I’ve been doing a deep dive into Mn 140, and as a way of contemplating it while simultaneously furthering my pāli skills, I thought it might be worthwhile to memorize it, perhaps in the form of a chant.
That being said, I imagine that there is a standard format for chanting an entire sutta which would make it slightly easier to memorize. Any pointers as to how I could go about this would be helpful!
(Perhaps there’s audio of monks chanting it that I just can’t find?)
It’s not a commonly chanted Sutta so won’t be easy to find.
Start at the beginning and just keep going till you get to the end
If you search the forum using memorising or memorizing you’ll see there has been some posts on this topic.
I remember Bhante Sujato saying that you should practice every day and always recite the section you have learnt already whilst continuing to learn a new section. Then after you have learnt it keep practicing it for a few months afterwards and then once a month or so.
Unfortunately it requires a lot of time and effort to learn a Sutta by heart. You can try using some memory techniques but most people just brute force it by learning it by rote. Personally I think chanting with others is useful (it an get lonely and you can lose motivation on your own) but the hard work always has to be done by yourself.
At the beginning , I chant each line repeatedly, then each verse. When I am a little confident, I use my hand to cover the right hand side of the pages which forces you to shift from reading to remembering and later I cover just the left side, and then when more confident close the book but keep it nearby. Later I’ll go back and deliberately chant whilst reading to make sure I haven’t learnt any mistakes before it’s too late to unlearn them!
I always chant something before I meditate, and I’ll chant it 3 times in a row, even later when I know it better, as this helps cement it. I also visualise the page and can see each verse in my mind. Other people like to learn chanting whilst walking back and forth. I find having some slight variation in the pitch for certain words helps me remember it more like a song rather than just a slab of the same sound. I regularly return to pieces from my repertoire so that I don’t forget them. Sometimes I’ll recite everything I know, which is fun and Im glad the list is still growing.
Try listening to several versions of more common chants (such as the parritas or the Dhammacakkapavatana sutta to find a style that you like and use that as a model for your chanting style.
There is a beautiful moment when it just clicks and you realise you’ve learnt it. Bliss.
PaliAudio.com has many MN suttas chanted and can give you an idea how prose might be chanted: