Dear Dhamma friends,
Let me share with you an idea about how to make Buddhist stories more comprehensible and easier to remember.
You have probably heard of mind maps and genograms (maps used to describe one’s family). What about using genograms for the stories in the Buddhist scriptures?
And, ultimately, what about making all of the stories of the Pali texts into one huge Genogram?
In my Buddhist class with teenagers, I have instructed my student Sandi to try and prepare a genogram for the Dhammapada Story 2.1. Sāmāvatīvatthu (verses 21, 22, 23). I provided a general explanation of what genograms look like in psychotherapy, and she had to resolve how to show past life personages, how to show killing, and other events that are usually not described in common genograms.
Look at her marvelous work, and let me know your thoughts. Sandi agreed that I share her drawing with you all. If anyone would be enthusiastic to continue in this work, I’d be most happy to provide any support, encouragement, counsel, and necessary knowledge & sources.
I’m a fan of mind maps, but this makes me little dizzy. What happened to just regular pictures that represent the story which were made in ancient times? The author of mind maps or the one who made it famous, Tony Buzan, would surely recommend actual drawings of scenes. If the person is artistically inclined that would be good. But the process of making mind maps is what helps one memorize for oneself. So it is better for that person.
The good news is people are doing this for themselves.
Dear Bhante, let me disagree with you, please. I find Sandi’s mind map very helpful to remember and understand the story, even though I didn’t make the mind map.
A well-made mind map like this one supports everyone’s (or perhaps except special exceptions?) memory and understanding of the story. If you read the story fully and look at this diagram, you will surely understand what I mean.
These diagrams take a lot of time and require an excellent understanding of the story. They serve like an amazing handbook with succinct information. We can always take hold of it and remind ourselves of complicated and rich information without spending much time studying or rereading the whole portion.