[ Come Beggar! ]
Finding the Pali Texts
The suttas in the original Pali, in Roman script are available in several ways on the web and in book form from The Pali Text Society.
Additionally, a number of suttas are available via the Index of Suttas. Hereafter, as suttas are translated and made available on this site they will be accompanied by, and linked to, the Pali.||
At this time the Pali version exists here for each sutta translated by Bhikkhu Thanissaro, for all the Suttas translated by myself, and for all the Pali Text Society and Wisdom Publications suttas included on this site. Warning: most of these Pali suttas have not been carefully proofed. As they come up individually they are being formatted for clarity and proofed against the Pali Text Society text.
To obtain the Pali texts in Book form:
Viewing the Tipitaka on line:
The Sri Lanka Buddha Jayanti Tipitaka Series. (It is this set of suttas that is being re-formatted and proofed for inclusion on this site.)
Locate individual suttas, their English translations (both on-line here and in book form), and to locate the version here if it exists, visit the Sutta Index.
The Tipitaka on CD:
Vipassana Research Institute You will need to hunt around. Location and edition changes frequently.
Digital Tipitaka Development Team, Mahidol University Computing Center, Thailand (Thai edition):
The complete Tipitaka can be downloaded from:
Food for Thought:
Putting together the "Index of Suttas" I again was confronted by the miles and miles of suttas which are only represented by "pe", meaning (same as previous, ditto, but almost always with one word or idea changed). This has always bothered me...all the abbreviations have bothered me...because although I understand the need where the Pali Text Society was concerned (they are linguists, not Buddhists) (miles and miles of "wasted" paper); and even where those who set this down in writing were concerned (days and days of "unnecessary" work), what has essentially happened is that a significant aspect of the Dhamma has been obscured.
There are ways of seeing this collection of suttas that are only possible to grasp when one has a reasonable grasp of the complete collection in one's head...(and I am sure there are levels above this as well as one gains an ever more thorough grasp). I cite The Book of Ones as a good representative example of what is happening in the entire collection: ideas are being spun out in intricate loops so that any given "dhamma" or chunk of the system is being applied to every other chunk of the system and every aspect of that dhamma is being related to by every other aspect and so on (a form of sutta delivery known as a "Wheel").
Say a Dhamma consists of A, B, C.
Then another consists of D,E, F.
The idea is to spin out the sets against each other.
So in a case such as this we get
A.d; B.d; C.d
D.a; E.a; F.a
and usually forwards and backwards and as applies to the future the past and the present, to shaman and Brahman, beginners and advanced students and Arahants, Bhikkhus and Householders, and so on. What is being shown is how this is a system that can be spun out limitlessly and has relevance to everyone whatever one's location in time/space or state of consciousness
Another example: Start with the Four Truths. The Four Truths End with the Eightfold Path. The Eightfold Path contains the four truths at the start and also in samma sati; so conceivably (no! certainly!) one could spin out the entire system endlessly just within this one "dhamma".
While the abbreviators have never dared to "Pe" on the Four Truths, the same thing is possible with Numerous other Dhamma "Sets" (reference the idea in back of the 10 Questions (the Basis for the "Lessons" in The Pali Line), where any One of the questions would be sufficient for one to accomplish the goal) and so on by all the major and numerous minor ideas in the system, and it is just too easy to jump passed the significance of this when the work is as abbreviated as it is.
And I see this aspect of the Dhamma slipping out of our grasp if something is not done about it before that happens.
Pipe-dream: What is needed is an absolutely unabridged edition of the suttas, beautifully typeset, on fine paper, beautifully bound in fine leather (for one edition, and for another D-grade Buckrum). Large, maybe 11X17. Maybe with the Pali on opposing pages. Something with large enough type to be read easily, but remain beautiful. An edition that we English-speaking peoples can point to without shame as indicative of our respect of this Dhamma. The Chinese have such an edition of their Buddhist cannon, it can be done.
The problem is that there are various "original" manuscripts out there with slight variations. The PTS printed edition notes some of the differences, the VRI (tipitaka.org) notes some and the BJT notes others. For a "Definitive" edition all these changes need to be before the reader/translator.
Of all things for a system such as this, propriatary interest (that is 'self-' interest) is the problem, greed is the hangup, money is part of it, status is part of it and power is part of it. However, today, with our computers, and with the happy circumstance that two editions are out there copyright-free a Definitive edition could be put together based on one of the free distributions and I think that references to the others would not come under copyright protection.
What we have today with these computers of ours, with a font-conversion program, with a good search and replace tool, and with a text editor which allows one to compare two files side by side, which will highlight differences, and which will display the text in the font of one's choice (Such as Helios Software's TextPad), is a set of inexpensive tools that would make it possible to produce the so-called "Definitive edition" of the Pali; a tool absolutely necessary for that next goal: the definitive translation -- consistently translated throughout the Nikayas.
This seems like a huge job, but estimating from my own experience, it could probably be done by one person working full time in less than a year; by a group it would probably take only a few months.
Doing a Definitive Translation would take longer. But at this stage with the proper resources, there are sufficient translations out there of the various componants of the system to allow, given competant editors and the definitive Pali suggested above, for a complete translation using a "search and replace" strategy.
Conclusion: To anticipate the question: "Why don't you do this if you think it's so important?" There are a number of reasons I am not the one to do this project: I am already getting old, and it has taken me to this time to gain what I consider to be only a crude ability to handle Pali. So #1 is I am incompetant to the task of suggesting definitive versions of the Pali or definitive translations.
My primary interest has always been in living the system. My suggestions for this definitive edition come from seeing how my time learning to put the system into practice would have been vastly shorter had there been certain things available to me: a competant teacher; a definitive translation, a definitive edition of the Pali, and a "key" such as it is my hope that BuddhaDust will prove to be — the materials and lessons and pointers and thoughts I put on BuddhaDust are those I wish I had when I was first learning this system. So #2 is that there is not Time for me. Hopefully if BuddhaDust works as it is intended, there will be those who follow who develop competance at an early age and will have the interest to tackle these problems.