It seems to me that the right way to read religious writings — Dhamma talks, discourses, books and so on — is to let them sink in, to absorb them and then to forget them almost immediately. In this way one learns the essence, one is changed by what one reads, without memorising, or calling to mind the specific words and trying to live by them.
It makes no sense to try and live by another’s exact words, you cannot imitate him or be him come again. Instead, be the unique expression of the universe you were meant to be. But you cannot stop changing or evolving, as long as you are alive change will be there. So it is with letting those changes teach you, alter you, shape you.
So learning means to absorb, which means to read slowly, deliberately, to let realisations which come from the words of a text arise and be considered. It is often good to pause and contemplate for a few seconds. But when you’re done, discard the words and carry on.
Memorising is a form of clinging. It is better to let the words go, and just let their essence stay with you, even if it means occasionally returning to texts you had read before, in order to see if a new appreciation arises. Even with quotes, which are meant to be memorable, it is good to just let them be and forget them for a while… if they are truly worth remembering they will stay with you. So I thought I would close this with a quote
“The man of knowledge learns something new every day. The man of Tao forgets something every day.”
— Lao Tse