I have recently resumed working through the book A New Course in Reading Pali by JW Gair and WS Karunatillake. Along with listening to the online lectures given by Bhikkhu Bodhi, I think I will gradually be able to understand and remember Pali. One day I hope to be fluent in it.
My question is about this: I used to be into Hinduism, and although I've not seriously practiced that path for a long time - and despite never having properly studied Sanskrit either, I must add - I'm still able to recollect many Sanskrit verses, thanks to the way in which I learned them. (But sadly, despite my attempts at remedying this, I've not had nearly as much success with Pali verses from the Sutta Pitaka thus far). The presentation was like this:
(For some reason there are missing macrons in this version...anyway you get the idea.)TEXT 37
yathaidhamsi samiddho 'gnir
bhasmasat kurute 'rjuna
bhasmasat kurute tatha
yatha--just as; edhamsi--firewood; samiddhah--blazing; agnih--fire; bhasmasat--turns into ashes; kurute--so does; arjuna--O Arjuna; jnana-agnih--the fire of knowledge; sarva-karmani--all reactions to material activities; bhasmasat--to ashes; kurute--it so does; tatha--similarly.
As a blazing fire turns firewood to ashes, O Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge burn to ashes all reactions to material activities.
Recently I realised why Sanskrit has stuck in my mind so well, relatively speaking (I mean I hardly ever read or see it, yet much of it is still there). It is because of those word-for-word translations, as in the example above. Has anyone done this with any of the Pali suttas? It would be a wonderful memorisation aid if someone well versed in Pali were to set out the verses of some of the more important suttas in the Pali Canon in such a manner.