songhill wrote:Accesstoinsight (hereafter ATI), which these days seems to be the goto Buddhist Internet site for cash strapped Buddhists, hosts an incomplete Pali canon. Anyone who imagines that ATI is the entire Pali canon hasn't paid very close attention to the site. For example, ATI has, roughly, 58% the Majjhima-Nikaya posted; the Digha-Nikaya is 44% complete, while the large Samyutta-Nikaya has only 12% of the Suttas posted. Turning to the huge Anguttara-Nikaya there is barely 3% on the ATI site. As for the Khuddaka-Nikaya it, too, is incomplete. The important section of the Samyutta-Nikaya, the Khandhasamyutta which deals with the Five Aggregates and the fact that they are not the self, has only 28% of the 159 Suttas posted. Notablly absent, except for one Sutta is the Radhasamyutta section. Some of these missing Suttas reveal that Mara the Evil One is the five aggregates.
Those who are seriously interested in Buddhism can't learn it via ATI. You have to buy the books, for example, Bhikkhu Bodhi's The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A New Translation of the Samyutta Nikaya in addition to The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A translation of the Majjhima Nikaya by Bhikkhu Nnamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi. Incidentally, most all of my Pali citations come from Bhikkhu Bodhi's Samyutta-N; my citations from the Majjhima-Nikaya are from I.B. Horner.
Those of us who have access to the way-back-machine (i.e., memory and age) may recall how ATI began. It is actually the outgrowth of a program of electronically distributing translations that were being made by English speaking Theravada monks and nuns. The materials were primarily BPS (Buddhist Publications Society?) chapbooks printed in Asia. This is before HTML and websites - this is back in the days when surfing public FTP sites and BBS's was the Internet experience. (More text, less multimedia. Can we say, 28k baud dial-up modems? Yes, some of us recall ...) There was a sort of grass roots volunteer system in which a few organizers would mail these little BPS chapbooks to people to sit and type into their computers to create plain text files that then were uploaded to various places.
ATI took these materials that had been converted to plain text and started creating HTML versions of them (I recall, I was one of the people who initially was experimenting with this and sent an example to John Bullit - I kid you not). John did everyone a wonderful service of implementing the amazing technology of html and creating a user friendly website over the years. There was a day when it was amazing. I remember it. I am getting old, I guess.
But, that is the reason why the materials on ATI are haphazard looking. It was never a focused translation project. It was just a guy or two making a website from the materials on hand at the time. They aren't translators themselves. Just the end result of a free-dharma-distribution system that existed back in the 90s.