There are two sutta related tags which perhaps need to be merged:

After they are merged it needs to be tested is both can be used but maps to one tag.

Similarly some of the other tags could also be merged, if both can be used.


Should we merge the 2 Sutta related tags?

Sounds like a good idea. I vote yes.

  • If you have some spare time for admin / maintenance work perhaps you can look into it. Keep in mind both should exist as some are familiar with Sanskrit form and some with the Pali so we do not disadvantage anyone. They should be synonyms or merged or whatever. There might be some other tags also which need to be cleaned up as well. The above 2 are the one instance that I can across. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Dec 7 '15 at 11:26

I wonder if they have the same use in practice. In my experience, Mahayana Buddhists tend to use 'sutra' and Theravada Buddhists tend to use 'sutta'.

Although it wouldn't seem incorrect to me to call discourses in the Pāli Canon 'sutras' it doesn't go both ways. One example of a different extensional usage would be, e.g., the Lotus Sutra. I have never heard anyone call it the 'Lotus Sutta' (same for Heart Sutra) and that seems like a really weird thing to do. So, it might be useful to have separate tags for these reasons.


I would say yes. The best thing would be to use synonyms in my opinion. High rep users such as yourself can suggest them but to be honest since we are a smaller site they never get enough users to approve them. Mods can approve them with one vote though - happy to do it if you think it's a good idea.


  • Let's wait for others to chime in and perhaps do it. There may be some other similar tags also which can be merged. One Pali version and another Sanskrit version. Perhaps you some of the mods can do it? – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Dec 7 '15 at 11:11

We had a meta question on Sanskrit vs. Pali as preferred language for tags and questions, and while I was in favor of Sanskrit as a more linguistically complete language of the two, a decision was never made.

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    It looks like it pretty was decided in this topic 8 votes to nothing (though people could change/remake that decision now if we no longer like that decision). – ChrisW Dec 8 '15 at 4:43
  • Alright, let's standardize on Sanskrit then and add Pali as synonyms. – Andrei Volkov Dec 8 '15 at 13:57
  • I updated my answer. – ChrisW Dec 8 '15 at 16:31

According to this FAQ, What are tag synonyms and merged tags? How do they work? we have two choices:

  • Synonym: for when both tags mean the same thing, they both continue to exist, and it doesn't matter which you use when you search (if you search for one you get search results for both)
  • Merge: one is deprecated/obsolete, and no longer exists; if you try to create it by adding it to a new question, the question will get the other tag instead.

A merge is irreversible (existing questions are retagged) so if we're not sure it recommends trying a synonym before doing a merge (probably because, on a mature site, users can define synonyms without moderator intervention/oversight); but "All good tag synonyms should eventually be merged".

This answer, What language should our tags be in? suggests "Sanskrit rather Pali" because people use Google to search for the Sanskrit more often that the Pali (although I guess that existing users tend to use Pali more often, in the text on the site).

To anyone who is interested in this topic, would you help to define what that tag is supposed to be used for, when it's supposed to be used, when it's not supposed to be used, what it does and doesn't mean?

For example Theravada is using it on almost all their questions. Is that a correct use of the tag?

See also the comments under this question:

  • Why did you add (what was your reason for adding) the sutras/suttas tags to this question?
  • Because i wanted to find any Sutta reference that might deal with close subject matter

Is that correct usage? If you use this tag, should that mean you don't want answers which don't contain a reference to a sutta? How does the tag compare with ?

Alternatively should the sutta/sutra tag only be used when you're asking a question about a specific sutta/sutra i.e. when you already know which sutta/sutra you're asking about?

Alternatively should sutta be allowed to stay (distinct from sutra), for reference request questions which are only interested in a reference to a sutta and which don't want, for example, answers based on the Abhidhamma?


I defined the synonym.

This page defines all synonyms (there are some other existing synonyms)

I defined suttas as a synonym for sutras (so 'sutras' is the 'master'). I don't know whether we can (but I think we probably can't/shouldn't) define it both ways, with each as the synonym of the other.

Apparently the change (the synonym) I suggested didn't take immediately: I also had to approve the change; but, I was allowed to approve my own change.

Now a search for suttas is redirected to become a search for sutras -- and a search for sutras returns all topics which are tagged with either, with sutras and/or with suttas.

  • We should use synonyms then. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Dec 8 '15 at 13:32
  • I updated my answer. – ChrisW Dec 8 '15 at 16:31
  • "I don't know (but there might be) topics which are tagged suttas but not tagged sutras, and which the searches will therefore no longer find." - why? Isn't this what synonyms solve for us? – Andrei Volkov Dec 8 '15 at 16:43
  • I think it's OK now, for example this search is returning this topic which was only tagged with 'suttas'. After I defined the synonym a search returned 67 results, now it it returns 80 results; I guess it just took some time for the change to fully come into effect. – ChrisW Dec 8 '15 at 16:48
  • Great. Perhaps we can do a similar tag clean up if there other tags needing cleanup. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Dec 8 '15 at 17:00
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    @SumindaSirinathSalpitikorala If you do then it might be a good idea to post on meta as well, because I don't know yet whether a synonym suggestion is is visible in our/my review queue. Defining a synonym requires upvotes, by people who have some reputation for those tags (see e.g. Does the tag synonym suggestion system work? and see also this comment). – ChrisW Dec 8 '15 at 17:13
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    @SumindaSirinathSalpitikorala I'm not sure how each tag is supposed to be used, and so I can't really clean them up. See for example my questions in the answer above (about what the 'sutra' tag is or is not meant to be for), see also my answer here. I don't think I have enough time at the moment to really understand and fix all the tags (but I can approve synonyms that you suggest, if those synonyms seem to make sense). – ChrisW Dec 8 '15 at 17:20
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    What I mean is we should do something like this: meta.programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/7285/… – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Dec 8 '15 at 17:20
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    @SumindaSirinathSalpitikorala If you can begin to do that then I might try to help to review what you do. I chatted a bit with CrabBucket when he retagged all the meditation questions. – ChrisW Dec 8 '15 at 17:23
  • This is a sectarian preference, thus merging indicates preference for a sect. Bad choice imo, unless Buddhist Stack Exchange wishes to relabel itself Mahayanna Stack Exchange. – Metta2All Jul 18 '20 at 11:52

I think further discussion is unnecessary if the tag looked like this


This removes any complication that can occur. By the way i do not see anything wrong with that merge.

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    Very good idea. sutta/sūtra also maybe better. Also there might be tags which might not use the special characters which all can be edited as a par of a tag clean up exercise. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Dec 9 '15 at 2:33

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