if there’s enough interest in this, i’ll start up a wiki page for it. here’s some of the passages i have in my notes:
sutta passages that are expected to be memorized
suttas explicitly worded
SN 56: 13, 14 : four noble truths
- SN 56.13 short sutta contains standard formula for 4 noble truths.
- SN 56.14 is the same as 56.13 except first noble truth is in form of 6 sense bases instead of 5 aggregates
- in SN 56.15, the buddha says “Bhikkhus, do you remember the Four Noble Truths taught by me?”, and although the monk's response is just an outline, it's implied that SN 56.13 and 56.14 should be the suttas that are memorized.
- in SN 56.16, once again buddha asks “Bhikkhus, do you remember the Four Noble Truths taught by me?”, this time the answer has to do with how to deal with outsider ascetics who claim to overturn the 4 noble truths.
AN 6.29 udaayi sutta
6 recollections are expected to be memorized. the buddha asks Udaayi, "what are the 5 recollections?" and udaayi after faltering answers wrongly. the buddha calls him a foolish man, and then asks aananda what the 5 recollections are. ananda answers correctly, of course. after ananda answers, the buddha tells them to remember a 6th recollection that he just made up, showing the evolutionary aspect of the oral tradition to adapt to how situations change.
- standard formula for first 3 jhanas, and their purpose is for "pleasant abiding here and now"
- luminosity perception for attainment of knowledge and vision
- 31 body parts, for removal of lust
- 9 cemetary contemplations for uprooting asmi-mana
- standard formula for 4th jhana
- sati and sampajanna present while in various postures
SN 12.45 at nyatika
the teaching in this sutta is a subset of the standard 12 link paticca samupada, roughly equivalent to the links that are dealt with in guarding the sense doors, and the aaditta pariyaya (fire sermon) sutta where the 6 sense bases are burning.
what's fascinating about this sutta is we get to witness that even a perfect enlightened samma sambuddha still has to take time and figure out how to craft the wording of the teaching to be useful, easy to memorize, effectively communicated to disciples of diverse socio economic backgrounds, etc.
Now on that occasion a certain bhikkhu was standing listening in on the Blessed One. The Blessed One saw him standing there listening in and said to him: “Did you hear that Dhamma exposition, bhikkhu?”
6“Yes, venerable sir.”
7“Learn that Dhamma exposition, bhikkhu, master it and remember it. That Dhamma exposition is beneficial and relevant to the fundamentals of the holy life.”