Memory - improvement techniques

A place to discuss health and fitness, including healthy diets, etc.
Post Reply
User avatar
PSM
Posts: 163
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:15 pm

Memory - improvement techniques

Post by PSM » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:30 pm

I have a really poor memory, specifically moving things from short term to long term memory. Recalling names is also strangely difficult. I think one of the major things causing this was medication I was (unfortunately) on years ago which had a very negative impact on my memory. In any case, I don't think you can have a memory which is too good. And anyway, it obviously aids dharma practice massively.

I would really appreciate memory improvement techniques, Buddhist, Hindu and otherwise. Obviously the Indian traditions have a long history of memory feats, including the preservation of Buddhists sutras as an oral tradition. It would be great to learn some of the memory techniques used for this. One I seem to remember from somewhere (Dr Thurman maybe) where young monks would recite passages of text together, but each would be reciting a different text - keeping focussed on their own text while everyone else is acting as a noisy distraction greatly increased focus and recall. Then there are practices based around deities like Manjushri or Saraswati.

As for nutrition, I have personally benefitted from fish oil and lion's mane mushroom powder, the latter having a noticeable effect on recall.
"The only virtue which cannot be faked is courage" - Nassim Nicholas Taleb
"Not practicing dharma is painful" - Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
"We don't want to feel the weirdness of life." - James Low

Miroku
Posts: 793
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:18 am

Re: Memory - improvement techniques

Post by Miroku » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:46 pm

I am very oldschool and I think good old learning by heart could be of help. Try memorizing prayers or buddhist poetry. Try very pithy instructions or haikus at first and slowly move on to longer ones.
Child, if you are not hypocritical and out of control, that is conduct.
~ Padampa Sangye

You say such clever things to people, but you do not apply them to yourself.
The faults within you are the ones to be exposed.
~ Padampa Sangye

User avatar
PSM
Posts: 163
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:15 pm

Re: Memory - improvement techniques

Post by PSM » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:00 pm

Miroku wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:46 pm
I am very oldschool and I think good old learning by heart could be of help. Try memorizing prayers or buddhist poetry. Try very pithy instructions or haikus at first and slowly move on to longer ones.
Rote memorisation definitely works as a memory improvement technique. And it used to be an integral part of a traditional western school education (times tables etc.). It would be great to learn the traditional dharma-related memorisation methods. I know rhyming or rhythmic text is one method.
"The only virtue which cannot be faked is courage" - Nassim Nicholas Taleb
"Not practicing dharma is painful" - Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
"We don't want to feel the weirdness of life." - James Low

Miroku
Posts: 793
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:18 am

Re: Memory - improvement techniques

Post by Miroku » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:02 pm

PSM wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:00 pm
Miroku wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:46 pm
I am very oldschool and I think good old learning by heart could be of help. Try memorizing prayers or buddhist poetry. Try very pithy instructions or haikus at first and slowly move on to longer ones.
Rote memorisation definitely works as a memory improvement technique. And it used to be an integral part of a traditional western school education (times tables etc.). It would be great to learn the traditional dharma-related memorisation methods. I know rhyming or rhythmic text is one method.
It is the basic one, yeah. When it has rhymes or a melody then it is easier to memorize. Plus I think there is a certain benefit in remembering these things and being able to recite them. I honestly would start with some really short quotations, then maybe a short vajra song and have a goal memorizing a heart sutra with traditional melody/rythm used in zen chanting, or sth like that.

But then ofc you can also be more practical and learn a new language that could help too I think. Movement is important for memory too.
Child, if you are not hypocritical and out of control, that is conduct.
~ Padampa Sangye

You say such clever things to people, but you do not apply them to yourself.
The faults within you are the ones to be exposed.
~ Padampa Sangye

Motova
Posts: 1157
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:05 pm

Re: Memory - improvement techniques

Post by Motova » Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:31 pm

Giving up sensory desire is probably the best.

You want to start living in your mind's eye or sense consciousnesses. You have two choices: artificial memory techniques and natural memory techniques. Artificial techniques essentially have you construct and encode information using the sense consciousnesses. Natural techniques essentially have you walk it back using emotional and conceptual or sensory bridges to connect information and events.

Learn your Yidam's artistic measurements, your astrological system, and Tibetan phonetics if you're a Vajrayana practitioner.

It would be great if you could master the jnanas....

Dharma is the best memory improvement system.

Finally, the more you memorize the easier it is to memorize.

Bristollad
Posts: 417
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2015 11:39 am

Re: Memory - improvement techniques

Post by Bristollad » Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:04 pm

Many people find that it can be beneficial to combine your memorisation with physical activity - Tibetan monks pace up and down whilst reciting a text out loud when memorising. I also have a terrible memory but I managed to memorise my daily prayers by recording them into an mp3 file which I would then listen to and join in with whilst walking to work each day - after 4 or 5 days they stuck.

