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Re: Memorizing Texts

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  • dkotschessa
    ... the ... first ... Thank you Jim, and Thanks for your suggestion. I agree about the mental training aspect of it and it s one of the things that motivates
    Message 1 of 8 , Apr 16, 2008
      --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "Jim Anderson" <jimanderson.on@...> wrote:
      >
      > Dear PG and Dave K.
      >
      > I think memorizing texts is very good training for the mind. Until
      the
      > canonical texts were first written down in their entirety in the
      first
      > century B.C.E. in Sri Lanka, they had to be memorized and transmitted
      > orally.

      Thank you Jim, and Thanks for your suggestion. I agree about the
      mental training aspect of it and it's one of the things that motivates
      me to do it.

      I often wonder if the elders had any particular technique for
      memorizing/transmitting the texts for all those years. I suppose
      that, in addition to having incredible minds, they were part of a
      culture where this was not unusual. But even so, that is a LOT of
      text.

      I suppose this also accounts for a lot of the repetition in the texts,
      which sounds a lot more musical in Pali.

      Does anybody know of any standard course of material that monks may be
      required to memorize? Texts from the Khuddaka Nikaya maybe?

      -DaveK
    • P G Dave
      Thanks DaveK, I d tried an unfamiliar piece of text in english from that very page. with metta, PG ___________________________ ... [Non-text portions of this
      Message 2 of 8 , Apr 17, 2008
        Thanks DaveK,

        I'd tried an unfamiliar piece of text in english from that very page.

        with metta,
        PG
        ___________________________

        On 4/16/08, dkotschessa <dkotschessa@...> wrote:
        >
        > --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com <Pali%40yahoogroups.com>, "P G Dave"
        > <pgd2507@...> wrote:
        > >
        > > Hi DaveK,
        > >
        > > I tried the tool on that page. works well as long as that string
        > of 1st
        > > letters is in front of you. After using the string to recall the
        > original
        > > passage successfully 3-4 times, I tried remembering the passage
        > without the
        > > string in front of me. my performance dropped to a poor 20% or so.
        > so, the
        > > real problem and challange is to memorise the abstract and
        > meaningless
        > > string that acts as a peg / trigger to the memory. How wud u do
        > that...and
        > > preferably...is there a way to recall independent of the string
        > once it's
        > > been used 2-3 times bcos that shud be the ultimate aim anyway?
        >
        > If you've used classic mnemonics before, you might be expecting the
        > same kind of instant satisfaction they often to provide. But I
        > would set my expectation for this technique a little lower. It's
        > better than rote memorization - but not TOO much better.
        >
        > I would take what the article says about the preparatory work as
        > gospel. Reading the text allowed, copying it by hand, outlining,
        > hearing it read aloud by someone else, etc.
        >
        > That being said, I suppose you COULD use other memory devices for
        > this part of it, such as picking out key words and stringing them
        > together using typical mnemonics. This is what Harry Loryanne and
        > Jerry Lucas teach in their classic "The Memory Book."
        >
        > I've never found this technique ultimately useful becuase it doesn't
        > get the "in between" words that are to abstract for mnemonization.
        > ("if," "too," "than.") But perhaps it would help for this
        > preparatory stage?
        >
        > One of the comments I saw there proposed the idea of lumping the
        > letters together, creating a word out of those and using mnemonics
        > for that. I don't know how well that would work, because you'd be
        > adding more letters in to form your actual word.
        >
        > Did you try this with a text that you were already pretty familiar
        > with? My first attempt was with the middle part of the Kalama
        > sutta, which is already fairly close to my heart in many ways. I
        > have to admit I haven't worked at it that much yet so I can't really
        > report on the results, but it seemed to be working. I know I
        > couldn't say the same for a less familiar text.
        >
        > -DaveK
        >
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • P G Dave
        Jim, DaveK. ...and that s what I wondered too, DaveK. all present day techniques are quite labourious and seem unequal to the task that the elders
        Message 3 of 8 , Apr 17, 2008
          Jim, DaveK.

          ...and that's what I wondered too, DaveK. all present day techniques are
          quite labourious and seem unequal to the task that the elders
          accomplished. there has to be a much superior technique that the elders
          followed (which perhaps included training of the mind in some way to grasp
          and retain on one hearing) because that really is a huge amount of material
          even to read in one lifetime much less memorise...

          incidentally, I recall from my childhood how elders got a group of young
          students to memorise sanskrit .slokas, stotras, vedic hymns, etc. -- the
          elder would recite one line at a time and the class would follow in unison.
          each line would be repeated 3 times before moving on to the next. then the
          whole .sloka wud be recited together. the recitation was done in the poetic
          metre (chanda) that applied so that the cadence also aided memory. the
          elder, sometimes armed with a cane, walked between the ranks with his ear
          strained to catch the faltering sound and responded "appropriately" whenever
          he detected one. the next day a revision recitation of the complete text
          learnt until the previous day was done -- a bright student led the
          recitation this time and the rest of the class followed in unison.
          Thereafter, a new piece of text was taken up for memorisation.

          A similar method was used to memorise math tables including fraction tables:
          1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1-1/4 all the way upto 3-1/2
          these were also recited in a simple tune / rhythm.

          making it a group activity took boredom out of it.

          with metta,
          PG
          __________________________________________


          On 4/16/08, dkotschessa <dkotschessa@...> wrote:
          >
          > --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com <Pali%40yahoogroups.com>, "Jim Anderson"
          > <jimanderson.on@...> wrote:
          > >
          > > Dear PG and Dave K.
          > >
          > > I think memorizing texts is very good training for the mind. Until
          > the
          > > canonical texts were first written down in their entirety in the
          > first
          > > century B.C.E. in Sri Lanka, they had to be memorized and transmitted
          > > orally.
          >
          > Thank you Jim, and Thanks for your suggestion. I agree about the
          > mental training aspect of it and it's one of the things that motivates
          > me to do it.
          >
          > I often wonder if the elders had any particular technique for
          > memorizing/transmitting the texts for all those years. I suppose
          > that, in addition to having incredible minds, they were part of a
          > culture where this was not unusual. But even so, that is a LOT of
          > text.
          >
          > I suppose this also accounts for a lot of the repetition in the texts,
          > which sounds a lot more musical in Pali.
          >
          > Does anybody know of any standard course of material that monks may be
          > required to memorize? Texts from the Khuddaka Nikaya maybe?
          >
          > -DaveK
          >
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Nina van Gorkom
          Dear Dave K, ... N: I think of the chanting of texts by the monks at specific occasions, such as in Thailand or Birma. For instance texts from the
          Message 4 of 8 , Apr 17, 2008
            Dear Dave K,
            Op 16-apr-2008, om 16:43 heeft dkotschessa het volgende geschreven:

            > Does anybody know of any standard course of material that monks may be
            > required to memorize? Texts from the Khuddaka Nikaya maybe?
            --------
            N: I think of the chanting of texts by the monks at specific
            occasions, such as in Thailand or Birma. For instance texts from the
            Dhammasangani, the first book of the Abhidhamma: kusala dhamma,
            akusala dhamma, abhyakata dhamma (indeterminate dhamma, neither
            kusala or akusala). This comprises all phenomena of our life.
            Or at a funeral: how impressive to hear: sabbe sa.nkhaaraa aniccaa.
            I heard that groups of lay people in Birma used to come together and
            recite parts of the Patthanaa (book of the Abhidhamma on the
            Conditions). Monks take several days to recite the whole Patthanaa.
            There are still monks who know the whole of the Tipitaka by heart,
            and Jim mentioned this to me.
            Nina.




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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