What is Ramblings of a Monk?

This website currently serves to

  1. Provide online access to the daily verses
  2. Download centre for Digital Buddha Vacana apps running on various platforms
  3. Host the backend app service for the Facebook app Buddha Vacana
  4. Host the podcast for ITBW
  5. Host my blog “Ramblings of a Monk” – About the Author

What is Digital Buddha Vacana?

Buddha Vacana” means the Words of the Buddha.  Digital Buddha Vacana is a daily readings software that automatically displays a verse from the Buddha’s teachings on your PC, handheld or other supported devices.

It started off with only the set of verses from the book Buddha Vacana: Sacred Literature of Buddhism and now offers other books for download.


The original book Buddha Vacana was compiled by Venerable S. Dhammika and was published by the Buddha Dhamma Mandala Society.

The digitisation work was done by group leaders of the Camp Nirvana Singapore (CNS1996) organised by Nanyang Technological University Buddhist Society (NTUBS)

Palm Edition was developed using using (free software) PRC-Tools (GCC in cygwin, PilRC, and other free third party tools.

PocketPC edition was developed using VS.NET Enterprise edition development suite donated by David Tan (from Microsoft Singapore)

HandheldPC edition was developed using eMbedded Visual C++ 3.0 freely available from Microsoft.

Facebook port was developed using notepad++ and other text editor.

Linux port using a fortune cookie engine, is in alpha testing by Ven. RuQing.

Testing for various platforms were done on emulators or devices given by donors.

How can I support this Software?

1. Developers

  • Help maintain the source code or write new features
  • Write multi-language support
  • Port DBV to other platform

DBV is a very very simple application. Palm edition was written in a few days while HandheldPC edition was written in a few hours over two days.

So, if you are a developer, email me if you would like to

2. Translators

  • Translate to other languages
  • Currently, there are requests to translate to French and Dutch

3. Spiritual Practice

  • Read Buddha Vacana or any Buddhist Suttas daily and *understand* what it is trying to tell us.
  • Practise it!
  • Practise the Five Precepts:
    • Abstain from Killing
    • Abstain from Stealing
    • Abstain from Sexual misconduct
    • Abstain from Lying
    • Abstain from Taking intoxicants
  • Meditate daily!
  • See Daily Exercises for more info

4. Web Hosting

If you are interested in supporting the web hosting services, email me.

Which organisation is supporting this software?
There is *no* organisation supporting it. It is currently written by only one person. Moi. ZhiXing bhikkhu. (aka Chuan Guan)

Most if not all the development tools used were either donated or available for free under GPL.

As such, some of the requests to port DBV to other platforms or languages may take awhile before it happens.

How did this software (DBV) started?

Officially, it started out as a daily post in the NTUVAX system back in 1995. (See archive news for details). Then in 1996, the first version for Windows95 was written in junction with Camp Nirvana Singapore 96.

But what mooted the idea was two elements: 1. The book Buddha Vacana and 2. The lack of Buddhist software in the market.

Back in the mid 80s, when I was in my teens, I remember oogling those fanciful digital diaries in the shopping centres (that’s what its called in Singapore then!). There was like only *one* major brand, SHARP! That was before Palm Pilot was released in the 90s. SHARP digital diaries were so advanced, with its pseudo PCCARD expansion slot which allowed users to add new storage (RAM) or functionalities (Programs).

While I did not consider myself a hard-core Buddhist, I was curious if there were any Buddhist software available for the SHARP digital diaries. There was none. Zilt. Zip. Non. NULL. Void. (You get the drift.) But there were digital Bibles available. And there was not just one, but many versions to choose from! In fact, as I recall, there were religious stuffs for practically every other religions except Buddhism. (ok, there were none for Taoism or the likes, but hey, I’m a Buddhist alright!)

I lamented the fact that Buddhism seemed to be behind the times, though I do not know who is responsible for making Buddhist Software happen. Even then, I did not exactly set my life’s goal to write Buddhist Software thereafter, but it planted a “seed” in my mind-stream.

Some 7 years later while studying in Nanyang Technological University, someone in my family brought a book back (I recall that its my sister Irene). Its called “Buddha Vacana: Sacred Literature of Buddhism”. It became my Buddhist daily readings, more or less. Inpired by it, I started typing the verses into NTUVAX for the rest to read on a daily basis.

Then in 1995, the opportunity arose, and Digital Buddha Vacana was born in the form of a Windows95 application in a 1.44MB floppy disk for the participants of Camp Nirvana Singapore (CNS) 96. While I did the easy part of writing the software, the group leaders of CNS 96 helped type in all the verses from the book Buddha Vacana.

Why are you telling me this?

Well, the reason for sharing this with you is this. Buddhism is not just the religion that existed 2500+ years ago in India. It is not just our parents’ religion. It is also not the religion that belongs only to the monastic sangha or to the lay community. It is OUR
religion, if I can conventionally use the term religion here.

We, monastics and lay community alike, make up what is Buddhism. If there is something that is lacking or missing in Buddhism, what are we doing about it? If there is no Buddhist software, write it! 🙂 No one else is there to do it, except us. While we may not change the world overnight, at least start with ourselves. Matter of fact, that’s the whole point isn’t it? To change ourselves?

Live Buddhism!

And while we are at it, remember to put the teachings of the Buddha to the daily test. At the end of the day, we got to ask ourselves, so what’s the point of being a Buddhist? How has being a Buddhist made us at the least, better persons? Are the Four Noble Truths relevant? Are the verses in Buddha Vacana useful in daily life? You can tell only if you try them out.

Ehi Passiko. “Come and see”.

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