Piggybacking on @SarathW1’s comment here:
What is the future of Sutta Central?
Firstly, Tipiṭakadhāra Sayadaws (holders of the tipiṭaka)… holy ! they have memorized the Buddhist canon? That’s like an entire bookcase in their mind, kinda incomprehensible…
Anyway, here’s another example of an extraordinarily powerful sati/memory:
Documentary on The Boy Who Can’t Forget
It really is incredible what the human mind is capable of. Another example is the famous case of Kim Peek. From his Wikipedia page:
According to Peek’s father, Fran (Francis) Peek, Kim was able to memorize things from the age of 16–20 months. He read books, memorized them, and then placed them upside down on the shelf to show that he had finished reading them, a practice he maintained all his life. He could speed through a book in about an hour and remember almost everything he had read, memorizing vast amounts of information in subjects ranging from history and literature, geography and numbers to sports, music and dates. Peek read by scanning the left page with his left eye, then the right page with his right eye. According to an article in The Times newspaper, he could accurately recall the contents of at least 12,000 books.
As I recall, Bhante Gunaratana also had this kind of memory when he was young. He borrowed his college text books and read through them before the classes started, returned them, and could refer to them in his head thereafter.
I think Buddha’s attendant Ven. Ananda also had a such a memory.
Yea, what I thought of too. All these amazing cases give credence to the idea that one monk in particular could’ve held the entire catalogue of teachings.
Yeah, I recall reading someone speculating that Venerable Ananda might have been a savant.