I’m a bhikkhu living in Myanmar. I recently started to read at least 1 sutta a day as part of my practice.
I have been experiencing great benefits of learning directly from the suttas, so I am very thankful to Sutta Central and ATI for being such helpful and amazing sources to access all that wisdom.
Also I realize that what was keeping me and many others from reading suttas, is that we feel overwhelmed by the amount of suttas, our lack of understanding of the way they are classified and not knowing which are the appropriate ones for our level of understanding.
Even though, we live in an era of search technologies, I think that what is lacking to make the suttas more accessible, is an easier and effective way to classify them.
Therefore I just started a project to catalog suttas with the following aims:
• To classify the suttas in a way that facilitates learning providing: motivation, relevance, meaning, interest & promotes memorization
• Facilitates finding the right sutta at the right time for any person
• To find Awakening triggers
• Arrange the suttas to discern patterns easily
• Encourage & promotes reading suttas
The categories I’m using so far are:
The main information from the cards of Suttacentral and also:
- Subject: to find suttas related to our interests
- Topics: Index of topics explained in the sutta
- Key contents: to point out the main aspects and to help remind them
- Similes: useful for remember teachings and to find suttas
- Training: sila, samadhi or pañña
- Stage: introduction, beginning, middle, final or end
- Aspect: practical, doctrinal, biographical, protection or cosmological
- Teacher: Having some sense of the teacher’s credentials can help assess the context of the teachings
- Listeners and amount: knowing this can help us assess how appropriate a particular teaching is for us
- Result: identify Awakening triggers & the effects of the sutta
- Methods: lecture, story, verses, q & a, or mixed
- Suggestions ( from ATI) To investigate further the topic.
I chose those categories based on the article: Befriending with the suttas from ATI and on the 1st part of strategies of smart reading which is a systematic skimming, from https://fastertomaster.com/how-to-read-a-book-mortimer-j-adler/.
This classification can help:
• Narrow down the selection according to the interest of someone unfamiliar with suttas
• Quickly find specific sutta for someone who already read it
• Point out some important aspects of the suttas
• Easily recall some key aspects of the suttas
I have been working on it as a spread sheet because it is easy to imput, modify, classify and filter information, but I realize that is not so easy to read and also it has structural limitations, for example some suttas have different topics and subjects in one sutta, so it will be better to use a more flexible database.
While thinking on this improvement it also came to my mind the idea to implement this catalog as a page in Sutta Central or as an offline app similar to the catalogs attached.
So I would like to hear your opinions about this idea, recommendations about other categories and suggestions on what would be the best database formats that are compatible, based on or can enhance what you already have.
Thank you for your attention