What is your system for compiling Sutta passages?

Compiling important and inspirational Sutta passages is beneficial. It is useful when explaining teachings, but it is especially valuable to inspire and develop one’s faith (saddhā).

While simply noting down passages on a piece of paper can work, there comes a point where some organization is important. Maybe passages can be organized by topic, by degree of importance, by Nikāya, or some other way. Some might compile passages in notebooks, while some might compile them digitally in a text file/application. Some might write down the whole passage, while some might simply note down the numbering.

I am curious to know how others are going about this.

What is your system to compile Sutta passages? How do you organize it? What methods have you found to work well? What categories do you separate your passages? How do you reorganize the passages once the compilation gains more volume? Do you have annotations?


I’ll just say that, whatever method you use, the most important thing is memorize the parts you think are the most important, and reflect on it frequently, daily, hourly, minutely, breath by breath. If you don’t have it memorized, or you memory of it is fuzzy, then your reflection of it will be fuzzy, and your execution of those instruction from the Buddha will be fuzzy leading to potentially hazardous results.


I use google keep and copy-paste important stuff.

I have around 30-40 notes such as " all quotes on kamma" etc. I call it the “Dhamma Compendium” and I especially use it prior to giving a talk on a topic I haven’t done enough to fully flush out.

I started doing it years ago close to the beginning of reading through the Saṃyutta Nikaya, and now through almost finished Anguttara and will continue to do so as I begin a second read through of the Nikayas after the Anguttara.

It’s also great for quickly getting sutta references for myself or others that ask, or when i’m putting together a mini retreat. With the search function I have deep dhamma at my fingertips.


Thank you, Bhante. I’ll look into Google Keep. While digital doesn’t feel as natural as paper, the search function and speed of writing do outweigh this. :slight_smile:

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for me its about function, sure I could have 4-5 big binders of notes from reading the suttas, but am I really going to carry that around with me? how long would it take me to find what I’m looking for ? what if I do a lot of monastery wandering?

to have not all the nikayas and pdfs I could ever read related to the dhamma , all on a device that fits in my hands and I can take with me anywhere, is far too useful :).

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Do you have the PDF/ePub versions of the Wisdom Publications Nikāyas? With certain apps on devices, it is possible to select and then highlight or annotate parts of the text.

Like you said, there is a very big advantage in carrying a tablet with multiple Nikāyas on it, versus always having to carry the book versions, each weighing a few kilograms. I have some of the physical Nikāyas, since reading on paper feels like a real book, but I have digital versions as well.


I use Microsoft Word. Sometimes synopses, sometimes verbatim. I organize as it’s numerically presented and make good use of the table of contents. The basic distinction I make is based on what I judge as important and this leads to “tiers” of suttas.

Definitely a work in progress.

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yes one of the last things I did before moving to the monastery was buy the ebooks from amazon for my kindle, so I had the physical copies and digital. I donated my physical copies to make a small library in the men’s dorm here, so now all I have and use are the digital ones.

I also have all the nikayas in the pali and use heavily the Digital Pali Reader(which I credit for getting me as far into Pali as I’ve come, that program is a life and time saver), again all to be had in the palm of my hand.