Help:Importing content from Wikipedia

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This page is intended to help editors who wish to import material from other encyclopedias such as Wikipedia

Importing articles from Wikipedia

These are "how to" instructions for editors of this wiki.

There are many excellent articles in the Buddhism topic area in Wikipedia. Nearly 6000 in total and most of them were originally written in a spirit similarly to that of the Rimé approach, of recognizing differences and using the writings of scholars within the traditions as the main sources for the articles. Generally, you can expect an article authored before October 2014 to follow this approach - though some articles such as the Anatta and Dzogchen ones were modified earlier in spring to summer 2014.

Also with so many articles and only a few editors remaining in the topic area there, it takes a while for them to update them all to match their new ideas about how to proceed. Many of the articles are essentially in the same state they were in from 2014 with only minor edits. The edits since then are often fixes of the articles by "wiki gnomes" dealing with typos, spelling, punctuation, grammar, broken links, wiki formatting etc so may be worth including. Or they may be by wikipedia editors that are not yet following this new approach. For others, even if they are heavily edited since then, they will still have the original article preserved in the articles history tab, if you scroll back to 2014.

So editors here may often wish to import an article from Wikipedia to use as their starting point.

How to import the current version of a Wikipedia article

To do that go to the Export pages section of wikipedia and enter the name of the article you wish to export. Be sure to select the check box "Include Templates" to make sure any necessary templates are copied over as well.

Then click on "Export" and in the dialog that pops up in your browser choose Save File.

Then go to the import page of this wiki: Import pages

Browse for the file you have just exported and click on Import.

Finally be sure to attribute the page you just imported, to its original authors in wikipedia.

Just copy / paste this to the end of the page:


How to import an earlier version of a Wikipedia article

If you wish to use an earlier version of the page, you can still export and import the latest version first. This may be useful as a way to make sure you have all the necessary templates, if they aren't here already, as well as simultaneously creating a page here with the same name as the original article.

However, then go to the pages history tab of the original article, find the dated version you want to copy (usually september or october 2014, sometimes earlier, sometimes later), and click edit and copy / paste over to the new page in this wiki.

Also be sure to remove the template {{Use dmy dates}} from the head of the article, as this will mark it as an old out of date article.

This time, to attribute the original article, use the template: {{En-WP-Attrib-date}} But this time you have to add extra paremteres to identifiy the original page and give its month and year last edited, as:


You get the oldid from the url for the old version of the page.

E.g. suppose the page is:

The top of that page shows the date as February 2016. The oldid is 705587374.

So the template is:


which, when attached to the First Buddhist council page in this encyclopedia will generate an attribution to the First Buddhist council page on Wikipedia for February 2016. For details see the documentation for {{En-WP-Attrib-date}}

How to import a template

To attribute an imported template use {{En-WP-TP-Attrib}} immediately after the <noinclude> statement:


(I didn't think to do this for most of the imported templates - since they are used in pages already marked as imported from Wikipedia it probably doesn't matter much but good to do it when editing / importing new ones)

Attributing other versions of Wikipedia or other wikis with a similar format and the same license

To attribute an article from another wiki use {{WP-Attrib-url}}

Example: {{WP-Attrib-url|//|Netherlands Wikipedia|Ringu Tulku Rinpoche}}


This article uses material from Ringu Tulku Rinpoche on Netherlands Wikipedia. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (view authors). Wikimedia-logo black 35px.png

Attributing other wikis with a different license

Use {{WP-Attrib-url}} again - but to make sure the user knows the license is different also add a license to the top of the page

Example: {{Page-License|This page licensed under:<br>[ CC BY-NC-ND 3.0] }}

This page licensed under:


Then you need to attribute it at the bottom of the page as before:

Example: {{WP-Attrib-url|//|Wisdom Publications|The Wheel of Life - Introduction|Tenzin Gyatso and Jeffrey Hopkins|[ CC BY-NC-ND 3.0]}}


This article uses material from The Wheel of Life - Introduction on Wisdom Publications. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Tenzin Gyatso and Jeffrey Hopkins). Wikimedia-logo black 35px.png

The other way around - attributing artices from this encyclopedia in other wikis

How to attribute articles from this encyclopedia if released under the creative commons share alike license (default)

As with Wikipedia, an appropriate way to attribute them on another website is to use a notice like this:

This article uses material from the Encyclopedia of Buddhism article Help:Importing content from Wikipedia , which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (view authors). Wikipedia logo

That uses the template {{Enc-Buddhism-Attrib}} which you can copy and use in your own wiki, if it is based on MediaWiki. Be sure to check the page license before using it.

However, you need to check the page before doing this. If it is released under a different license, this will be given at top left beneath the author's avatar. See this test page for an example: User:Robertinventor/attribution

If released under a different license

If it is released under a different license you can use {{Enc-Buddhism-Attrib-license}} to attribute these articles on another website. Again, you can copy this template over and use it in your own wiki, if it is based on MediaWiki.

e.g. {{Enc-Buddhism-Attrib-license|[ CC BY-NC-ND 4.0]}}


This article uses material from the Encyclopedia of Buddhism article Help:Importing content from Wikipedia , which is released under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 (view authors). Wikipedia logo

I.e. that the article has to be copied verbatim with no derivatives and can't be used commercially without permission from the author.

