SuttaCentral Voice Assistant

That is quite vexing. Especially since it works for me. :see_no_evil:
Usually I just type 50.18 and let the browser auto-fill whatever worked last.
With the DNS, all should be better eventually.
But we’re not quite ready. I plan on some more key features before submitting SC-Voice for approval by Bhante Sujato.

  1. Sutta download for iPhone (with the help of Dropbox, etc.). Last nite I did walking meditation with Amy for an hour and the experience of walking barefoot through the night streets listening to MN10 was quite remarkable. I will document the process for doing this.
  2. Search by keyword in Supported content (i.e., segmented)
  3. Search by suit-and-tie sutta reference if @Blake and I can find a way to make that happen
  4. Add in Pali Vinaya work currently in progress

@Blake, also note that the external URL format will change in v0.5.0


I know that one! The mappings are here:

We include a space in the acronym, not in the uid, though of course someone searching wouldn’t know that. From experience, it’s common for people to either use a space or not, so both cases should be catered for.

That’s very admirable from a point of view of spiritual development, but I don’t really know what it means for a website!

Right. Well, we have done our best to build the main site on that kind of logic, and it gets complicated very quickly. I suspect it would be best to keep “voice” as simple as possible.

Normally if someone suggested such a thing, I would invoke Sujato’s First Commandment of Web Development:

“Thou shalt not implement in thy website functionality already present in thy browser.”

You can find what you’ve read by searching your History. But does that work for users of Voice? I don’t know!

I mean there are thousands of them. Not sure how this can be made useful.

What might be useful is a notice at the start of a sutta to alert a user that they have listened to it before?

I am not really a fan of this kind of thing, because it ends up just sending people to the half-dozen suttas that are already well known. If even the recommendation algorithms on Amazon are so terrible, how can we hope to do better? “You’ve read one sutta on the aggregates: here’s a hundred more!”

Having said which, we could supply a simple list of recommended suttas? And perhaps a more comprehensive list based on the texts chosen by Ven Bodhi for In the Buddha’s Words?

1 Like


Simplicity wins! :pray:

Once I read this I realized that the problem I was trying to solve with the “popular suttas list” was the bland blankness of the empty home page.

The suggestion of a curated list of suttas for study and discussion would be so much better than my “Kilroy was here sutta list”. A simple JSON file on Github could inform both SuttaCentral main site and SuttaCentral Voice Assistant. Maybe something like:

   "monthly_blurb": "This month we explore the root of suffering",
   "suttas":  [ "mn1/en/sujato", ... ]

Uh Oh. I found a mapping that is not 1-to-1. We have two uid’s for one acronym, so entering “Ds” is ambiguious:

    "uid": "ds",
    "acro": "Ds",
    "name": "Dhammasaṅgaṇī"
    "uid": "dhs",
    "acro": "Ds",
    "name": "Dhammasaṅgaṇī"

To resolve the ambiguity, I will be picking the first.

Here is the Search Guide

P.s., Bhante @sujato and @blake have been sent invitations to be sc-voice Admins.


Release 0.5.0 at 18:45UTC (<5min) RELEASE COMPLETED

This is the mobile/offline listening release. Now you can take your suttas on the go by downloading them to your phone. Tune into seclusion on the bus, downtown or on walkabout.

This release also includes support for entering formal sutta abbreviations in the search box (e.g., “Thag 1.1”)

release notes

Please report any issues here. The next release will focus on search for SC-Voice


This is a mistake, I have fixed it; it should be Ds/ds:

Amazing, congratulations! :fire: :pray:


Continued thanks, Karl! :pray:

Are you still taking notes of curious pronunciations?

If so:

SN18.3 as read by Raveena

  • “ear”
  • “learned” (in this context I think it should be pronounced “learn-ed”)

Thank you for the feedback! Keep it coming. I keep finding and correcting things myself.

Hmm. I can’t 'ear anything wrong with “ear”. Americans would say it differently but it sounds like British “ear” to me (i.e., “e-uh”)?

Yes, I’ve also found that Raveena and Amy have trouble with homographs like “learn-ed”. They apparently have not been trained with the particular examples of SN18.3. It definitely is wrong, but it’s an Amazon Web Services issue out of our control, sadly. If I change it, then the other pronunciation will be affected. (i.e., “I learned to meditate”)

I’ve created a new wiki page to list mispronunciations


SuttaCentral Voice Assistant v0.6.0 at UTC 0040 (~5min)

This release is for search.

There is a lot to explore. Have fun. Report issues. Make suggestions.
Happy studying!


Fair-dos, definitely a boarder line thing in any case. I guess my British ears, obviously aren’t British enough… or maybe do you mean British aristocracy (they surely can come out with all sorts of wild pronunciations)? :wink: :grin:



Perhaps we shall have to wait and see how Meghan Markle and Prince Harry address this conundrum. Let’s 'ear it!


As folks are diving into the spoken suttas, mispronunciations are surfacing.

