The Dhamma Wheel Memorization Challenge

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The Dhamma Wheel Memorization Challenge

Postby BKh » Thu May 10, 2012 10:25 am

Welcome to the Dhamma Wheel Memorization Challenge.

The purpose of this thread is to provide support and encouragement for people who would like to memorize small or large passages from the suttas or list of important doctrinal items. When you have found a passage you would like to memorize, post it within quote tags in a message. Then come back an report when you have it memorized or if you need help along the way. If you find a passage already listed in the thread that you would like to memorize, just quote it and add your aspiration to memorize it.

For regular Dhamma Wheel users, seeing the thread bumped back to the top can serve as a reminder to review your text and make sure it is still held in the mind.

Please try to keep the focus on the memorization of passages, not discussing the passages themselves. Tips on memorizing and sharing your experience of memorizing the passage are welcome.

Feel free to post any sutta passages you find that specifically encourage memorization even if you don't plan on memorizing them. There are also several passages that the Buddha himself encouraged his disciples to memorize and it would be good to get them listed here as well.
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Memorization Challenge

Postby BKh » Thu May 10, 2012 10:36 am

So, I've been working on this one for a few days...

§27. "Bhikkhus, for a faithful disciple who is intent on fathoming the Teacher’s Dispensation, it is natural that he conduct himself thus: ‘The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple; the Blessed One knows, I do not know.’ For a faithful disciple who is intent on fathoming the Teacher’s Dispensation, the Teacher’s Dispensation is nourishing and refreshing."


MN 70 Kitagiri Sutta
This is from the latest edition of The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, Trans. Ven. Nanamoli and Ven. Bodhi. The whole sutta can be found on line translated by Ajahn Thanissaro here:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

NOTE: I've noticed a lot of people using color in their posts recently. Perhaps folks could use color to highlight passages being memorized to make them stand out. Regular text could be left in black.
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Memorization Challenge

Postby Stephen K » Thu May 10, 2012 11:45 am

Hi. I just want to offer another translation of that same passage (transl. by S. Dhammika):

For a disciple who has faith in the Teacher's instruction and who lives in harmony with it, his idea is: "The Teacher is the Lord; I am the disciple. The Lord knows; I do not." For a disciple who has faith in the Teacher's instruction and who lives in harmony with it, the Teacher's instruction is furthering in growth, strength-giving.
With metta,
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Memorization Challenge

Postby polarbuddha101 » Thu May 10, 2012 7:28 pm

The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. [1] Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."



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


I'll start with this one since it's concise and says quite a bit.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Memorization Challenge

Postby rowboat » Thu May 10, 2012 8:13 pm

I won't post the object of my memorization project in quotes but I have determined, about a month ago, to memorize the Divine Mantra: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... antra.html

This will be more difficult for me and take much more time than it would for many people. Fortunately I have downloaded and listen regularly to a good quality recording of Ven. Thanissaro chanting the Divine Mantra very beautifully.
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Memorization Challenge

Postby Cittasanto » Thu May 10, 2012 8:27 pm

I Learnt the Dhammacakkhapavattena, adittpapariyaya & anatalakhana suttas and the funeral chanting in pali, and understand what they are saying reasonably well while I am reciting them, although I havn't done them for a while, will need to brush up :) :anjali: thank-you for the reminder :)

The main thing in memorising I find, is consistency, and a desire to learn them!

I would sugest a book by Ruane which has a nice selection with analasis for a good book to learn passages from!
http://www.amazon.com/Pali-Buddhist-Tex ... 070071068X
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Memorization Challenge

Postby polarbuddha101 » Thu May 10, 2012 8:32 pm

Just as the ocean has a gradual shelf, a gradual slope, a gradual inclination, with a sudden drop-off only after a long stretch, in the same way this Doctrine and Discipline (dhamma-vinaya) has a gradual training, a gradual performance, a gradual progression, with a penetration to gnosis only after a long stretch.



http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/index.html

I also will memorize this to help remind myself of the long term goal.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Memorization Challenge

Postby BKh » Thu May 10, 2012 9:01 pm

This will be more difficult for me and take much more time than it would for many people.


As a point of encouragement (not debate) I just want to say that we all have to work hard at memorizing. It is possible that for some people it may stick more quickly, but they may not necessarily keep it with them. And I think when we are memorizing Dhamma passages, there is inherent benefit from the memorization process as well as the outcome. Again, I'm not trying to debate how hard or easy it is for some people to memorize, just to remind us that no matter who we are it involves work and that work itself is valuable.

