Searching SC: Limited Hits for Anapana


I was looking for the anapanasati sutta and first googled it expecting to find a hit from SC. However, I didn’t see any of SC’s translations regarding this search term in Google search results. Then, I searched anapanasati in SC but got no hits among the suttas. Then, I narrowed my search to just anapana and still the anapanasati sutta didn’t come up.

I referred to access to insight’s translation which showed up in a google search and found the anapanasati sutta number. Then looked it up in SC. What appears to prevent one from finding the anapanasati sutta in SC is that anapana is not mentioned anywhere in the pali or translation of the sutta. Anapana and anapanasati is also not included in the title here at SC.

Both and address this issue by including both the english title of this sutta and the commonly searched pali title anapanasati in the main title of the page. This title shows up in google searches too.

I share this in case it’s important for SC to show up in as many relevant google searches as is helpful. It appears and accesstoinsight is aware of this issue and addressed it by including both the english title of the sutta and the commonly understood pali title anapanasati. Following this pattern may make it easier to find relevant suttas using the search feature in SC.


Try “Ānāpānassati”. I think the search function is quite sensitive to correct spelling and diacritical marks.


Thanks. That may be part of the issue that will likely affect whether SC shows up in relevant searches on Google, Bing, etc.


The trouble is: You first need to know how to spell it correctly, and only afterwards you can see it in order to look up the spelling…


And perhaps a further trouble is the mindfulness of breathing sutta is most commonly spelled anapanasati on the web and in web searches. However, it’s spelled differently here, presumably with the more accurate pali spelling. The trouble is if someone uses the common spelling anapana or anapanasati as search terms in search engines, hits from SC will not likely come up it seems. Perhaps ranking on google for all common search terms related to the EBTs is not that important though…I don’t know.


Added to “search synonyms” in Release Plan for SuttaCentral Voice (see Backlog). :white_check_mark:


SuttaCentral Voice allows romanized searches, but you’ll need the right number of letters:


@Aminah, this might be another case for your #anapanasati hashtag feature request?


OK, then I’ll change that in the RP. Making it as simple as possible.


Thank you. I’ve moved that up as an optional feature for v1.2


Does that address the issue that most people are searching anapanasati not anapanassati. In fact, if you google anapanassati, google replies: “Showing results for anapanasati”

Just to be clear, though, at this point I’m only raising these issues in hopes of helping people find SC when they are using search engines to find information on mindfulness of breathing/anapanasati. There may be other keywords this issue is relevant, too; I don’t know. Thanks!


Yes, we already have a few. But that’s only for the SC Voice app, not for the main page. For that we might ask Bhante @sujato.


Thanks for clarifying. The main page is most likely what’s indexed by Google and other search engines. So, if it matters wether SC translations shows up for common searches like anapanasati, a few of the main pages may need to be tweaked. When ranking a page, Google most likely focuses most on the words in a page and the title of that page. Hope this helps.


Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. Perhaps the segmented suttas should include Sanskrit search terms such as “bodhisattva”, etc.

Up until now I’ve been thinking that SCV should find and map Sanskrit terms to Pali. However @brooks brings up a great point that Google search has its own needs.

Bhante @sujato what do you think?


(Notwitstanding the comments that followed this question) it can surely be added as an idea, but (1) there’ll likely be a some other things to address before coming on to consider the merits of going forward with the hashtag thing so there’s yet time to think about possible solutions, (2) I still have a question mark (from when it was raised as a possible fix in a similar case) as to whether this would actually be a good answer here. As far as I can see, it would only work if the user already knew that there were variant spellings of the term, which may not be the case.


It’s not more or less accurate, it’s just the Burmese spelling rather than the more common spelling foound in Sri Lanka. It’s kind of a color/colour thing.

Search is really hard. To quote one of Google’s founding engineers, it’s more dark arts than science. We have much room for improvement, but remember that we currently search in 30 or so languages, and do stemming and common substitutions (eg. vyā/byā) in Pali, include multiple dictionaries, a map, and lots of other cool stuff. So things get complicated and it’s not easy to know a path forward. We do have a possible major innovation in this area, but it is a little down the track. (For better or for worse, we like using software that doesn’t exist yet!)

Right now, the Engish search results for mindfulness of breathing are pretty good.


Thanks, Bhante @sujato for responding. Also, I just want to clarify, I’m really just speaking of how SC ranks in google searches. SC itself, seems pretty easy to navigate.

That said, given that when I google “mindfulness of breathing”, one of the top hits’ title is “Anapanasati - Wikipedia”. It appears that Google may be viewing “anapanasati” and “mindfulness of breathing” as synonyms. So, SC may eventually rank on google for anapana/anapanasati searches, too, even if it continues to omit the word anapanasati from the page and title of the mindfulness of breathing sutta. Not sure though.

Also, I took the time to mention this because I manage the SEO/SEM for my law firm’s website, and we consistently rank at the top of the search engines for our targeted keywords. So, I have some experience in this area. Hope this helps in some way.

with metta,


I think that automatic inclusion of Sanskrit (and potentially other common) synonyms on SC/SCV pages would lead to greater dissemination of SC Dhamma globally. Such inclusion could be accomplished by injection of search tags per page from a core dictionary of synonyms maintained and updated by everyone on SC subject to monastic editorial approval.


What do you mean by search tags? Are you referring to one or more of the SEO tags discussed here?


I meant whatever works in the shifting sands of content tagging for search. :rofl:

As the article points out, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) keeps changing with the ongoing battle between search engines and spam. With the automatic inclusion of pertinent keywords and synonyms for each sutta in a “designated, visible area”, I have a hunch we might get more SC sutta visibility. The keywords should be visible yet not obtrusive, perhaps shown in the blurb pop-up. I think that your own experience would help guide any proposed form of such annotative SEO content–I was merely pointing out that such inclusion might be automated via a synonym dictionary, thereby increasing the feasibility of endeavor.


Interesting idea, Karl! So, perhaps this designated, visible area you mention could be like a sidebar with the synonyms serving as the content. I’m sure there are other ways to do it, too.