The use of ellipses in online suttas

I’m guessing that this has been discussed to death by the developers, but I’m wondering about the use of ellipses in the new online sutta translations. Of course in print it makes a great deal of sense to cut down on the paper used.

The ellipses used can make the suttas much more readable which is great, but if you alight on a sutta via a link it might not be clear what the sutta is saying or where you should go to find the missing information. It would be nice to have the best of both worlds where if you click on an ellipsis it displays the missing text. Also sometimes it’s just really nice to read the repetitions.


Thanks Stu.
Will give your feedback to @Sujato also :slight_smile:


@Vimala @sujato
I still haven’t been able to access the new site, but I totally agree with @stu here. I love being able to read the repetitions without having to flip pages back and forth. To me the suttas are more readable without the ellipses.


I have just run into this issue with for vision impaired assistance and it is a bit troubling. Our ability to scan visually is unavailable to the vision impaired. The vision impaired are listening here and now. The ellipsis will garble the Dhamma transmission for the vision impaired:

From Horner MN1:

He intuitively knows liquid as liquid; from intuitively knowing liquid as liquid, let him not think of liquid, let him not think (of self) in (regard to) liquid, let him not think (of self as) liquid, let him not think, ‘Liquid is mine.’ Let him not rejoice in liquid. What is the reason for this? I say it is because it may be thoroughly understood by him.

From Sujato MN1:

They directly know water …

Solution #1: , Add special machine-readable comments to reference the source templates for each ellipsis. These special comments would provide word-for-word substitution (e.g., water-> earth). Such comments would expand suttas to their full length for online reading while preserving source brevity.

Solution #2 would simply expand the ellipses as an ongoing effort. If the current online brevity is desirable to some as a reading aid, we could come up with some “reader’s digest” software to summarize suttas by inserting ellipses when viewed.

Solution #3 Have software “figure out” what the ellipses mean. This is a bit tricky even for humans, so I mention this as a theoretical possibility awaiting an AI breakthrough.

I do think we need to solve this to move forward for the vision impaired… It’s a bit of a blocker

Thoughts very much appreciated since most solutions would require changing the sutta sources and require corresponding checks and balances for review and editing.