To customize the author

Or if it is an article with a named author at top left (or several authors), you can use {{Enc-Buddhism-Attrib-Author-license}} to attribute these articles on another website. Once again, you can copy this template over and use it in your own wiki, if it is based on MediaWiki.

e.g. {{Enc-Buddhism-Attrib-Author-license|[ CC BY-NC-ND 4.0]|Author: FirstName LastName}}


This article uses material from the Encyclopedia of Buddhism article Help:Importing content from Wikipedia , which is released under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Author: FirstName LastName. Wikipedia logo

If the article has issues needing attention of an expert

Many of the Wikipedia articles in this topic area are excellent, but some can be of variable quality. If the article you import has issues and you are not able to fix it right away (don't have the time or don't have the expertise), you can flag it as needing the attention of an expert, using the template {{Expert_needed}}.

Before doing that, you can try the history tab to see if an earlier version is okay. But if you think it still needs attention, then you can use this template to attract expert attention.

The format is:

{{Template:Expert_needed|Buddhism|reason=reason}}} Or you can start a discussion on the talk piage in which case it is


For details see the documentation for {{Expert_needed}}

If you want to help fix these articles, you can find a list of the articles with this template attached here:


Once you have fixed the article, just remove the template. If the article was mistakenly tagged and you are sure as an expert that it is okay, just remove the template. You may like to say a few words on the talk page about your edit, either way.

Bulk import

You can use the Wikipedia import page and this encyclopedia's import page to do a bulk import of many articles at once if you have the right permission level. To do so, go to:

Enter the pages you want to export one to a line, and be sure to select "Include templates".

After they are exported, go to the exported xml file and edit it to add {{En-WP-Attrib}} to the end of each section for an imported page, to make sure they are all properly attributed. Alternatively you can do this after they are imported but you can often do it faster in the xml file with judicious use of search and replace.

Now go to

Browse for the file and upload it.

Special considerations about importing articles on divisions in the sangha and contemporary Buddhist politics, internal and external

Some of the articles in wikipedia, for instance articles about particular countries, cover political situations such as the actions of Buddhists in Myangmar, and violence by Buddhists generally. There are mischievous people in every religion and political system, and mischievous non religious people also.

Listen for instance to the Dalai Lama talking about 9/11 in his Address to Muslim Co-ordination Committee in Ladakh on 16th July 2014, 13 minutes into this video: {{#ev:youtube|w-JeOXs95To}}

We feel that it is best to just not cover contemporary Buddhist politics here, for the present at least. That's for the purpose of simplicity and to focus our attention on our main purpose here.

It's the same also for divisions within the Sangha and other matters of internal Buddhist politics. They don't need to be "mishievous people" for this to happen either. Sometimes even with good faith and sincerity on all parts, bitter disputes can arise over interpretations of doctrines, behaviour of individuals, and policies. For simplicity we are just not going to cover those topics here at present. We wish to focus on what we see as our priorities, to get together a clear encyclopedic presentation of the diversity of Buddhist teachings in the spirit of Rimé.

So, if you import an article from Wikipedia, especially a biography of a contemporary Buddhist, or an article about Buddhism in a particular country, do check for the presence of any material on contemporary internal or external Buddhist politics. If you find such, do remove it.

This doesn't apply to politics aboout times long past. Of course there are passages about what we can call "Buddhist politics" right back to the time of the Buddha in the Buddhist sutras. For instance the sutras have passages about the first ever division of the sangha under Devadatta, the cousin and brother in law of Gautama Buddha. But those are not problematical in the same way, and can give us valuable insights into issues such as these, for the present and the future.

The touchstone is whether it is something to stir up present day bitterness and anxiety.

Special considerations for importing biographies

Biographies are a matter for special attention in any encyclopedia, and especially biographies of living people. We need to be especially careful about biographies as many Wikipedia biographies contain material that according to Wikipedia's own guidelines should not be included. We apply these guidelines strictly. If a biography imported from wikiopedia contains any material of this type just delete it right away; don't wait to discuss it first.

These are the guidelines in Wikipedia which I think would have lead to much of the material in some of these wikipedia biographies being removed if they had been applied properly:

Most of the Wikipedia bios about Buddhist figures are problem free. But some of them have badly sourced and possibly fake personal information in them that must go against many of these guidelines. So it is a precarious matter importing them into this encyclopedia. The biographies do need to be checked. Unfortunately so because there are several thousand Buddhist biographies in Wikipedia, many of which are problem free and useful.

We learnt this the hard way. After a bulk import of biographies from Wikipedia we ended doing a bulk delete of contemporary biographies in order to manage the problem. We will import them one at a time instead.

So, if your favourite teacher is not here, it's not because of any policy. It is just because most biographies have not yet been moved over because of this issue. Do send us a note asking us to port over a biography if it doesn't have these issues of internal or external politics.

