best suttas to memorize? techniques?

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alan...
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best suttas to memorize? techniques?

Postby alan... » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:13 am

i'm working on memorizing satipatthana right now. this one is very inclusive. are there any others that would be good?

here are my unfinished thoughts:

maha satipatthana: covers about 70% of what i want to memorize.

anapanasati sutta: covers meditation in detail, another 10%?

a sutta that entails metta practice or at least that section of one, another 10%?

a sutta that covers dependant origination (SN 12.65?), recollection of past lives and enlightenment (MN 36 verses 34-44?), and maybe kamma as well, so probably one of the buddha's enlightenmnet suttas. another 10% and that's 100%. sweet.


........something about not-self...(SN 22.59?).

conversely i like the idea of memorizing only one and mastering it fully, if it's only one it must cover a LOT of ground, hence; satipatthana.

i started off reading and then writing the first lines of it over and over. that made it easy to check for accuracy but once you get a few pages in that's way to much writing so now i just do it in my head and check accuracy by recording myself saying it out loud and then compare that to the text.

i've also taken a picture of the text with my phone and made the section i'm working on my background that way it's always at my finger tips and, who knows, maybe it's seeping in unconsciously as well since it's always behind whatever i'm doing making it even easier to remember. on a funny note it's currently on "foulness of the bodily parts" so if anyone looks at my phone background, and doesn't know the sutta or anything, it's "contents of the stomach, feces, bile," and so on so they would be like "wha??? you're weird! why is this your background?"

it's so long that once i've got it down i'm going to recite it in three parts, on the way to work in the morning, on the way home in afternoon, and as i lie down for bed.

if i only do this one sutta i am considering learning it in pali as well, not that i will then magically know pali but it will give me a deeper understanding of the translation and i will learn a little more pali than i currently know at least.

anyone else doing anything like this?

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Re: best suttas to memorize? techniques?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:32 am

focus on one at a time the satipatthana sutta is a big one so don't rush but get it memorised first.

the worst thing to do is rush through them.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: best suttas to memorize? techniques?

Postby alan... » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:34 am

Cittasanto wrote:focus on one at a time the satipatthana sutta is a big one so don't rush but get it memorised first.

the worst thing to do is rush through them.


couldn't agree more. i'm thinking in terms of years. however do you think it's best to only do one for life or multiples?

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Re: best suttas to memorize? techniques?

Postby ground » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:40 am

SN 35.23 suffices ... if it suffices. :sage:

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Re: best suttas to memorize? techniques?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:43 am

alan... wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:focus on one at a time the satipatthana sutta is a big one so don't rush but get it memorised first.

the worst thing to do is rush through them.


couldn't agree more. i'm thinking in terms of years. however do you think it's best to only do one for life or multiples?

I know several of the suttas. it isn't a case of best but what works.
but thinking in terms of years means you can focus on one at a time.

Learn one then think about the next.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: best suttas to memorize? techniques?

Postby alan... » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:46 am

ground wrote:SN 35.23 suffices ... if it suffices. :sage:


lolz. love it.

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Re: best suttas to memorize? techniques?

Postby alan... » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:51 am

Cittasanto wrote:
alan... wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:focus on one at a time the satipatthana sutta is a big one so don't rush but get it memorised first.

the worst thing to do is rush through them.


couldn't agree more. i'm thinking in terms of years. however do you think it's best to only do one for life or multiples?

I know several of the suttas. it isn't a case of best but what works.
but thinking in terms of years means you can focus on one at a time.

Learn one then think about the next.


which ones do you know?

i like maha satipatthana because it has a ton of info on meditation and includes the eightfold path and a description of each step. so if picking one only i imagine this one really has just about all the main points of the dhamma and really you wouldn't need much else. i don't know of another more inclusive sutta. other main points or techniques that are not in it are found in the other suttas i listed wanting to memorize. also because of the vipassana movement the satipatthana is considered a complete stand alone training so from that perspective it's all one would need to memorize if that is ones path. i don't know if i fully agree with that but i'm on the fence.

do you know of a more "outline of the dhamma/a complete practice" type sutta?

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Re: best suttas to memorize? techniques?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:09 am

alan... wrote:i like maha satipatthana . . .
Now, you'll have to pick a translation.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: best suttas to memorize? techniques?

Postby alan... » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:13 am

tiltbillings wrote:
alan... wrote:i like maha satipatthana . . .
Now, you'll have to pick a translation.

Done, bhikkhu bodhi from majjhima with the added eightfold section from maha from nyanaponika as i don't love the walshe translation. And planning to learn it in pali too and definitions of words so translation quality is less crucial. Heck if I ever feel that I really truly know every word and meaning in pali I may just forget the English version all together.

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Re: best suttas to memorize? techniques?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:22 am

I am suggesting you focus on one at a time not just learn one!
Don't get bogged down with information overload thinking about the next thing
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: best suttas to memorize? techniques?

Postby alan... » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:25 am

Cittasanto wrote:I am suggesting you focus on one at a time not just learn one!
Don't get bogged down with information overload thinking about the next thing

so you think it's a bad idea to just memorize one? Why? I will still study other suttas but only fully memorize one.

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Re: best suttas to memorize? techniques?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:39 am

alan... wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:I am suggesting you focus on one at a time not just learn one!
Don't get bogged down with information overload thinking about the next thing

so you think it's a bad idea to just memorize one? Why? I will still study other suttas but only fully memorize one.

No, and I have never suggested that.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: best suttas to memorize? techniques?

Postby befriend » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:24 pm

a comprehensive sutta is the metta sutta. and also the sutta taught to rahula about having clear comprehension and making ones mind imperturbable like the elements. its the rahula something sutta i forget what its called but it has the name rahula in it.

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Re: best suttas to memorize? techniques?

Postby Bakmoon » Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:50 pm

alan... wrote:i'm working on memorizing satipatthana right now. this one is very inclusive. are there any others that would be good?

here are my unfinished thoughts:

maha satipatthana: covers about 70% of what i want to memorize.

anapanasati sutta: covers meditation in detail, another 10%?

a sutta that entails metta practice or at least that section of one, another 10%?

a sutta that covers dependant origination (SN 12.65?), recollection of past lives and enlightenment (MN 36 verses 34-44?), and maybe kamma as well, so probably one of the buddha's enlightenmnet suttas. another 10% and that's 100%. sweet.


........something about not-self...(SN 22.59?).

conversely i like the idea of memorizing only one and mastering it fully, if it's only one it must cover a LOT of ground, hence; satipatthana.

i started off reading and then writing the first lines of it over and over. that made it easy to check for accuracy but once you get a few pages in that's way to much writing so now i just do it in my head and check accuracy by recording myself saying it out loud and then compare that to the text.

i've also taken a picture of the text with my phone and made the section i'm working on my background that way it's always at my finger tips and, who knows, maybe it's seeping in unconsciously as well since it's always behind whatever i'm doing making it even easier to remember. on a funny note it's currently on "foulness of the bodily parts" so if anyone looks at my phone background, and doesn't know the sutta or anything, it's "contents of the stomach, feces, bile," and so on so they would be like "wha??? you're weird! why is this your background?"

it's so long that once i've got it down i'm going to recite it in three parts, on the way to work in the morning, on the way home in afternoon, and as i lie down for bed.

if i only do this one sutta i am considering learning it in pali as well, not that i will then magically know pali but it will give me a deeper understanding of the translation and i will learn a little more pali than i currently know at least.

anyone else doing anything like this?


I would recommend memorizing the Ananda sutta SN 54.13 instead of the Anapanasati Sutta because it covers the same material with a shorter introduction, but that's just me.

In terms of memorizing technique, there is one method I find useful. I break up the sutta into different sections (each short enough to chant on one breath) and I print them out on a piece of paper. I then chant section 1 and 2 about 4 or 5 times, and then I cover the paper and try to chant it from memory another 4 or 5 times. If I can't do it, I chant it from the paper another 4 or 5 times and then try again.

Then I do the same thing for section 2 and 3, and then 3 and 4, then 4 and 5, etc... until I get to the end of the page. The reason why I make sure my memorizing practice overlaps is because when you do it that way, it is really easy to remember what part comes next. After getting to the end of the page, I try to chant the whole thing from memory. If I can't do the whole thing, then I re-memorize the sections I had problems with. After successfully chanting a page from memory a few times, I take a break and see if I can do it again in an hour, and then review it, and move on to the next page the next day.

Make sure that before you memorize anything new on a day that you spend time reviewing by re-chanting what you already memorized so that you don't forget it, and once you memorize the whole thing to chant it regularly so you don't forget it.

The Girimananda Sutta AN 10.60 is very popular for memorizing among some forest monks because it lists several different types of meditation.

Have you memorized the Metta Sutta and the Mangala Sutta yet? Those are some of my favorite to chant.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

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Re: best suttas to memorize? techniques?

Postby alan... » Sat Dec 22, 2012 6:24 am

befriend wrote:a comprehensive sutta is the metta sutta. and also the sutta taught to rahula about having clear comprehension and making ones mind imperturbable like the elements. its the rahula something sutta i forget what its called but it has the name rahula in it.


thanks much, great suggestions!

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Re: best suttas to memorize? techniques?

Postby alan... » Sat Dec 22, 2012 6:24 am

Bakmoon wrote:
alan... wrote:i'm working on memorizing satipatthana right now. this one is very inclusive. are there any others that would be good?

here are my unfinished thoughts:

maha satipatthana: covers about 70% of what i want to memorize.

anapanasati sutta: covers meditation in detail, another 10%?

a sutta that entails metta practice or at least that section of one, another 10%?

a sutta that covers dependant origination (SN 12.65?), recollection of past lives and enlightenment (MN 36 verses 34-44?), and maybe kamma as well, so probably one of the buddha's enlightenmnet suttas. another 10% and that's 100%. sweet.


........something about not-self...(SN 22.59?).

conversely i like the idea of memorizing only one and mastering it fully, if it's only one it must cover a LOT of ground, hence; satipatthana.

i started off reading and then writing the first lines of it over and over. that made it easy to check for accuracy but once you get a few pages in that's way to much writing so now i just do it in my head and check accuracy by recording myself saying it out loud and then compare that to the text.

i've also taken a picture of the text with my phone and made the section i'm working on my background that way it's always at my finger tips and, who knows, maybe it's seeping in unconsciously as well since it's always behind whatever i'm doing making it even easier to remember. on a funny note it's currently on "foulness of the bodily parts" so if anyone looks at my phone background, and doesn't know the sutta or anything, it's "contents of the stomach, feces, bile," and so on so they would be like "wha??? you're weird! why is this your background?"

it's so long that once i've got it down i'm going to recite it in three parts, on the way to work in the morning, on the way home in afternoon, and as i lie down for bed.

if i only do this one sutta i am considering learning it in pali as well, not that i will then magically know pali but it will give me a deeper understanding of the translation and i will learn a little more pali than i currently know at least.

anyone else doing anything like this?


I would recommend memorizing the Ananda sutta SN 54.13 instead of the Anapanasati Sutta because it covers the same material with a shorter introduction, but that's just me.

In terms of memorizing technique, there is one method I find useful. I break up the sutta into different sections (each short enough to chant on one breath) and I print them out on a piece of paper. I then chant section 1 and 2 about 4 or 5 times, and then I cover the paper and try to chant it from memory another 4 or 5 times. If I can't do it, I chant it from the paper another 4 or 5 times and then try again.

Then I do the same thing for section 2 and 3, and then 3 and 4, then 4 and 5, etc... until I get to the end of the page. The reason why I make sure my memorizing practice overlaps is because when you do it that way, it is really easy to remember what part comes next. After getting to the end of the page, I try to chant the whole thing from memory. If I can't do the whole thing, then I re-memorize the sections I had problems with. After successfully chanting a page from memory a few times, I take a break and see if I can do it again in an hour, and then review it, and move on to the next page the next day.

Make sure that before you memorize anything new on a day that you spend time reviewing by re-chanting what you already memorized so that you don't forget it, and once you memorize the whole thing to chant it regularly so you don't forget it.

The Girimananda Sutta AN 10.60 is very popular for memorizing among some forest monks because it lists several different types of meditation.

Have you memorized the Metta Sutta and the Mangala Sutta yet? Those are some of my favorite to chant.



awesome! thanks. i like your technique.

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Re: best suttas to memorize? techniques?

Postby Jaidyn » Sat Dec 22, 2012 11:13 am

For memorizing I liked MN 10 and MN 2 (or was it MN 4)..Go for memorizing the first small portion until you master it, learn the next and master it, Read both of them starting with the first and then the next and try to master them both in succession. Continue and learn the third one in isolation, and then restart by trying to master the three in succession. In the middle of the sutta you do not need to restart entierly from the start, but may chose a middle-point to return to. Certain parts will be harder and requires extra attention or techniques. Be flexible. Finally you can read the whole sutta from memory.

Calming the mind is good. It is easy to get frustrated but then it becomes a good training in keeping the mind calm., A certain joy will arise once the parts are mastered and read from memory, the mind still has to keep calm and not be overturned by the joy (the same as with frustration).

The benefits, as you probably know, are that you have access to them wherever you are, and you will "embody" the teachings in your daily life in a whole new way. You will start to see how more of the details in your daily life may relate to the details in the suttas.

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Re: best suttas to memorize? techniques?

Postby karunametta » Sun Dec 23, 2012 4:17 am

when you guys are memorizing these suttas, are you memorizing both the pali and english, or just english? Or maybe just pali?

Metta Sutta and Reflections on Sharing Blessings are good ones. After you memorize satipatthana though :)

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Re: best suttas to memorize? techniques?

Postby SamKR » Sun Dec 23, 2012 5:06 am

alan... wrote:

........something about not-self...(SN 22.59?).


Yes, Anattalakkhana Sutta: SN 22.59
I think it would be good to memorize by reading slowly while understanding and contemplating/experiencing each sentence.
I have not tried to memorize like that though.

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Re: best suttas to memorize? techniques?

Postby equilibrium » Sun Dec 23, 2012 12:06 pm

Why would one want to "memorize"?.....even if one could memorize all the suttas, surely by memorizing does not set one free?
Is "understanding" and "comprehension" not the main purpose?.....if done, one can let go rather than to "hold on".....by clinging.


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