(Much thanks to Joe Mako for his help with the “Sort By” functionality in this Tableau Viz!)

Continuing on my recent word count visualization spree, I was inspired by this NYTimes 2011 commencement speech word usage viz to compare word frequency in English translations of various sacred writings:

{Disclaimer: It should go without saying, but this viz is not intended to be used in a derogatory manner toward any particular group. Word frequencies are based on English translations, which are problematic at best in many cases.}

To me, it shows that different writings don’t all place an equal emphasis on the same spiritual concepts. No surprise there, but the value in this tool is exploring what those differences are. Just try comparing the relative frequencies of “faith”.

I’m not an expert in sacred writings, and found the canonical Buddhist writings particularly difficult to pinpoint and obtain. There are many, many writings, and The Dhammapada is just one text that is commonly attributed to Buddha himself, so I started there.

What do you think? Any comments or suggestions? Did I miss any obvious texts that should be included?

Hope you find this interesting / useful!
Ben @DataRemixed

Project Notes:
1. Text files were downloaded from the Gutenberg ebook catalog
2. Word counts were obtained using this free online word counter.
3. Some minimal data scrubbing efforts were involved, e.g. to eliminate verse references such as “I Cor 1:1”.
4. Common english words were eliminated using VLOOKUP.
5. Tableau (with some help from Joe) took it from there…