How to deal with the few bios with allegations and controversies

As we import biographies we have needed to decide how to deal with the few bios in Wikipedia with controversy sections or allegations (often unsourced), or lawsuits or other potentially controversial personal matters in them.

We are currently using option 4, the minimal biography approach for these bios. But for the record these are some alternatives that we looked at:

  1. Don't import the biographies with controversies or allegations in them
  2. Edit biographies to remove the controversial sections. We could use the Wikipedia attribution template and add an extra line: "(Controversial personal information redacted from this bio)"
  3. Roll back to the last version in the edit history without material on controversies or allegations. If the first entry in Wikipedia history is already controversial, don't import it at all.
  4. Give a minimal entry for a Buddhist with a bio like this - either trim away most of the bio or roll back to an earlier version in the history of the bio with minimal information.
  5. Minimal bio template (see previous section)
  6. Level playing field idea. Simply don't have any biographies at all of contemporary Buddhists.

1. would mean we omit prominent Buddhist figures who may be asked to give opinions on controversial matters and then be criticized for their views on the matter whatever they say, or teachers whose lifestyle is unconventional but in accord with the dharma and who are widely regarded as good teachers.

It is however the easiest to apply right away, and we adopt it as a good interim solution. There are many articles not imported yet, so we can just leave biographies with controversies in them to be imported at a later stage once we have a clear idea of how to deal with the issue, and have time also to do the rewrites.

2. to edit to remove controversy - steers rather close to "white washing" the entry. However if the template says "(Controversial personal information redacted from this bio)" that would make it easier but it also draws attention to the controversy which the reader can get to by clicking on the wikipedia link. Based on some of the biographies we've seen, the material is often unsourced, based on hearsay, and may for all we know be just made up by someone with a personal grudge against that teacher. We don't want to advertise such content here even by linking to it. We have to link to the original article as that is required by the creative commons license for its content, but beyond that, no. It may sometimes be best not to use such an article, but start again from scratch so it doesn't have to be attributed to wikipedia.

3. to use the first non controversial edit has the disadvantage that the result may be a fan biography with fullsome praise of a controversial figure.

4. This is what we are currently using. One approach is to roll back to an early non controversial entry if necessary. Or if the lede is non controversial can use that. And also then just trim it down to a minimal biography. Acknowledge them as a Buddhist, give their lineage, their style of teaching, links to their teachings, but have the minimum amount here that's needed about other aspects of their lives.

That way nobody can tell from a biography if the figure is considered controversial by some, or just that it is a short stub biography. Also, that way, there just isn't enough material for anyone to get worked up about it who knows about, and has been involved in any controversy about that figure.

5. a new idea, minimal bio template is a great quick way to get biographies transferred that avoid controversy. Solves a lot of issues. But it is a shame to give no more than minimal details about important figures.

6. means that we will have many red links in imported text and also means that if a reader wants to find out more about an author, even if it is just to find a list of their published works, they have to go elsewhere.

Also wikipedia has many good biographies. By far the majority of Buddhist teachers are not controversial in any way. So why exlude all their biographies because of the few that are controversial?

For the ones with controversies also, I think it is important to bear in mind that they may not always deserve the controversy. In Buddhism as in other fields of life, some people end up being caught up in a controversy that is none of their making, just as a result of being in a place and time where controversy follows from skillful and beneficial activity. A good example here would be the Dalai Lama. He couldn't have avoided controversy, no matter what he did, as regards China and Tibetan autonomy or independence, and many other matters.

The allegations may also be false and even in the few cases where the Wikipedia article cites a successful court case taken against a Buddhist teacher, it can sometimes be a miscarriage of justice.

Minimal biography

This is not a general encyclopedia but specifically an encyclopedia about the Buddhist teachings. It is interesting to touch on the lives of some of the Buddhist teachers here, especially details such as

  • Who their own teachers are or were
  • Notable students
  • Place and date of birth
  • Style of teaching, including the tradition(s) of Buddhism they teach within, and where they taught / teach.
  • Bibliography - list of their writings. When it is a published author with books or other works you can access - buy or find in a library or read online. Perhaps this is the most interesting section for this encyclopedia.
  • Minimal basic chronology of their life
  • In the case of Tulkus, then their previous and next incarnations and their reincarnation lineage

Beyond that, details of their personal lives are not the main focus unless particularly relevant to their style of teaching or to Buddhism (for instance of course we would cover the sixth Dalai Lama's poetry and decision not to follow a monastic path).

Similarly details of their politics are not relevant here, either internal to Buddhism or external, politics between countries and in society as a whole.

We may make a minimal bio template. Then if the article just consists of a filled in template it is clear that it is a minimal bio to the reader and they would not expect details.

The most important section for this encyclopedia might be the bibliography.

The most minimal bio might just be a page with their name at the head and a list of their writings or video links to them teaching.

Please report any controversial biographies you find here

If you want to check the biographies of living people in the encyclopedia so far, to check that we haven't imported any controversies accidentally, there is a list here: Category:Living people.

Do notify us if you come across any such material in the encyclopedia, and we will remove it right away, thanks!

See also