Also, I think it's fine if people would rather keep private the passage they are memorizing. They should feel free to post their aspiration here anyway.
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Memorization Challenge

Postby rowboat » Fri May 11, 2012 1:41 am

BKh wrote:
This will be more difficult for me and take much more time than it would for many people.


As a point of encouragement (not debate) I just want to say that we all have to work hard at memorizing. It is possible that for some people it may stick more quickly, but they may not necessarily keep it with them. And I think when we are memorizing Dhamma passages, there is inherent benefit from the memorization process as well as the outcome. Again, I'm not trying to debate how hard or easy it is for some people to memorize, just to remind us that no matter who we are it involves work and that work itself is valuable.

Also, I think it's fine if people would rather keep private the passage they are memorizing. They should feel free to post their aspiration here anyway.


Thank you for your encouragement, Bhante. I fully agree that there is inherent value in memorizing Dhamma passages. I think I will begin to post specific passages here once I have made more progress toward my goal. As it is now I am merely regularly listening to the Divine Mantra while sitting with my eyes closed and working at hearing-out all of the distinct Pali words. The next step, I think, is to begin regular listening while the lights are on, following along to the recording while reading the Pali text.

I very much look forward to being able to chant the complete Divine Mantra from memory.

:anjali:
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Memorization Challenge

Postby jackson » Fri May 11, 2012 6:32 am

I have a pretty terrible memory, but I think this excerpt from the Bahiya Sutta is most worthy of memorization:
"Herein, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: 'In the seen will be merely what is seen; in the heard will be merely what is heard; in the sensed will be merely what is sensed; in the cognized will be merely what is cognized.' In this way you should train yourself, Bahiya.

"When, Bahiya, for you in the seen is merely what is seen... in the cognized is merely what is cognized, then, Bahiya, you will not be 'with that.' When, Bahiya, you are not 'with that,' then, Bahiya, you will not be 'in that.' When, Bahiya, you are not 'in that,' then, Bahiya, you will be neither here nor beyond nor in between the two. Just this is the end of suffering."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.1.10.irel.html
Thank you for starting this thread!
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Memorization Challenge

Postby Cittasanto » Fri May 11, 2012 7:15 am

May I suggest that it maybe easier to learn common gathas and paritta chants, than to pick passages from the canon?

There are resourses around (such as chanting books) which have a good selection of verses from the canon, and it has the added benefit of being useful for those who go to monasteries where these chants are done, as you would be able to understand the chanting in a fuller way, and be able to chant along with the group.
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Memorization Challenge

Postby BKh » Fri May 11, 2012 9:39 am

Cittasanto wrote:May I suggest that it maybe easier to learn common gathas and paritta chants, than to pick passages from the canon?


I disagree. People should be encouraged to memorize whatever sutta passages they like. There is no benefit in people having a lingering doubt, "Oh, this is really tough. I should have been memorizing Pali verses." What is common to one person won't be common to another. Although I probably would not have chosen them, the passages people have posted so far are exactly what I had in mind when starting this thread.

Prose passages are perfect and excellent for memorization. Prose or verse, we have to work hard.

Cittasanto, I know your comment wasn't intended to discourage anyone, but I think it's important that people undertake their determination free and clear. And I really don't think pose passage are harder to memorize.
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Memorization Challenge

Postby Cittasanto » Fri May 11, 2012 6:50 pm

Hi BKh,
are people free and clear to learn Pali chanting if they wish? or both? should those who wish to not be encouraged also? or assisted with resources for those who do? or is this a non-specified English memorisation only thread?
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Memorization Challenge

Postby BKh » Fri May 11, 2012 7:25 pm

Cittasanto wrote:are people free and clear to learn Pali chanting if they wish?


Of course! I just didn't want people to be discouraged from memorizing English and prose sutta passages. Please feel free to encourage people to memorize verse and Pali, just not to the exclusion of English (or other translation) and prose.

Apologies if that wasn't clear.
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Memorization Challenge

Postby BKh » Sat May 12, 2012 10:36 am

There is a good article here on memorizing verbatim text:
http://www.productivity501.com/how-to-m ... -text/294/

I find the method suggested there very helpful. Basically, you convert your text into a string of just the first letters and use it as a recall crutch. So the text I am working on now...

