Searching SuttaCentral

Searching Sutta Central

SuttaCentral search is contextual. (TBD pending search feature changes)


Q: How do I find a sutta by Pali name such as Dhammacakkappavattan?

A: Append sutta and search for Dhammacakkappavattanasutta

Q: How do I find a sutta by id, such as MN1 ?

Type MN1 in the search box (Note: must not include a space)

Q: I get too many results

Try quoting your search phrase to get an exact match. For example, searching for “root of existence” will return far fewer results than searching for root of existence

Q: I can’t quote my literal search string

You may be using the US international keyboard, which treats quote and double quote as special keys. Simply type a space immediately after the double quote. ()

Other references


Searching Sutta Central Discourse & Discover forum


Q: How do I locate Bhante Sujato & Ajahn Brahmali’s translation essays?

Their translation essays have all been tagged with the ebt-translation tag.
You can type this tag in the quick search box or else in the advanced search box entitled ‘Tagged’: this will display a list of their essays.


Thank you Karl.
I was asking this question for ages and you are the only person gave me the right answer.


Hi @karl_lew,

This wiki is very good idea thanks!

Would you be happy that we add as well some tips for the search on Discuss & Discover (this forum)? I’m thinking for example of Bhante Sujato’s essays that can be found and browsed using the ebt-translation tag in the advanced search box.


This page is not mine. It is ours. Please edit as you see fit. :pray:

If the new material is extensive, it may even deserve a page on its own. For example, I do not use advanced research since I like random surprises so a huge block of advanced feature documentation on an introductory page might overwhelm. It’s a matter of utility and preference. as perceived by each contributor to the wiki.

I am also personally bewildered by the search contexts and do not have a clear picture of the green the brown toolbars and where on earth everything is let alone searching for something. It does seem to work. I know there are contexts but not enough to document them.

Bhante Sujato suggested that search itself is changing, so a light, nimble touch on your suggestion of advanced feature documentation might be called for since it might need to be changed. As we iterate on documentation and development, my hope is that we may converge to Bhante Sujato’s vision of software that explains itself without documentation. The existence of documentation informs the development, and so on. :smiley:

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That’s great thanks, but I just wanted to be sure that you were happy about adding tips for the forum website which is different from the SuttaCentral website (which is the main focus of your wiki for now based on your title and content). So I’ll add that tip at the bottom under a new paragraph entitled ‘SuttaCentral Discuss & Discover’.

Actually, I just noticed that I could not edit your post… I checked another wiki I edited in the past and I can see the edit button, but not for this opening post…?

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Whoa! I thought my post was the wiki. Now I am VERY confused. Help! How do I make the first post into a wiki page editable by all?

Please add a note that when searching for a sutta there should not be a space between the sutta name and the term “sutta” - e.g search for ānapānassatisutta to find MN118.

Note that at this stage the search is not smart enough to place diacritics where they should be, so if you search for anapanassatisutta you’ll find nothing! :sweat: I hope @blake and @sujato will be able to fix improve it soon!


Any further progress on this issue


Perhaps you can write a section on SC Voice search? :slightly_smiling_face:

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Anagarika @Sabbamita, I think we might want to look more closely at SC Voice search for a future release. I could not find ānapānassatisutta using Voice and I’m not sure why that is happening. I had thought these issues were fixed but there may be more…

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Very much agree!



Hello @karl_lew and all,

Elsewhere the use of the word “AND” (with a space on both sides) followed by a search term has been documented. So we can search, for example, for

Elsewhere the use of search qualifier “uid:” followed by a search string possibly containing the wildcard “*” has been documented. A “uid” refers to the short name of a text, e.g., SN56.11. Therefore, the following can be used to search for the word dukkha in the Suttanipata: dukkha AND uid:snp*

Unfortunately, the following search (probably intended to find only terms in MN) also picks up terms in MND. But there’s hope. Read on.

Here’s a few undocumented search features that I’ve stumbled on.

We can add the qualifier “AND NOT” (again with spaces before and after) to restrict the query. So, for example, we can look for texts that include the word dukkha, but not the word anicca: dukkha AND NOT anicca

But, oh no, this has english texts and the search was probably looking only for Pali texts. There’s more hope. Read on. First we can fix the query above intended to search only in the MN: dukkha AND uid:mn* AND NOT uid:mnd*.

Now for the additional qualifiers. The one’s I’ve found are “author:” and “lang:” (for language). So we can restrict a search to Pali texts by adding " AND lang:pli" and to translations by Bhikkhu Sujato by adding " AND author:sujato".

Hopefully new search features will let us do things like that through a GUI. Enjoy.



David, thanks for the search feedback. @Blake is working on a new search engine which is both powerful and fast. The new ArangoDB implementation should be available soon. The first priority will be to replicate the existing SuttaCentral feature set. I imagine the undocumented features will also be included (@Blake?). I myself was unaware of the AND and AND NOT features of SC search. I’m more used to Voice, which has a different search strategy that doesn’t rely on Boolean operators.

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