SuttaCentral Publications

I wanted to let y’all know about some ideas we have cooking, namely the development of “publications” for SuttaCentral. This has come up in a number of conversations, so I thought I’d address it front on.

what is a “publication”

A publication is more-or-less a “book”. But not a book in the sense of a physical entity with pages, rather in the concept of a book which can be expressed in multiple forms, including but not limited to, paper printing.

  • web
  • epub
  • pdf
  • print (from pdf)
  • audio

The content of a publication is more or less what you would expect from a traditional “book” of suttas. That is to say, it would include:

  • A collection of suttas
    • typically a nikaya, etc.
  • front matter and back matter

The front and back matter might include such things as:

  • cover
  • title page
  • licensing/publication page
  • table of contents
  • preface
  • bio
  • acknowledgements
  • introduction
  • index
  • notes
  • appendices
  • and so on.

The idea is that this “matter” will be wrapped up together with the sutta “content” to make up a “publication”. Then you can have a specific entity that collects the relevant material for that publication, eg. a epub file, a physical book, an audio book, etc. In each case, the content will be adapted to the form; for example, physical books are limited by size, whereas an epub is not.

We’ll develop a UI on SuttaCentral so that you can download the “publication” in your preferred form, or eg. order a book online. In addition, the API will be available for those who wish to develop their own specialized “publications”.


Publications are primarily intended for complete translations of major divisions of scripture. It only includes new translations made by SuttaCentral on our Bilara software, and will not be extended to cover legacy translations.

Initially we’ll focus on the English translations by myself and Ven Brahmali, then extend it to other languages.

Partial translations are not in immediate scope. Nor is publishing root languages a priority: there are plenty of printed and electronic editions already. But we may extend the concept in time to allow such things, as well as customization of output in various ways.


We’re still in early stages, but I am hoping to build this in Q1 2022.

Let us know any ideas you have, and to learn more, check out our (incomplete and evolving!) project on Github.


Great idea!

It’s great to have publications with the quality and guarantee of Sutta Central

could start with the PDF Books of what has already been translated…

Tipitaka PDF
Sutta Pitaka PDF
Digha Nikaya PDF
and other Nikayas

then we could think of a printed version of the books…

and in parallel to that the AudioBooks

and could do the same with other languages…

Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi…

Once each language completes a Nikaya, you can consider doing the same: PDF, print and AudioBook.

I think SuttaCentral has achieved the great goal of making the Suttas available in English and various languages online and offline…

SuttaCentral Publications could be a great project for the future.

if SuttaCentral assembles a large team of volunteers… I think it’s possible.



Your English translation and Pāli text side-by -side perhaps Bhante?

I find myself using SC with this setting always on😁

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for an ebook or audiobook, maybe. I’m not sure if it’d make sense for print, though.


Since you helped me use bilara i/o about a year ago I’ve been doing my sutta reading of your translation on an ebook reader with Pali followed by English line by line. Although I am mostly reading the English, I think it’s a wonderful way to work with the text. With the Pail in bold, I’m able to skip over it without even thinking now, and only refer back to it when needed.

I don’t know how many people would do this on an e-ink device, but I believe it fills a much needed gap. If at all possible I’d love to see this line by line option as part of the initial release. It shouldn’t be that hard for the big benefit it would give.

Side by side, although wonderful for print, seems just too complicated to be worth it in an initial release.

The only difficulty I’ve come across is the fact that verses are also line by line, even when the translation is not matching line by line, kind of making it pointless. So for verses, alternating Pali and English verse by verse makes much more sense to me.

Thanks for all the hard work!!