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Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana Tipiṭaka

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Open a BookThe Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana Tipiṭaka version 4 (CST4) enables users to browse and search the Pāḷi Tipiṭaka. The easiest way to install it is in C:\Tipitaka\ or another folder where administration permissions are not required, because on installation, the program creates a folder and some index files. This process takes ten or fifteen minutes. After it has completed, go to the program’s Fonts folder, and copy the fonts from there to the Windows Fonts folder.

The software includes the entire Pāḷi Canon (Tipiṭaka Mūla), its Commentaries (Aṭṭhakathā), Subcommentaries (Ṭīkā), and other books (Añña) such as the Visuddhimagga and its Ṭīkā). To enter all of these books into a computer readable format was an enormous undertaking, as each book was typed twice, compared electronically to remove 98% of errors, then checked by Pāḷi scholars.

Because the data is indexed, searching for any word is extremely fast, the results appearing almost instantly. Use wild cards in the search: e.g. vipassan* to find word vipassanaṃ, vipassanañca, vipassanā, etc. Since Pāḷi uses declinable case-endings instead of prepositions, this will include most other relevant contexts. The results shows how many times the selected word occurs, and in which books. In the dialogue below, the word “vipassanaṃ” occurs 20 times in the Paṭisambhidāmagga in the Khuddakanikāya from the Suttanta Piṭaka. Enabling the Aṭṭhakathā checkbox, then searching again includes results from the Commentaries. There is also an option to search using regular expressions, or only within a user-definable Book Collection.

Search Dialogue

Double-clicking the results for a word in a particular book opens that book, highlighting the first occurrence of the searched word. Toolbar buttons find the First, Previous, Next, and Last occurrences.

Search results are highlighted

List of supported Interface languagesScriptThe hintline at the bottom of the Window gives a reference to the books of the different publications of the Tipiṭaka: VRI = Vipassanā Research Institute, PTS = Pali Text Society.

Many different windows can be opened at once, and tiled or cascaded to compare passages from different books. The interface language (e.g. Czech, German, English, Spanish, French, Sinhala, Myanmar, or Thai) can be chosen from a drop list on the main program window. Some will require Windows support for Complex Scripts to be enabled.

The default script for the Pāḷi texts can be chosen from another drop list list, and the script for individual books can be chosen from the list on a book’s window. If you are trying to learn a new script, open the same book twice and tile the windows side-by-side — one showing the book in your familiar script (e.g. Roman), and the other in the script that you are learning (e.g. Myanmar, Sinhala, or Devanagari). The opened set of books can be saved and will then open on restarting the program.

Main Program ToolbarThe Toolbar at the top of the main program window has eight buttons: 1) Open a book, 2) Save a layout, 3) Print a book, 4) Print Preview, 5) Page Setup, 6) Search word, 7) Dictionary, and 8) Go to Page or Paragraph Number.

Experiment with the Page Setup, Print Preview, and Print to a PDF Printer Driver to familiarise yourself with printing before committing to printing a hard copy. Use PDF-XChange to make booklets from the PDF file.

The dictionary offers a choice of English or Hindi. Type a word, or just part of a word to see a list of possible matches. If you cannot spell the word properly, an educated guess will be made to narrow down the search. Select a word to show its meaning in English, or in Hindi. Install my PagePlus Keyboard for easy typing of Pāḷi accents for Roman script.

Dictionary Dialouge

Changing the Font

The font family used to display the texts, and the font size cannot be changed within the program, but it is easy to do by editing a few plain text CSS files. Browse to the Xls subfolder of the folder where you installed the program, e.g. C:\Tipitaka\Chattha Sangayana Tipitaka 4.0\Xsl\

In this folder you will find a list of files with the *.xsl extension for each script supported by the program. For Roman script the file that needs to be edited is tipitaka-latn.xsl. Make a backup copy of this file, then open it in Notepad or your favourite text editor and search for font-family (which is on line 57). If you wish to use my Verajja font and already have it installed, add “Verajja,” to this line (or any other font name that you wish to use instead of Times Ext Roman, which is not the most legible font for reading computer screens. The line would then look like this:

font-family: "Verajja", "Times Ext Roman", "Indic Times", "Doulos SIL", Tahoma, "Arial Unicode MS", Gentium;

To change the font sizes, search for 12pt, 18pt, 21pt, 24pt and replace each with your preferred sizes. I used 16pt, 24pt, 30pt, and 36pt respectively. Restart the program to see the changes.

Editing the Dictionary

The Pali/English dictionary is a Unicode text file in a subfolder of the installation directory, e.g. C:\Tipitaka\

..\Chattha Sangayana Tipitaka 4.0\Reference\en\pali-english-dictionary.txt

Open it in a text editor to improve the translation if it seems inadequate to you. The Pali word is followed by its translation on the next line e.g.:


Unskilled, unable; bad, evil, sinful, unhealthful, immoral


This is a truly priceless gift of Dhamma to the entire world. When I was a young monk, in the 1980s, we had to laboriously search references in translations and rarely had access to the Roman script editions of the Pāḷi texts, which were expensive hard copies, let alone the Commentaries and Subcommentaries. I had to learn first Devanagari script, then Myanmar script, because those were the only editions of the Tipiṭaka readily available to me at that time.

This remarkable software makes the words of the Buddha, and those of Buddhaghosa and other great Commentators, available to almost any Buddhist in their own script so that they can read them with ease. For anyone who can understand either English or Hindi, these precious Pāḷi texts can be studied, albeit slowly at first with the aid of a dictionary. With only a modicum of effort any keen student of the Buddha’s teaching can delve into these books to see the original texts, helping to make better sense of diverse translations.

Hundreds of books, which would cost tens of thousands as hard copies, are available to anyone for free. Not only that, but the indexing and search facilities, make them so much easier to access.

Sādhu, Sādhu, Sādhu

And if you don’t know what that means, just look it up in the dictionary.

Page last updated on 29 June 2017