First, thank you all very much for listening so mindfully!
Second, here is a list of current mispronunciations that will be fixed in the next release.

Raveena will always pronounce Pali better than Amy. This is because Raveena’s phoneme basis is larger than Amy’s and includes phonetic support for “bh” and other subtleties. This is why all the Pali search results are spoken by Raveena. Interestingly, I’ve personally started to learn Pali just by listening to Raveena speak search results. As you search for stuff, please do listen to Raveena’s Pali quotes–there should be ample room for correction here.



SuttaCentral Voice Assistant v0.7.0 Release at UTC 1435 (~5min) RELEASE COMPLETED

  • Romanized Pali search: Now you can type “jhana” and directly get Bhante Sujato’s translations. When a search pattern consists entirely of [a-z] characters, it is expanded into a full regular expression with Pali characters. For example, if you enter “jhana”, then SC-Voice will search for “jh(a|ā)(n|ṅ|ñ|ṇ)(a|ā)” anywhere in the sutta file, which includes Pali as well as English. Bhante Sujato translates jhāna as absorption, and the search results will show absorption in the English quote and jhāna in the Pali quote (e.g., AN10.72). Similarly, entering “sariputta” will find “Sariputta” or “Sāriputta”.
  • DN33 voice failure: At two hours spoken by Amy, DN33 exceeded SC-Voice internal limits. DN33 is now downloadable for offline listening
  • Mispronunciations: ariyasaccan'ti, preoccupations, purifications, immeasurables, purities, staunchly, smith’s (and about 350 more corrections)
  • Downloader alert: Chrome download is silent for assisted users, so SC-Voice now has its own download alert that notifies user if download has completed or timed out after 60 seconds

With this release, we can now search for things like “third jhana” as a mixture of romanized Pali and English:

The next release will wrap up this feature cycle with auto-sectioning so that assisted users can traverse huge suttas such as DN33. With that release. SuttaCentral Voice features will be frozen as v1.0.0 and followed with minor releases for mispronunciations. If you have any feature requests, please make them now while the code is understood and before it evaporates from my brain–it takes a while for the future me to understand what the past me was doing.

Bhante @sujato, I’ll be submitting the v0.8.0 release to you for review and approval for re-release as v1.0.0. The v0.8.0 release will just have suttas sectioned by leading numbered text segment (with the section UI shown in MN1). I can easily use SC-Voice with my eyes closed or half-open, so I think it works for at least one assisted user. I no longer use grep on the command line since SC-Voice does better. I will be spending my time listening to the suttas and will fix mispronunciations as discovered but have no further plans after v1.0.0 unless there is additional need.


As ever, superb, superb, long-going applause!


Well, I’m terribly sorry to abuse this kind invitation, but I’ll throw everything I can at you (users are just horrible! :grinning:)…

The one thing I really would appreciate above all, would be if my voice preference could be remembered globally.

After that more some casual thoughts you shouldn’t take too seriously:

  • an option to choose if suttas opened from search results open in a new window or not.
  • an option for segment highlighting as the sutta is read
  • this may 1) come out in the wash with integration with SC ‘main’, or 2) be too much bother to bother with, but friendly URLs would be lovely. It’d be great if eg. I wanted to send someone a link to a particular sutta I’d be able to do so knowing a simple pattern as with SC.

Aminah, you are horribly kind in the best way. :pray:

This one is subtle and we’ll need to explore. Currently SCV has two voices for sutta recitation (SlowAmy and FastRaveena) and a third voice (SlowRaveena) for search results. The sutta recitation voices are remembered globally in the URL as iVoice=0 for SlowAmy and iVoice=1 for FastRaveena. This means that simply bookmarking a page freezes your preferences. To bookmark an empty SCV page with your global preferences, just click on the upper left Dhamma wheel to clear the page, then set your preferences and bookmark the result. Now you’ll always have the page set up as you like. You can even mail your urls to other people so that they can hear and see your exact setup. I think (?) you can get what you want globally by doing this rather roundabout trick of bookmarking your preferred blank search page. Perhaps an easier way will occur to one.

Oh and if the URL’s are long and cumbersome, just use or any other URL shortening website. Here’s an example of DN33:

The search results currently use SlowRaveena (a third voice) to speak the Pali quotes (which are quite the tongue twisters). Sadly, Amy butchers Pali search results rather horribly and I dread offering her as a viable option (she simply lacks the phonemes and would assault all our ears to the point of demented screaming). However I was lazy and applied SlowRaveena to the English search quotes as well since I didn’t think anyone would actually click the English search results (the English quote button is actually not available for assisted users who will presumably be suffering with the vocalizations of their screen reader (which is truly horrible with Pali). Are search result voices fine as is or did you want customization of search result voices such as global Amy for English search results?

Ah! I can easily make search results take over current window. This gives you the simple option of CTRL-click to open up a new window. I’d assumed that everybody wants a new window, but will change that for v0.8.0.

