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World’s Best Memory For Published Texts

World’s Best Memory For Published Texts

The Guinness Book of Records of 1985 has this entry:
Human memory: Bhandanta Vicitsara (sic) recited 16,000 pages of Buddhist canonical texts in Rangoon, Burma in May 1954. Rare instances of eidetic memory – the ability to project and hence “usually” recall material – are known to science.

The Venerable Mingun Sayadaw U Vicittasarabhivamsa was the first to win the titles Tipitakadhara Dhammabhandagarika (Bearer of the Three Pitakas and Keeper of the Dhamma Treasure).

In 1948, the Government decided to institute the Tipitakadhara Examination. It is an oral and written examination lasting thirty-three days. The candidate is examined in the three Pitakas: Vinaya, Sutta and Abhidhamma. The oral examination in the Vinaya covers five volumes in five books comprising 2260 pages. In the Sutta, the oral examination covers three volumes in the three books comprising 782 pages and in Abhidhamma covers seven volumes in twelve books comprising 4941 pages. The oral examination on these 7983 pages or about 2.4 million words is not a viva voce, a question and answer examination. It is an examination on total recall and faultless reproduction.
The written examination is not only on the Pali Cannon but also on the Commentaries and Subcommentaries. The ten major Commentaries in ten books and the major Subcommentaries in fourteen books cover 17917 pages.On a January afternoon in 1954, the Venerable U Vicittasarabhivamsa successfully completed the recitation of the Pathika Vagga of the Sutta Pitaka and a Tipitakadhara Dhamma-bhanadagarika was born in Myanmar.