You are currently browsing the daily archive for 13 May 2012.
When studying Buddhism, it isn’t long before we encounter lists. List of benefits, lists of vows, lists of downfalls – four of this, six of that, the list (of lists!) seems to be endless. Many such lists can be found in the booklet: The Vows and Commitments of Kadampa Buddhism.
These lists are a traditional and extremely useful way of bringing structure to a topic and presenting Buddhadharma in a logical and elegant manner. Each item on each list is there for a reason and is very important.
There are many benefits from memorising Dharma in general:
- It improves our memory/mindfulness
- It improves our concentration
- It develops our effort and patience
- It develops our self-confidence
- It improves our knowledge of Dharma
- It allows us to recall Dharma at appropriate moments, such as when we are in danger of developing a delusion such as anger
- It allows us to contemplate Dharma during the day without having to reference actual texts
- It allows us to recall Dharma during contempation meditation – very useful for making our meditations powerful
- It improves our ability to understand other Dharma instructions, because we can immediately cross reference
- It gives us something meaningful with which to occupy our spare time
- It gives us confidence when we are discussing Dharma with friends
- It helps to make our lives meaningful
Wouldn’t it be a wonderful ability to be able to remember all these lists at the drop of a hat? Wouldn’t it be intensely meaningful to be able to listen to a teaching and recognise when the teacher skilfully weaves in items from one of these lists? Wouldn’t it be fantastic to be able to draw from these lists confidently in your own teachings, or when discussing Dharma with friends? Wouldn’t it be so beneficial to be able to go through these lists to ourselves when we have a few minutes of free time?
A principal benefit of being able to remember these lists is that it gives us the ability to bring them into our meditations.
By remembering the meaning of each item in our analytical meditation (contemplation) we can build a very clear and well qualified object which we can then focus on in our placement meditation.
Rather then peeking at our text during our meditation (and upsetting our concentration), it is much better to commit the list to memory. In this way we can go through the list mentally without interruption. We can build the object gradually and transition to placement meditation smoothly.
In this series of posts, I would like to share a method of memorising these lists so that your Dharma knowledge and wisdom can flourish. What I am going to present not my invention, and there are many, many other methods out there, but this one works for me – I hope it works for you!
With all these benefits on the cards, I hope you’ll stay tuned for the next post in this series where we will start to look at how to approach the memorisation of lists.
Love Vide x