Searching using PTS references

Hi all,

Can anyone provide some background as how we search for suttas with only a PTS reference. For example…(DN III 213; SN V 66; SN V 105), cant seem to get it right, thanks.


@Bhante_Darma Hello, Bhante. What I have found helpful is looking up the text you’re working with on Access to Insight. See here for DN:

Next to the English name of the sutta you will see the PTS reference in brackets. You just have to scan down the page until you identify that a reference is in between one provided reference and the next, or is exactly at the start or end of a sutta. I hope this helps.


There is this section on looking up refs in the general sutta guide:

Alas, it doesn’t offer all that much practical help in answering your Q.

To the best of my knowledge, the search function on SC doesn’t include PTS references, and the way that I’ve been able to find your examples certainly is terribly cumbersome (but, in fairness, so are the PTS references and my guess would be that, the “hope [they are] swiftly abandoned in favor of proper semantic references” mentioned in the link above is why this search capability hasn’t been developed).

Nethertheless, the way I found the example references (solely using SC (and my browser)) was by navigating to the nikaya, using page search (Ctrl + F) to find the right sutta, and (if necessary, ie the ref is pointing to a specific paragraph within the sutta, rather than the start of it) then the textual information in the given sutta through another page search.

So for DN III 213,

Coming onto the SN examples, we find that, shucks, the SN is really long; (who knew!) The suttas from the fifth PTS book won’t load when we just go to https://…/sn (to load all the sutta cards for the SN would slow things down a lot, so only smaller chunks get loaded as you scroll). What to do?!

The only option using the site I could think of was to make an educated guess / allow for a little trial and error for the first couple of steps given above:

And then there are some also imperfect external options:

(1) Google it.

If the pts ref is to the sutta start, you should have pretty good luck just using the ref directly with something like:

"AN iii 53" site: -site: -site: -site:

The first result gives the book of this ref and the second result is the sutta itself (which you can tell from the URL).

If it is not a sutta starting ref, then things get a little more hit-and-miss, but for the SN & AN it might be marginally less faff then as given above to start with the ref (eg SN v 66) and decrease the page number by one until you find the beginning of the sutta:

"SN v 64" site: -site: -site: -site:

(2) Use Leigh Braisington’s PTS cross-reference page. This is employing the same page search principle as above, but as this is a single, simple html page with all the sutta references it works much more effectively.

  • using Ctrl + F with the term s v 6 I very easily find that SN46.2 is the sutta I need,
  • I can then just do some simple URL manipulation to find the exact bit I want on SC inserting the relevant piece of info retrieved into the “???” of the basic URL model
    • Pali:
    • Eng:

I keenly invite better answers than this!


I use the PTS Converter: :wink:

Note that the Dīgha Nikāya is abbreviated as D, the Majjhima Nikāya as M, the Saṁyutta Nikāya as S, and the Aṅguttara Nikāya as A.

Credit goes to @lska for first pointing out this tool!


How can I give five :heart:s to this solution? Thank you!


I just made this tool that could save people some time converting PTS to sutta numbers: PTS Reference to Sutta Number Converter

It uses the same data as the other one posted here but has a search/copy & paste function. Also you should be able to “add it to home screen” and it should work offline too. Any issues let me know on GitHub if you can.


As well as the other tools people have mentioned, there’s this convertor that I’ve been using for a while now. Sutta Number to PTS reference converter | Learn Pali Language

It lacks the ability to convert KN references, however.