SuttaCentral Translations For Pirivenas

We are proud to announce the SuttaCentral Translations For Pirivenas project. The aim is to sponsor the printing of 1,000 sets of English translations of the Sutta and Vinaya, to be distributed to all of the monastic education centers of Sri Lanka, the Pirivenas.

This project was developed by Deepika Weerakoon in conjunction with Venerable Kotaneluwe Punnananda, the assistant director of the Pirivena education unit in Sri Lanka. It proceeds with the agreement and support of the Maha Nayaka theros of the Amarapura–Rāmañña Nikāya and the Malwatta and Asgiriya chapters of the Siam Nikaya. The nikayas undertook an extensive review of the translations to ensure they met their needs.

Each set consists of:

  • Vinayapiṭaka — 6 volumes
  • Dīghanikāya — 3 volumes
  • Majjhimanikāya — 3 volumes
  • Saṁyuttanikāya — 5 volumes
  • Aṅguttaranikāya — 5 volumes
  • Khuddakanikāya — Dhammapada, Udāna, Itivuttaka, Suttanipāta, Theragāthā, Therīgāthā; 1 volume each

That makes 28 volumes in each set of translations, which is 28,000 physical books in total. The books will be printed in excellent quality hard cover with sewn bindings. The printing will be handled by the premier Lake House printers of Sri Lanka.

Our aim is to provide a lasting presence of accurate and readable translations in English for the Sri Lankan Sangha. All of us have so much gratitude for Sri Lanka, her people, and her Sangha, through whom the Dhamma has passed down to us. Time for us to give something back. :pray:

You can donate to this project through Raisely:


It would be really wonderful if this project included the many, many bhikkhunis in Sri Lanka as well.
There’s already a gap in access to support and education between bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, and it’s worth the effort to make sure that we try to lessen the gap instead of making it even bigger.

To my knowledge (and I’m happy to be corrected by a more knowledgeable person), the pirivenas only provide education for bhikkhus, not for bhikkhunis.


Absolutely. And it’s not just the Bhikkhunis who are outside of the government Pirivena system. There are many aranyas/forest monasteries who could benefit from these texts. Some of them have a high concentration of foreigners who desperately need access to Bhante’s modern translations. And a lot of the Pirivenas are primary schools where it is doubtful that children will know enough English to read them. Even in the higher grades, as I understand, the monks’ English skills are not always high.

I know several monasteries in Sri Lanka where the monks are actually preaching in English (to locals and foreigners) and they won’t be able to benefit from this project. It would be nice if these non-pirivena locations aren’t going to be included in the main project then at least people could sponsor sets for them.

I don’t mean to criticize this excellent project. Just to highlight the situation on the ground.


Exactly. I think its best use is for foreigners practising or becoming a monk in Sri Lanka, as the traditional Sinhalese versions of Tipitaka seem like the main go-to for local Sinhalese monastics. At least from what I observe in Na Uyana, many monks’ English standards are such that they have difficulty communicating with foreigners.


Pirivenas are classified based on their educational levels, with some offering primary and secondary education, while others, like the Vidyodaya and Vidyalankara Pirivenas, have evolved into major universities. Today, these institutions play a crucial role in education, recognized and regulated by the Sri Lankan government. They serve monks, nuns and lay students pursuing religious education. I guess if it is a college for male students only female students will be unable to enrol.

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It would be, but it is unfortunately not within our power. It does seem to me, though, that in the long term the barriers to inclusion for bhikkhunis are eroding in Sri Lanka, and I hope that, even if some of these books are in places not used directly by bhikkhunis at this time, that will change in future.

I should have made it more clear in the OP that we are fulfilling a request by the Sri Lankan Pirivena authorities. If the monastics in bhikkhuni monasteries or arannyas want to print books, let them get in touch and we will help them as well.

Indeed. The point is that there are some Sri lankan monastics who will benefit from having English as well. Sri Lanka was once a a vibrant source of high-level English language Dhamma studies, but this has mostly fallen away due to changes in education policies and priorities.

Government policy is now to encourage English learning among the Sangha.