User avatar
PSM
Posts: 163
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:15 pm

Re: Memory - improvement techniques

Post by PSM » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:24 pm

Motova wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:31 pm
You want to start living in your mind's eye or sense consciousnesses. You have two choices: artificial memory techniques and natural memory techniques.
This is an interesting differentiation. In my opinion, ideally, memory wouldn't rely on artificial techniques.
Dharma is the best memory improvement system.

Finally, the more you memorize the easier it is to memorize.
100% true.
"The only virtue which cannot be faked is courage" - Nassim Nicholas Taleb
"Not practicing dharma is painful" - Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
"We don't want to feel the weirdness of life." - James Low

User avatar
PSM
Posts: 163
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:15 pm

Re: Memory - improvement techniques

Post by PSM » Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:40 pm

Bristollad wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:04 pm
Many people find that it can be beneficial to combine your memorisation with physical activity - Tibetan monks pace up and down whilst reciting a text out loud when memorising. I also have a terrible memory but I managed to memorise my daily prayers by recording them into an mp3 file which I would then listen to and join in with whilst walking to work each day - after 4 or 5 days they stuck.
The connection between exercise and memory/cognitive abilities is very interesting. Apparently the best thing to fend of mental degradation due to age is weight training.
"The only virtue which cannot be faked is courage" - Nassim Nicholas Taleb
"Not practicing dharma is painful" - Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
"We don't want to feel the weirdness of life." - James Low

pemachophel
Posts: 1210
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:19 pm
Location: Lafayette, CO

Re: Memory - improvement techniques

Post by pemachophel » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:15 pm

To improve memory:

Manjushri's mantra
Saraswati's mantra
Ganapati Hridaya Sutra
Vajra Vidarana dharani
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

User avatar
Sonam Wangchug
Posts: 237
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:26 pm

Re: Memory - improvement techniques

Post by Sonam Wangchug » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:54 am

Powdered Myrobalan

User avatar
Monlam Tharchin
Global Moderator
Posts: 1785
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:11 am

Re: Memory - improvement techniques

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:35 am

I'm the same way.
Then I memorized the Amitabha Sutra which can be recited in 15-20 minutes.
First I learned the story so I knew what came next generally.
Then I tried to anticipate words and entire sentences while reading with a ruler angled to reveal only a few words at a time.
The lists of buddhas' names I made a mental movie almost, a story based on the qualities. Mental images helped a lot.
"With a Flaming Shoulder, he speaks the Universal Sound, Not to be Assailed. The Sunrise casts a Net of Light."

Memorizing a short sutra has shown me that a poor memory can be trained and improved like a skill.
I would say my memory has improved generally from this practice.

If you find something meaningful to you to memorize, so much the easier and more beneficial it will be. Dharma is a great thing to memorize. You can carry it with you.

Good luck!
Amitābha Buddha!
OM MA NI PE ME HUNG
TAYATA OM BEKANDZE BEKANDZE MAHA BEKANDZE RADZA SAMUDGATE SOHA

Pure Land Buddhism resources
* Teachings of Hōnen
* Jōdo-shū North America Buddhist Missions
* Free Pure Land books
* Taming the Monkey Mind
* Buddhism of Wisdom and Faith
* Pure Land Teachings of Master Chu-Hung

User avatar
sangyey
Posts: 455
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 12:00 am

Re: Memory - improvement techniques

Post by sangyey » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:50 pm

What version of the Amitabha Sutra did you memorize Monlam Tharchin?

User avatar
Monlam Tharchin
Global Moderator
Posts: 1785
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:11 am

Re: Memory - improvement techniques

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:48 pm

Greetings! I learned the BDK translation. Here's a copy online. The sutra starts on p. 115 of the PDF. For the buddha names, I used the English translations on p. 127.
Amitābha Buddha!
OM MA NI PE ME HUNG
TAYATA OM BEKANDZE BEKANDZE MAHA BEKANDZE RADZA SAMUDGATE SOHA

Pure Land Buddhism resources
* Teachings of Hōnen
* Jōdo-shū North America Buddhist Missions
* Free Pure Land books
* Taming the Monkey Mind
* Buddhism of Wisdom and Faith
* Pure Land Teachings of Master Chu-Hung

User avatar
sangyey
Posts: 455
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 12:00 am

Re: Memory - improvement techniques

Post by sangyey » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:02 pm

Thank you!

Post Reply

Return to “Wellness, Diet and Fitness”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 16 guests