My own renditions of some suttas


This may be because the schema doesn’t include historical or social context: conditioned by which language shifts its meanings. For linguists this is a given; fundamentalism can’t deal with it.


I definitely see where you’re coming from here. That and the style reason have changed my mind again. Now, to find a decent word for it. Perhaps “unification”? :dizzy_face:


The proof of the pudding, must be in the eating of it. To have an authoritative translation, shouldn’t the translator be appropriate? In the sense of being having ‘sensed with the body’, and having a practical familiarity of the mental factors in question?

No, but we cannot treat terms of psychology, as terms of mundane usage. Didn’t the Buddha say that he altered the meanings of common words, to suit his dhamma, and some meanings of words were to be taken literally and others to be ‘drawn out’, or infered?


Everybody that has a stunning new idea has little option but to do this. It makes the job of the translator/interpreter incredibly challenging … and the job of rating different translations even harder. Matching the results against one’s personal experience may help, may hinder.

Sadhu to everyone who takes on this challenge in a spirit of humility. :anjal:


I mean, Shakespeare did this a lot (make up new words, give new meanings to old words), and his ideas were not that new, he took them from older stories, myths and plays.

Honestly, this is just a feature of creative language use, nothing particularly unique about the Buddha (though he was good at it).


Wow, we obviously are thinking along the same lines! I have a blog and podcast called Simple Suttas that has several of my simple, plain English renderings of the suttas. I’ve been working on a larger project along the same lines for a year or so. Perhaps you’d like to collaborate?


Woah, nice!! It’s way more poetic than my stuff! :heart_eyes:

Sure, shoot me a message if you have any ideas.


samādhi [noun]: I use ‘settlement’.


I am both moved and touched by these renditions. (And I have written privately.)

So many things to say, so little time!

Rather than trying to find suitable equivalents, I think using the Pāli is acceptable. After all, you do have Terms.

“Feeling” is such an example. Does it refer to “Sensation” or “Emotion,” or something else.

Clarity must be foremost , but not ‘dumbing down.”

Learning can be fun, but it is also work.


Thanks! Feel free to post any concerns, questions and so on here in this thread too.

I am not embarrassed by any mistakes and so on, the more eyes that see it and discuss it, the better!


Hey everyone.

I’m working on moving the site over to wordpress. Just have basic stuff so far:

Also, a few new suttas up, like “To Prince Bodhi” (MN 85) and Sabbasava Sutta (MN 2).


Just looked at them briefly, and they look refreshingly direct & concise! :slight_smile:

I think Bill Bryson and Nassim Taleb had written extensively about how amateurs with no formal training made a lot of scientific discoveries and inventions. Rhys Davids also seems to have started out as an amateur; power on! :smile:


Hey Javier, I wonder if I could urge you to reconsider your choice of Wordpress as a platform/ I used it myself for my first web publishing ventures, so I am well aware of it’s ease of use and capabilities. But that was a mistake and wish I had gone a different route.

Why? Because at its root Wordpress is trying to do very complex things that we do not need, and like all complexity, it has a cost. Here you can see how the Wordpress code base is rapidly expanding, nearly 700,000 lines of code today.

What is the problem? Well, all that code should be free of bugs, it has to be fast, and fixable, and safe from hacking. But it is not really any of those things. Now, if you need the functionality, it you’re running the Washington Post or Reuters or something, then great. But what we want is simply to deliver static text files, and we just don’t need all that.

Then of course there is the inexorable arrow of time. The basic HTML that we need to display texts is very stable, and hasn’t changed much since the beginnings of the web. But Wordpress is pushing updates and changes at a rapid rate, which will inevitably break things at some point. All the additional functional come at a performance cost. And when you put a powerful and dynamic tool in the hands of amateurs, you also end up with a security nightmare. Here is a page that lists bugs published so far this year in Wordpress.

In addition, Wordpress lacks crucial functionality that is useful for us: especially version control. Everything is in a database, where it is, for non-technical people, inaccessible except as part of Wordpress. For plain text, we’re better off using Github or similar for version control, just keeping plain text files and serving them as a static site.

This kind of approach has become very popular in recent years, for all these reasons and more. A static site is free of ads, fast, reliable, and effectively unhackable. The basic idea is you upload your HTML or Markdown files to Github, add a theme or whatever, and the content is processed into a website and served as static HTML files.

I do this with a number of sites, eg. our monastery website:

This uses Jekyll, which comes natively as part of Github, there’s basically nothing to install, just set it up and go. There are stacks of other static site generators if you prefer.

True, such a site does require a little more technical expertise than the turnkey Wordpress. But especially if you find someone to help you at the beginning, it quickly becomes a lot easier to add to and maintain. And your content is more more accessible and portable if you ever decide to change.

Anyway, I just thought I’d throw the idea out!


I didn’t even know this existed. Very cool.

And this, just as cool: Writings · The Monastery at the End of the World

I must be living under a rock. Didn’t know of Two monks. One space.

Make your choices, live your life. Do what is right, because it is the right thing to do. But don’t pretend to yourself that everything is fine. It’s not fine, and it’s not going to be fine.

This is where we are.

Shite and onions…

Edit: Found this, this morning:


Friends, this thread began with B. Sujato’s noting the four aspects of reading Torah. Years ago I developed a practice called Dharma Contemplation based on the approaches to meaning making and understanding in the suttas. It’s had a lot of field testing, a lot of ehipassiko, and seems to offer a way into the discourses for many who had found access to be difficult. It also has yielded benefit for many, myself included, who thrive on the early texts. You can learn more here:


Isn’t this just thinking about texts? :rofl:


If you read the instructions for Dharma Contemplation, you’ll see that it is meditating with the texts. Thinking is, of course, one facet of many meditation practices.

This is the nature of contemplation: words are a vehicle for the Dhamma, and take you to the edge of present moment experience. Here, words are released and things are apprehended in a pre- or non-linguistic way. But the earlier phases of DC practice give multiple doorways into the words: words as such, the felt sense of the words, the analytical approach to the words and what is being said, and finally we come closer to essences and direct experience.


Thanks Bhante, I am definitely considering it and will give it a look when I have some time. At the moment the actual site is not a priority, but I do have a friend helping out so I will check with her as well regarding github.


I’m using Wordpress currently. The main difficulty is that it isn’t designed to be a way to publish an organized collection of texts. Wordpress’s main uses are for blogs, portfolios, or ecommerce shops. Publishing ordered texts involves some manual work like adding links to each page to daisy-chain them together and building menus.

I’m discovering that posting individual sutras as blog posts isn’t very effective for organizing them, but it’s the way to have notifications pushed out to social media and an email list. Static pages can be ordered, but they don’t trigger push notifications. It’s annoying. I’m planning to convert the translations to pages and then announce them with blog posts.

I’m not sure what the hacking risks really are for a simple public domain publishing site. Hackers are looking for valuable data like customer lists, login credentials, and transaction data. For us, the only content that’s valuable is the translations themselves. Bots can scrape website pages in a matter of seconds by simply visiting them. Selling public domain texts as ebooks without authorization is a thing. I’ve seen it happen with my older translations.


I did not realize you can do this with Github. Interesting! Actually finding good free webhosting isn’t easy these days.