I've been working on creating a (digital) diary application for Buddhist laypeople and would like to ask this community for ideas about what can be written about in a journal like this which would be valuable for improving well-being and spiritual growth

Here some ideas that I've gathered so far (not written in stone, including here just to show the general idea that i have):

  • Meditation journal --- type of meditation (metta, anapanasati, etc), hindrances during meditation
  • Daily practice journal (mindful walking to and from the parking lot, etc)
  • Gratitude journal
  • Successes --- maybe in the areas of faith, virtue (five precepts), generosity, wisdom

I've done some research by reading books about early Buddhism and practices for laypeople (for example "The Buddha's Teachings on Prosperity" and "The Buddha's Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony") but am having a hard time "translating" the information that I've gathered into something that would fit well inside a diary application

Grateful for help with this!

Kind Regards, Tord

  • What is some difference between this journal application and any general purpose journal?
    – ChrisW
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 17:23
  • Thank you for the comment, I've updated the question to make it more clear what I'm looking for
    – sunyata
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 17:33

3 Answers 3


With the intention of increasing Sati some monks advise to recall daily events. Maintaining a Journal or Diary will help towards this. The number, clarity and detail of what you recall is not so perfect proxy to your Sathi practice. Also it increases memory to study and remember the Dhamma.

Also there is a concept of Pin Potha, which is a journal of all good deeds done. This can include all the categories which you mention and more. Also maybe elements of study.

  • I'm feeling grateful and inspired by your answer, thank you for sharing your knowledge! About Pin Potha: This is very interesting to me, can you give a link or book reference? (i have a hard time finding something when searching online)
    – sunyata
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 7:50
  • 2
    It is just a blank diary like book. E.g. lakehousebookshop.com/pdesc.php?id=1415, online.buddhistcc.com/books/pin-potha-detail.html. It is an age old custom of the Sri Lankan Buddhists to maintain a record of One's meritorious activities. This record is named PIN POTHA or Merit Book. Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 7:55
  • Just by any well bound book with fine paper and solid binding. Since modern times you can compliment this with and album where you can print and put in pictures of the activities. Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 8:12
  • That being a great and benifical practice. My person wonders whether the costom is still alive.
    – user11235
    Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 13:47
  • A related question: PIN POTHA (puñña potha) or Merit Book, costom still alive? How to keep it up?
    – user11235
    Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 14:20

Other ideas:

  • Mistakes made
  • Lessons learned (from practice and/or from study)
  • Upcoming meetings (scheduled in the future)
  • Questions to be asked or topics to discuss (scheduled in the future)

I've read books about early Buddhism and practices for laypeople

I'm not certain that any writing existed in India at the time of early Buddhism.

  • Thank you for the answer, this is very useful. About the writing: Afaik there was no writing in those times, the research I've done has been for trying to understand Buddhist practices for laypeople better. "Mapping"/"translating" these practices to something that can be written in a diary to improve our well-being and spiritual practice is difficult for me though so I'm grateful for your help
    – sunyata
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 17:39
  • I'm also grateful for the ideas about scheduling things in the future because this is something I've been thinking about too, there are advantages to using digital technologies which expands the possibilities over a paper-based journal
    – sunyata
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 17:44
  • On the topic of early practices there's a story at time 47:33 of this video which describes a form of journaling or record-keeping (i.e. using pebbles) ... it's in the context of right effort requiring persistence.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 12:20

Good idea to start with. Sati Patthana is the journal of all Buddhists.

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