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Becoming Genius: Self-instruction in Dhamma

September 27, 2013

  1. peaceandwisdom2013 permalink

    I understand that the stage of Duplication requires defining all terminology and placing them in correct context. I also understand that we need to work with the original source.

    But my question is thus: by “exact copy of the original source” do you mean a word-for-word memorization of the source into our mind (almost like creating photographic memory)? Or do you mean using the original source to define/ clarify all misunderstood terms, place them in correct context, and then apply the stage of understanding (mind-mapping, outlining…)?

    • Good question. There are varying degrees of duplication. The very best is eidetic memory, when a verbatim copy of the source is engraved on your mind, impressed in your very being, along with the definitions. ‘Photographic’ memory is not good enough, because it doesn’t include meaning. Religious schools in the past trained monks in literal recall, and it didn’t stop them from deteriorating to the present pathetic state.

      There was a famous case in India during the British occupation where a brahmana overheard a conversation—in English—between two conspirators. The brahmana was able to recite this conversation perfectly from memory on the witness stand, but had no concept what the suspects were talking about, because he didn’t speak English. That’s not the kind of literal duplication we need, but one that includes context and meaning.

      The standard of duplication must be that one can construct a cause-and-effect model of the subject so accurate that not only allows one to practice the subject at a professional level, but also can predict the behavior of the system in unprecedented cases. Then you know you have successfully duplicated the source information. Of course all this is based on the assumption that the source is accurate and complete, and indeed is an excellent test for whether one possesses a good copy of the source.

      For example, we know there is some likelihood of interpolation of the Suttas prior to the earliest original copies extant today. The result of religious fashion is similar to political changes—a revisionist attitude toward the past. The original texts are changed to support today’s interpretation. The trick is to understand the motivations of the revisionists well enough to subtract their changes—but that takes real expertise.

  2. peaceandwisdom2013 permalink

    Can you make available the slides you are using from these videos?
    I fully understand the original purpose of simultaneously listening to the video in the original presenter’s voice and reading silently to oneself- I will definitely do this. I was thinking, after I do this, I can then more thoroughly review the slides one-by-one on my laptop or print them hardcopy. The reason for this is that I can more quickly locate the information rather than finding them on the video. Again, I am not forgetting the original purpose of actually watching and listening to the videos!

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