I now have a vague idea of how this might be possible. One way to handle this would be to have a sutta player that shows adjacent quotes (just like a search result). When a quote is spoken, the player would automatically bring up and read aloud the next segment. You would see quotes in succession as they are spoken. Such a player would have Back, Stop/Play, Next buttons. It would also recite in English or Pali continuously depending on your selection of Play buttons (one for English and one for Pali as in search results). Is this vague vision of interest?

I too would like the linking of to Only @blake and Bhante @sujato can make this possible. I cannot do this. It requires domain owner permission.

Yes. It’s not quite as easy as, which can be typed without needing the website. Once we get the link I can start experimenting with a similar syntax


Karl, you are working at such a fast pace that I can’t keep up to follow. I highly appreciate your work, but unfortunately am not able to test and give feedback. I simply can’t find the time. :stopwatch:

But what you do is of high value to me! :heart:


:heart_eyes: How marvellous! Thanks! It’s like Christmas and puppies and I didn’t even have to wait for a new release. This is brilliant.

For me it’s not so much that they are too long and cumbersome, it’s that they’re not workout-able. I guess it might make more sense if I mention the actual example case that first made me think about it. I was talking to someone about updating the reading guide thread that lists the suttas given in Bhikkhu Bodhi’s In the Bhuddha’s Words with sutta links (as the D&D sutta links no longer work); it only takes a minute to regex them in. At that point I thought, it would be kind of neat to link to audio versions and that is how I came to look at SCV’s URLs.

I only mention this by way of explanation, and already presumed it was likely not waters to step into now, that is to say,

Amen! :grin:

Most certainly, but I’d emphasise the ‘vague’ and I’d not let it knock you off course with core development. It’d be nice to have but I don’t think essential. Again to give you the ‘backstory’: the readings are pretty incredible, but as we know some pronunciations are a bit off. I was listening to a sutta and wasn’t sure about a word so just wanted to scroll down and see where the reading had got up to to check the mystery word.

I can’t second this heartily enough. I know your original impetus was to assist people with visually impairments. My sight is actually pretty good at the moment, but I am dyslexic and can really find reading a bit of a mission. It is such a gift to me to have the option of just wiping out a layer of strain.


Makes total sense. I like Bhante Sujato’s suggestion of an audio link on the sutta card. A sutta card is the gateway to all resources for a sutta. This means that simply using the SC link as you have been doing would provide access to all the audio versions. Such an implementation would probably fall to @blake and/or the UI design team for SC itself under Bhante Sujato’s gentle guidance.

Perfectly reasonable. I’ll add it to the list for v0.8.0. I would like that as well for the same reason.

Ahhhhhhhh. Thanks for the clarfication. I just came back from walking meditation and was wondering if you were thinking about hearing and seeing the suttas in a way analogous to the way kasinis engage the eyes. With voice technology, you could actually sit meditation and simply regard the suttas spoken in both English and Pali with corresponding text on the screen in front of you. Imagine doing just that for two hours with DN33 (!). I can’t read that well right now, but I think that would be quite the immersive experience. Just walking to DN33 I’ve started noticed odd things like a particular street marks the hearing of the start of the “Three’s” section. One will eventually be able to walk the streets in one’s head to hear the suttas. :hushed:


Just to say another sadhu! along with everyone else, and to confirm that, as soon as you are ready to go, we will be happy to shift to

As far as integration with the main site goes, we can launch a basic integration, simply mentioning Voice on the Home page, quite quickly, and deeper integration when we can.

It would be really nice to find some ways to promote Voice through places that would reach people with visual disabilities. I wonder how that could be done?


Bhante, thank you for your kind offer. I think we are ready to link to static IP This will provide a single point of reference for those who wish to memorize. It will also provide a single point of reference for SuttaCentral content links. With this single DNS binding, we can easily move to different cloud vendors, etc. in the future.

I did some research on this and found a mixture of things:

  • organizations such as American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) will focus their site on resources to help all blind people rather than any particular religious organization.
  • We could post an answer on Quora but it’s a bit random.
  • The Jewish solution for this problem is well-developed and suggests that resources for visual assistance should be offered within the context of the hosting religious site, such as SuttaCentral or AccessToInsight. I would recommend this contextual approach as most useful since it specifically targets blind people interested in Buddhism.

Before approaching AccessToInsight, I believe we should follow your recommendation of a link on the Home Page, perhaps under a section for Communities and/or Resources. The design and layout of any Home page is quite subtle and balances many considerations–which puts it “well above my pay-grade”. Once we are happy with a SuttaCentral solution, one might approach AccessToInsight to see if they would be interested in working together on resources for the visually impaired. The approach taken by SuttaCentral Voice rests squarely on the text segmentation you have pioneered and the discussion with AccessToInsight would potentially become intricate for that very reason. SuttaCentral Voice does provide links to other audio resources such as Pali Audio and frankk’s recordings (with more to come from Viveka and others). However, I think the folks at AccessToInsight might be interested in spoken versions of their own translations shown and played from within SCV itself. Hence the requisite intricacies of what to do about text segmentation and/or copyright.