Memorization

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Memorization

Postby simplemind » Sun Aug 08, 2010 11:05 pm

After an extremely busy summer, I've found myself with a week (perhaps even two) with very little to do in terms of work. I thought I might spend some time memorizing some important texts. I was going to work on the Dhammapada, but can anyone think of more important (useful?) texts for a beginner to memorize?
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Re: Memorization

Postby dhamma_spoon » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:00 am

simplemind wrote:After an extremely busy summer, I've found myself with a week (perhaps even two) with very little to do in terms of work. I thought I might spend some time memorizing some important texts. I was going to work on the Dhammapada, but can anyone think of more important (useful?) texts for a beginner to memorize?


Hi, simplemind -

I like anyone with a simple mind and I like a simple question too. :hug:
My first sutta (in both Pali & English) that I memorized was the Satipatthana Sutta. :heart:
It is most useful and still is the sutta that I recall everyday.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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Re: Memorization

Postby Kenshou » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:49 am

It's up to you of course, but I think that it might be a better use of time to read a lot of suttas rather then investing a lot of time into memorizing a few.

Since the essential bits of dhamma are repeated very often, the important things are going to get hammered into you pretty well as you read the suttas.
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Re: Memorization

Postby PeterB » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:09 am

simplemind wrote:After an extremely busy summer, I've found myself with a week (perhaps even two) with very little to do in terms of work. I thought I might spend some time memorizing some important texts. I was going to work on the Dhammapada, but can anyone think of more important (useful?) texts for a beginner to memorize?


An excellent idea. There is a practice that has been mentioned on the forum before which is both a skillful means in its self, and an aid to memorisation.
Its copying the Suttas.
You prepare yourself as if for meditation.
You have some clean fresh paper and a good pen.
You sit comfortably in a quiet place, and then copy the Sutta in your best handwriting, carefully and mindfully.
You might want to recite the Refuges and do a little Anapanasati before picking up the pen.
Dont worry about the handwriting. If you have a flair for calligraphy..fine.
Otherwise just be as neat and mindful as you can.
Its been done by generations of Buddhists. Who also find it makes memorisation easier.
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Re: Memorization

Postby Tex » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:13 pm

Kenshou wrote:It's up to you of course, but I think that it might be a better use of time to read a lot of suttas rather then investing a lot of time into memorizing a few.

Since the essential bits of dhamma are repeated very often, the important things are going to get hammered into you pretty well as you read the suttas.


I agree with this. I can see the value in memorizing a key sutta, but if I had that kind of time I'd rather read ten suttas that I hadn't read before than read one sutta ten times to memorize it.

But if I were to sit down to memorize one, I would probably go with the Satipatthana Sutta, Sammaditthi Sutta, or Karaniya Metta Sutta. The first two would obviously be a tremendous time commitment, so perhaps the Metta Sutta would be easier.
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Re: Memorization

Postby Sobeh » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:44 pm

I've toyed with these ideas too, but memorizing anything but the original Pali seems like a strange undertaking to me. Therefore, rather than memorize a Sutta, I recommend learning Pali.
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Re: Memorization

Postby simplemind » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:37 am

Sobeh wrote:I've toyed with these ideas too, but memorizing anything but the original Pali seems like a strange undertaking to me. Therefore, rather than memorize a Sutta, I recommend learning Pali.


This would be ideal if I had the time, but learning a language is an arduous practice. Given my circumstances, trying to learn Pali would be to miss the forest for the trees in terms of useful practice. I'm not looking to memorize a large swath of material, just some key sections and verses. Just the basic practice of memorization (and the intention that requires) along with the recitation seems quite useful. In terms of just reading the suttas, I spend a lot of time hitting the 'Random sutta' button on ATI during the afternoon:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/cgi/ran. ... nsight.org
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Re: Memorization

Postby Reductor » Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:00 am

simplemind wrote:This would be ideal if I had the time, but learning a language is an arduous practice. Given my circumstances, trying to learn Pali would be to miss the forest for the trees in terms of useful practice. I'm not looking to memorize a large swath of material, just some key sections and verses. Just the basic practice of memorization (and the intention that requires) along with the recitation seems quite useful. In terms of just reading the suttas, I spend a lot of time hitting the 'Random sutta' button on ATI during the afternoon:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/cgi/ran. ... nsight.org


Well, learning Pali before you've read a large chunk of the sutta pitaka in english does seem odd.

I'm with Kenshou and Tex: it is best to read a large number of sutta-s and internalize the teachings, rather than memorize sutta-s word for word. That said, if I were to suggest sutta-s to memorize, I would suggest
MN118 and MN131 as they're two of my favorites.
Michael

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And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Memorization

Postby Vepacitta » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:31 pm

Rather than memorising any particular sutta - I would concentrate on memorising (in the vernacular (whatever that may be for you) and in Pali also, if possible) the major points of buddhist thought:

Example: 4 noble truths, dependent origination, the aggregates, the taints, etc.

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Re: Memorization

Postby Richard » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:01 am

I like to memorize verses from the Dhammapada, Mangala Sutta and other suttas which contain metric verses--just to have some reminders to carry around with me. Most of all I like to keep in mind the 3 Recollections--of Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha--as the Buddha recommended to his kinsman Mahanama. I enjoy doing this in Pali, but any language is fine.
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Re: Memorization

Postby Goedert » Thu Aug 12, 2010 2:12 am

simplemind wrote:After an extremely busy summer, I've found myself with a week (perhaps even two) with very little to do in terms of work. I thought I might spend some time memorizing some important texts. I was going to work on the Dhammapada, but can anyone think of more important (useful?) texts for a beginner to memorize?


Try to memorize Thanissaro Dhp. Usually poems is good for first memorization.
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Re: Memorization

Postby oxen » Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:44 am

I think the Metta Sutta is of great value and brief enough for both quick memorization and frequent recollection.
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Re: Memorization

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:26 am

Start at the beginning — learn the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta. Its also one of the easier ones to memorise due to the amount of repetition. Many paragraphs are almost identical to others, with just a few words changed.

It is the foundation of the Dhamma — the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Noble Path.

Recording on YouTube
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Re: Memorization

Postby dhammapal » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:43 am

Hi,

If you want to memorize from English text translations go to:
http://web.archive.org/web/200708161534 ... itaka1.htm

If you want to memorize suttas read aloud in English in normal speaking voice go to for example:
Karaniya Metta Sutta
http://www.suttareadings.net/audio/index.html#khp.9
Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta
http://www.suttareadings.net/audio/index.html#sn56.011

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: Memorization

Postby legolas » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:11 pm

I think memorising a few passages would be an excellent idea and a real aid to daily living and meditation. How about the Itivuttaka and the Udana there are many short beautiful passages that convey so much meaning. Stick to your native tongue, there is no "special " language in Buddhism, but always read alternative translations to get a wider understanding. I think the "3 Recollections" as already mentioned are a must.

"On traversing all directions with the mind"
One finds no one anywhere dearer than oneself.
Likewise everyone holds himself dear,
Hence one who loves himself should not harm another."


The Udana chapter 5 Sona 5.1 translated by John D. Ireland
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