Pāḷi Abbreviation System
for BPS Publications

These pages employ the abbreviation scheme of the Pali Text Society (PTS) as given in the Dictionary of Pali by Margaret Cone. However, Ven. Bodhi’s system of abbreviating suttas as used in Connected Discourses of the Buddha is used in non-scholarly articles.

The standard abbreviations given in the Dictionary of Pali are listed below:

A Aṅguttara Nikāya
Ap Apadāna
Bv Buddhavaṃsa
Cp Cariyāpiṭaka
D Dīgha Nikāya
Dhp Dhammapada
Dhs Dhammasaṅgaṇī
It Itivuttaka
Ja Jātaka verses and commentary
Khp Khuddakapāṭha
M Majjhima Nikāya
Mil Milindapañha
Mp Manorathapurāṇī (A-a)
Nett Nettipakaraṇa
Nidd I Mahāniddesa
Nidd II Cullaniddesa
Paṭis Paṭisambhidamagga
Peṭ Peṭakopadesa
Ps Papañcasūdanī (M-a)
S Saṃyutta Nikāya
Sn Suttanipāta
Sp Sāratthapakāsinī (S-a)
Sv Sumaṅgalavilāsinī (D-a)
Th Theragātha
Thī Therigātha
Ud Udāna
Vibh Vibhaṅga
Vin Vinaya-piṭaka
Vism Visuddhimagga
Vism-mhṭ Visuddhimagga Subcommentary
Vv Vimānavatthu

The commentaries, aṭṭhakathā, are abbreviated by using a hyphen and an “a” (“-a”) following the abbreviation of the text, e.g., Dīgha Nikāya Aṭṭhakathā = D-a.

Alternatively, for the four main Nikāyas of the Suttapiṭaka the abbreviation according to the system as given in the Dictionary of Pali by Cone may be followed, i.e., D-a = Sv.

The subcommentaries, ṭīkā, are abbreviated by a hyphen and “ṭ” (-“ṭ”), e.g., S-ṭ refers to the Saṃyutta Nikāya Ṭīkā.

-a -aṭṭhakathā
-ṭ -ṭīkā
-nṭ -navaṭikā (New subcommentary)

The sutta reference abbreviation system for the four Nikāyas follows:

AN Aṅguttara Nikāya
DN Dīgha Nikāya
MN Majjhima Nikāya
SN Saṃyutta Nikāya
J Jātaka story
Mv Mahāvagga (Vinaya Piṭaka)
Cv Cullavagga (Vinaya Piṭaka)
SVibh Suttavibhaṅga (Vinaya Piṭaka)

References to the page numbers of the PTS editions (as the one above) should have the Latin capital numbers for the book, e.g., book one of the Saṃyutta Nikāya is S I with a Latin numeral, then followed by normal non-capital numbers for the page-numbers, e.g., Saṃyutta Nikāya, book one, page 17 is S I 17.

The letter designating the text should be a capital (and not followed by a capital N).

In the case of the verse collections, i.e., Th, Thī, Sn, Dhp, Sagātha Saṃyutta (S I), etc, the verses are referred to. If the verse is not referred to in the Suttanipāta, but the prose, then either p. (page) should be put before the number, e.g., Sn p. 76, or the chapter and sutta number should be used, e.g., Sn 3:5.

References to individual suttas within the four main Nikāyas are different. Here an N is added after the PTS edition reference; e.g., DN. The system Bhikkhu Bodhi uses in the Middle Length Discourses and Connected Discourses is followed. Normally the Pali Text Society does not use this system.

No Latin capital numerals (e.g., I), but arabic numerals, should be used for denoting the chapters or books when referring to sutta numbers. Majjhima Nikāya sutta no. 1 is referred to as MN 1. If a paragraph is referred to in the sutta, e.g., para 3, then this is put this way: MN 1.3 (As used in Bh. Bodhi’s MLDB and CDB edition.) The same applies for the Dīgha Nikāya: paragraph 21 in sutta 14 is DN 14.21

With regards the Aṅguttara Nikāya the system is slightly different: Here the number of the collection is referred to, i.e., if the sutta is the 10th sutta in the ’Book’ or ’Division’ of the Tens then it is put this way: AN 10:10. This is the system used in Bh. Bodhi’s MLDB and CDB edition.

With regards the Saṃyutta Nikāya: Here the Saṃyutta section and the sutta is referred to, ie, the second sutta of the Nidāna Saṃyutta, i.e., the 12th section of the Saṃyutta Nikāya, is SN 12:2. This is the system used in Bh. Bodhi’s MLDB and CDB edition.

Verse references to the first book of the Saṃyutta-nikāya are to be in accordance with Ven. Bodhi’s translation scheme, i.e., the 97th verse is S I v. 97. If the prose is referred to, or the whole sutta (prose & verse) then use the normal Saṃyutta Nikāya sutta system described above.

Udāna: The chapter (nipāta) and sutta number are given, e.g., Ud 3.3. See John Ireland’s BPS edition of the Udāna.

Itivuttaka: The Sutta number is referred to. See John Ireland’s BPS edition of the Udāna.

Vinaya Piṭaka: The abbreviations of the Mahāvagga and Cullavagga are Mv and Cv. References should be to section (vatthu), chapter, and paragraph, e.g., Mv 1.10.1. Suttavibhaṅga = SVbh: refer to rule, section, and paragraph as given in the PTS edition; e.g., SVibh Pārājika 4.9.7.

Visuddhimagga, Paṭisambhidāmagga, Nettipakaraṇa and Peṭakopadesa: Follow the paragraphing system used by Ñāṇamoli bhikkhu in his translations, e.g., Vism 1.10 is the 10th paragraph of the 1st chapter of the Visuddhimagga. When both the chapter and paragraph are given for the Visuddhimagga, arabic numerals can be used for the chapter (Vism 1.1), but when only the chapters are given use the Latin capital (Vism I) is to be used to avoid confusion. In works where sometimes only the chapter is given and sometimes the chapter and paragraph, give the chapter number in Latin capitals.

Niddesa: There is no English translation of the Niddesa, therefore the book (Niddesa I = Mahāniddesa. Nidd II = Cullaniddesa) and page-number of the PTS edition are to be referred to.

Individual Jātaka stories are abbreviated as J, while the page references to the PTS Pali edition are referred to as Ja.

In scholarly works Dīgha and Nikāya should be one word: Dīghanikāya, rather than two words. In non scholarly works they are to be separate: Dīgha Nikāya. The same principle applies to the titles of individual suttas: Selasutta = Sela Sutta.

Sangha or Saṅgha: Non-scholarly works follow the accepted English spelling Sangha as given in the Oxford Dictionary. For saṃsāra, nibbāna, the correct Pali transliteration is kept.