§27. "Bhikkhus, for a faithful disciple who is intent on fathoming the Teacher’s Dispensation, it is natural that he conduct himself thus: ‘The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple; the Blessed One knows, I do not know.’ For a faithful disciple who is intent on fathoming the Teacher’s Dispensation, the Teacher’s Dispensation is nourishing and refreshing."


Would become...
"B, f a f d w i i o f t T’s D, i i n t h c h t: ‘T B O i t T, I a a d; t B O k, I d n k.’ F a f d w i i o f t T’s D, t T’s D i n a r."


The idea is then that you are able to stretch your memory by filling in the rest of the words when you are at the middle stage of the process: sort of know it but not really completely.

There is a tool on that page that will create this version. On this page: http://www.downes.ca/memorization.htm is just the tool. If you want you can do a "save as" for that page and keep it on your computer.
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Memorization Challenge

Postby Coyote » Thu May 24, 2012 11:39 am

Hi everyone.

Now having learnt the basic refuges and homage chants, I am endeavouring to move on to something a little more challenging. I have chosen to memorise the Karaniya Metta sutta in Pali, and also understanding its meaning in English as well. As this is a fairly common chant (as I understand it) if anyone here has any advice on memorisation techniques particular to that sutta, I would be very grateful if you could pass them on.
I will try the method suggested by BKh, although it will be interesting to see how this plays out, as I am not interested in route memorisation as such, but more memorising the chant with an understanding of its meaning in English as well.

Metta,

Coyote
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Memorization Challenge

Postby BKh » Sun May 27, 2012 5:20 pm

Coyote wrote:I have chosen to memorise the Karaniya Metta sutta in Pali, and also understanding its meaning in English as well. As this is a fairly common chant (as I understand it) if anyone here has any advice on memorisation techniques particular to that sutta, I would be very grateful if you could pass them on.

Excellent. Great choice. One thing to be aware of is that there is a slight variation in the Karaniyametta Sutta between the Burmese/Thai version and the Sri Lankan. So if you tend to spend time with a particular group, then be sure to choose the one they use. And don't be surprised if the people around you chant a few words differently.

It's also good to find a chanting style you like and stick with that as it will probably help with the memorization. With verses, you may find it is enough to make a prompting sheet of just the first letter of each line.

I will try the method suggested by BKh, although it will be interesting to see how this plays out, as I am not interested in route memorisation as such, but more memorising the chant with an understanding of its meaning in English as well.


In the suttas, we often see that an early step of understanding the Dhamma is actually memorizing the Dhamma. Other than sticking around people who had memorized the teachings, this was the only way to ensure that you could do the next steps of reflecting on it wisely and then putting it into practice. So rote memorization is always a part of the process, not just an end in and of itself. This is a very different context from school where rote memorization might simply be a means to answer questions on a test.

I just mention this so there is no confusion that rote memorization means you don't go on to reflect on the teaching and then put it into practice. It might actually be good to discuss just what people mean by rote memorization.

Do let us know how it goes.
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Memorization Challenge

Postby Cittasanto » Sun May 27, 2012 6:35 pm

Hi Coyote,
I do have some pali chanting of various suttas using the Thai pali if anyone would like these and the pali english of the text sent me a message
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Memorization Challenge

Postby Coyote » Tue May 29, 2012 8:32 pm

Hi everyone,

Now that I have finished my exams at uni, I have plenty of time during the summer to spend memorising. At the moment I am trying to learn it in English before attempting the Pali.

Coyote
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Memorization Challenge

Postby BKh » Wed May 30, 2012 1:57 pm

I thought it would be good if this thread could also include passages from the canon about memorization as well as specific things the Buddha encouraged his disciples to remember...

I just came across this passage at the end of the Dhammacetiya Sutta - Monuments to the Dhamma (MN 89):

21. Then soon after he had left, the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus, before rising from his seat and departing, this King Pasenadi uttered monuments to the Dhamma. Learn the monuments to the Dhamma, bhikkhus; master the monuments to the Dhamma; remember the monuments to the Dhamma. The monuments to the Dhamma are beneficial, bhikkhus, and they belong to the fundamentals of the holy life.”


It's a lovely sutta, especially good for developing saddha/faith. Unfortunately it is not on Access to Insight.
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