SuttaCentral

On handling the Anguttara Ones and Twos


#1

@blake and @vimala, for your consideration.

The Anguttara Ones and Twos are exceptionally difficult to handle, as they stretch the boundaries of what can be considered a “sutta”. In fact, probably all of the Ones, and almost all of the Twos, consist of sutta fragments, where a larger text has been split into multiple pieces. In some cases these larger texts are preserved independently elsewhere and are listed as parallels.

Because of this, we have made the pragmatic choice to present these texts as vaggas, rather than as individual texts as we normally do. Each vagga is preserved as a single HTML file, with suttas marked individually within that file.

In the old SC, we present each individual sutta with a title in the menu, thus:

https://suttacentral.net/an1

https://suttacentral.net/an2

Now, in almost all cases these titles are artificial. The text typically just has a name for the vagga, and each sutta has been artificially named “1”, “2”, and so on. So there doesn’t seem to be a real need for this. (In the old site, it was required because we had no mechanism for listing a text separately from a parallel. This is not the case on the new site, where parallels and texts are presented independently. So we can have a text entry for, say, an1.1-10, and underneath that, parallels for an1.1-5, or an1.3, and so on)

Nothing, I think, is gained by listing each sutta. We should, instead, simply list the vagga. This is, indeed, already the case in several of the vaggas, especially the abbreviated texts near the end of AN 2. I propose that we do this throughout.

It’s not quite that simple, however. Note the use of the word “almost” above! The exception is the first vagga of AN 2, which does contain a set of ten genuine suttas, each with its own title contained in an uddana. In every respect, then, they are like “normal” suttas, and not like the artificial texts elsewhere in AN 1 and AN 2.

Hence I propose that we treat the first vagga of AN 2 like normal suttas: split the files into one per sutta, and ensure that the parallels data is adjusted accordingly.

To summarize my proposals:

  1. In AN 1 and AN 2, do not present individual suttas in the suttaplex list, but simply list the vaggas. The parallels for the individual suttas or ranges may be presented in the parallels for the vagga.
  2. The exception is AN 2 vagga 1. Here we should split the HTML vagga file into ten suttas and treat as normal suttas, each with its own entry in the suttaplex list.

What drives this behavior?

In the text files, all the texts are grouped in vaggas. However, in the display, some are presented as vaggas, but some as individual suttas. How does this happen?

I think the answer is in sutta.json. There, for example, an2.63 is presented as a single sutta,. and it appears as such in the old SC subdivision page. However, an2.64-76 appears only as a range, and so it appears on the subdivision page.

Thus I think we can achieve this change by simply eliminating the separate suttas from sutta.json, except for the first vagga of AN 2, and giving all the texts only as ranges.

On the other hand, this means losing some reference detail: vol/page and alternate acronyms. So maybe another approach is better.


#2

The main issue in general I see with this approach is sutta titles, ideally we want some kind of title to display in the parallel view. Maybe in this kind of case we can retroengineer a title out of the vagga name plus the sutta’s position in the vagga.


#3

Getting rid of info and then retro-engineering it back in sounds like something this guy would love. :black_joker: And in any case, we’re still losing vol/page and alternate info.

On reflection, I think it’s probably best to keep the data, and add extra entries in sutta.json for the vaggas. Then we can use the vagga info for the entries in the main menu and suttaplex list, and the individual sutta entries for parallels. Does that sound reasonable?