So in the Digha, many suttas have a series of headings. These are a feature of the MS text, and are not found in the manuscripts, nor in many translations. I have been translating them, though: I love a structured text!
The Pali text gives explicit numbers for them. I’m not sure if this is a good idea, though. Since the numbering is not really intrinsic to the text, normally numbers are added automatically. This has advantages:
- keeping the text clean,
- ensuring consistency,
- allowing the numbers to be formatted, (though this could be emulated by regexing them into a span)
- allowing them to be displayed or not according to context. (ditto)
It is in principle the right thing to do.
However, there are arguments for the other side, too.
- Hard coded numbers are more robust,
- the source text has them (but we could remove them)
- many translations use them, often inconsistently (should we respect the translator’s choice?)
- Due to elision, it is not always going to be the case that the heading numbers can be inferred; i.e. some implied headings will be omitted but should still be counted. This will mostly be in obscure Abhidhamma texts, but still.
So far I have not been adding them to my translation. But that last point is bugging me: I am really not sure how to address it.
If we are to move to not having heading numbers, we should remove them from all texts to ensure consistency.
All in all, I’m leaning to including them in the new translations, and regexing them into a span through all texts that have them. It’s not pretty, but it should work okay.