20 years of Daily Words
20 years of Daily Words
As we were looking back on the past decades, we realized it’s already been 20 years since we started our ‘Daily Words of the Buddha’ service. A good moment to express a heartfelt ‘thank you’ and ‘congratulations’ to all those who have been involved with this wonderful project over the years.
In 1999, Pariyatti maintained a large staff with offices in Seattle. The intention behind the new service back then was twofold: to provide valuable inspiration for those on the path of Dhamma and to reach out to an increasing number of people. Over the past two decades the service has improved and expended in various ways. What started off as a text-based email service grew into a multi-language service across different media—thanks to the time, effort and knowledge of many.
It’s safe to say both initial goals were reached; there are currently over 15,500 subscribers in total (and counting).
Some readers may still remember the early iteration of the Pariyatti.com website, which had a splash page that displayed the quote of the day in English only.
The Daily Word quotes were drawn from the book Gemstones of the Good Dhamma, published by the Buddhist Publication Society (BPS); translations of Pāli verses by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, and translations of Pāli verses by S.N. Goenka as presented on 10-day Vipassana meditation courses.
As computer technology for displaying fonts progressed, we were able to update the Daily Words to display the Pāli verses in Roman script (with the proper diacritical marks displayed) in addition to the English translations.
Once we were able to offer the Pāli verses, we added the option to listen to these verses. A Vipassana student of Indian origin, living in the USA, was so kind to record the correct pronunciation of all the Pāli verses beautifully and precisely, providing a great tool for those aiming to improve their knowledge of Pāli.
With a growing list of subscribers from all corners of the globe, we also started to incorporate translations in different languages—made possible with the help of volunteer translators. Besides in English, the Daily Words of the Buddha are currently available in Chinese, Spanish, French, Portuguese-Brazilian, Italian and even Serbo-Croatian.
To engage and interact with Facebook friends, one of our staff members made regular postings on Facebook with Pāli words during a certain period, in 2008 or 2009. In 2012 we used the list she had meticulously acquired, and the ‘Pāli Word a Day’ addition to the email service was born.
The idea for another addition was conceived by the current Executive Director, while sitting a long course in India in 2014. During morning breaks he was reminded of the dohas or rhymed couplets—written and chanted by Goenkaji to instruct and inspire Hindi-speaking students. In Vipassana meditation centers in India it is a custom to play the recordings of these Dhamma verses throughout the campus during breakfast time. The Hindi Dhamma Verses can reach your inbox accompanied by a translation in English, Chinese, Portuguese-Brazilian, or Lithuanian.
Another incarnation of the Daily Words service are the mobile apps available for Android and iOS devices. The apps give access to the Daily Words of the Buddha, the Pāli words, and the Dhamma Verses all together. The ‘favorites’ feature gives the option to save quotes.
The iOS and Android versions each have had two major releasees. The first version of each one was made by different volunteers, who laid great ground work. With a second release both apps are now identical in design, with an improved look-and-feel. A professional team looks after maintenance now, to make sure changes in the operating systems don’t result in bugs.
May they be of benefit to many on the path!