. Offline mobile seems to be the listening device of choice.



In this specific case, where audio files were produced in studio quality, there is a notable difference when listening on local device, and opus definitely performs better at the same bitrate and file size. I have added opus as allowed filetype and merged chapters as promised.

Complete download size is just under 50MB.

Just for comparison, Chapter 2 encoded with the same settings in mp3:


:man_cartwheeling: :hear_with_hearing_aid: :heart: :tada:

Thank you. :pray:

I will start listening today. :sun_with_face:

------ :meditation: ------

I’ve just listened to the first chapter on my iPhone walking meditation using the VLC iPhone App. It was most convenient to upload the Opus files from D&D to my Dropbox, which then allowed VLC to download for offline listening. The compact Opus format downloads very quickly and leaves enough room for many other downloads. I had previously been using Dropbox itself for listening, Dropbox doesn’t stream Opus files, so switching to the VLC app was necessary. I actually prefer the VLC app over Dropbox for listening since VLC has playlists and other nice features.

Thank you.

:pray: :pray: :pray:


Fantastic ! Thanks for this :anjal: