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Postby Qing Tian » Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:00 am

Something I haven't seen posted anywhere: do you, as practitioners, memorise sutras, prayers, dedications etc for recital purposes? Or do you read from scripts?

Personally I have a hard time remembering the exact wording of anything these days. more so if it is not in my first language, and I think beginner's would be somewhat daunted if they were expected to memorise the entire Lotus Sutra (for example). At one temple I went to the 'service' was given in Chinese and there were booklets handed around that had the words in Chinese (characters and Pinyin), English, and what looked like Tibetan (though could have been something Indian - I am unsure). Problem was that listening to the chanting in one language while trying to read it in another was confusing to say the least. But i digress.

So, to memorise or not to memorise?

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Re: Recitation

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:03 am

i wouldnt bother memorizing long text. heart sutra in sanskrit is starting to be long but reasonable lenght of a text to memorize. also important prayers are good to memorize but i wouldnt bother starting to memorize many pages of text which you can find a better solution to. to request them to hold english teaching nights or something similar.
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Re: Recitation

Postby Jainarayan » Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:45 pm

Thanks for bringing this up, I've wondered about it too. I think in time one learns to recite from memory. I never thought I would be able to recite some of the longer Sanskrit mantras, stotras and ślokas but I have, just by reading them over and over. It comes. There are still some longer ones I can't do; I'd like to do the Nīlakaṇṭha Dhāranī / Mahā Karuṇā Dhāranī and the Uṣṇīṣa Vijaya Dhāraṇī from memory, but unfortunately I don't recite them enough, so I still have to read them. Intention counts.
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Re: Recitation

Postby justsit » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:14 pm

It is helpful to have the chants committed to memory so you can do them anywhere, anytime, walking, driving, during illness, etc. Especially on your death bed :smile:
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Re: Recitation

Postby Seishin » Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:31 pm

I found that memorization came after many months of chanting the same thing over and over and over.... I think memorizing and reading as you chant being the best method.

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Re: Recitation

Postby Jikan » Mon Nov 04, 2013 3:27 pm

I try to memorize texts I will be practicing again and again. This is mostly how I deal with limits to my vision.
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Re: Recitation

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:45 pm

I've found I ended up memorizing things naturally as well, can't get through the whole Heart Sutra yet without reading, but things like the long mantra of Avalokiteshvara I found that after a while I just didn't need the visual aide anymore.

I've always assume there's a real benefit to knowing anything that well, just the fact that you no longer need to read the information physically to access it changes what you can do with it, I think.
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Re: Recitation

Postby KonchokZoepa » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:46 pm ... otext.html

this is a good place to learn to chant the heart sutra.
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Re: Recitation

Postby jzpowell93 » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:02 am

I like memorizing things :) I like to be able to recite things whenever and wherever, without relying on a piece of paper to remind me.

As a Linguistics major (and a linguaphile) I knew I wouldn't be able to resist memorizing a few sutras in Sanskrit. I used a technique I needed for something a few months ago and managed to get the Heart Sutra down in about a day. If you look for the right tools it should make memorizing a lot easier :)

But again! You have to think if it's something that's important for you. If you're finding it difficult reading it in one language while hearing it in another, then memorizing might take some of that difficulty away. But it'll be difficult getting to that point too perhaps.

Like another poster said , if you listen to things over and over, some parts of them you start to memorize naturally. I'd give it a try with the Heart sutra and see how it works for you! ^^
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Re: Recitation

Postby conebeckham » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:08 am

I've memorized much of my daily recitations, and it's very helpful, especially when travelling and trying to maintain a semblance of daily practice.

Monks and lamas typically memorize all of their daily recitation requirements. 100's of pages sometimes....
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Re: Recitation

Postby disjointed » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:21 am

Memorize in 2 ways.
Memorize by rhythm.
Memorize by outline.

Memorize by rhythm is memorizing by the sequence of sounds, like memorizing a song where the rhythm indicates the place in the verses.

Memorize by outline is memorizing by the outline of the root text you were given that explains the meanings in categories and by numbers. For ex: The category of hindrances to concentration of which there are 5.

When you're very sick or tired it's difficult to recall using rhythm, especially if you cannot speak, in that case you can have memorized by outlines and recall what the verses said line by line even though you're drifting in and out of coherency.
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Re: Recitation

Postby yan kong » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:23 am

I do an extremely short morning and evening practice/service that I have almost memorized just by the fact that I repeat it daily.
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