Nondualism

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Nondualism

Postby Shonin » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:07 am

PeterB wrote:Its exactly as a mode of experience that it is pernicious. I am not altogether joking when I say that imo the seeking of non dual experience is more a breach of the precepts than the occasional glass of lager.


You're entitled to your opinion, although I'm not sure that you can justify it. I've heard Christians say equivalent things about Nibbana. There is always further to go, but as I see it now, a moment of 'nonduality' and a moment of 'nibbana' are the same ie. the absence of delusion, craving and aversion, even if it is entirely inevitable that such a suggestion would be received with less than open arms in a Theravada forum.

Are you speaking from experience?
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Re: Nondualism

Postby PeterB » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:08 am

I rest my case. And refer you to...
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Re: Nondualism

Postby Nyana » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:11 am

mikenz66 wrote:However, could I take the opportunity in the context of this thread to ask whether Ñāṇa/Geoff's enlistment of Ven. Ñāṇananda in support of his non-dual vision is an accurate representation of Ven. Ñāṇananda's views, or selective quoting?

Hi Mike,

You could. But first of all you would have to establish that I hold a "non-dual vision," whatever that is???

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Nondualism

Postby PeterB » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:12 am

This...
PeterB wrote:Some years ago out of interest I went to a " Satsang" with a teacher of non duality. At one point he asked me to sit opposite him and he closed his eyes. I sat there.
I am a very bad hypnotism subject and quick to spot auto suggestion and the like,so I expected nothing,
and then I got it...All subject and object disappeared. I was in a state of non duality.
It was very joyful and I felt a sense of great peace.
It lasted for several hours, in fact until I was at the station on the way home.
At first I wanted to repeat the experience so I went to the next public teaching .....nothing.
After some time and after a lot of refection I reached a couple of conclusions ;
I think that the teacher probably had a low degree of iddhis/siddhis. I dont think it was simply suggestion. It was too strong an experience.
That the experience was worth absolutely nothing, and was not worth pursuing. It was transient. It was not the end of dukkha. It was in fact no different from a chemically induced experience.
And more importantly..it was in the end not wholesome or indicative of realisation. It was in fact a pleasant variety of alienation...That if one achieved the state permanently one would end up as alienated as those Gurus with their blissed out stoned eyes.
That there are are no short cuts. That the path of feedom from suffering was not a quick trip, or vacation from the everyday. That it was a process to be worked through on a daily basis hour by hour in all moods and all circumstances. That it was all contained in the 8FP.
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Re: Nondualism

Postby Nyana » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:18 am

MattJ wrote: For example, nondual emptiness appears to me a direct result of seeing the classic three characteristics of Buddhism. In Madhyamika Buddhism, emptiness means empty of inherent, independent existence. How is this contradicted by the suttas? It seems to me that this is applying the 3 marks of existence to things, and not just people.

Hi Matt & all,

Mādhyamaka arose as a critique and corrective of Sarvāstivāda tenets. Because the Sarvāstivāda was a Nikāya school which didn’t accept the authority of any non-canonical sūtra-s, the Indian mādhyamika authors cited canonical statements which are common to the discourses of the Sanskrit āgama-s and the Pāḷi nikāya-s as scriptural support for their critiques. Their critique was never meant to refute the Pāḷi sutta-s and was never intended as a critique of the early Pāḷi Abhidhamma Piṭaka.

As for how the two Indian Mahāyāna traditions (i.e. Mādhyamaka and Yogācāra) can be misrepresented there is a review of Ven. Bodhi's paper Dhamma and Non-duality in this post.

A brief comparison of a few verses from Nāgārjuna with the Pāḷi Nikāya-s can be found in this post.

And here are some excerpts from the canonical Paṭisambhidāmagga Suññakathā (Khuddakanikāya):

    What is emptiness in [relation to] change?

    Born, form is empty of self-nature (sabhāvena suñña); disappeared, form is both changed and empty.

    Born, feeling is empty of self-nature; disappeared, feeling is both changed and empty.

    Born, perception is empty of self-nature; disappeared, perception is both changed and empty.

    Born, fabrications are empty of self-nature; disappeared, fabrications are both changed and empty.

    Born, consciousness is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, the eye is empty ... the ear is empty ... the nose is empty ... the tongue is empty ... the body is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, forms are empty ... sounds are empty ... odors are empty ... flavors are empty ... tactile sensations are empty of self-nature; disappeared, they are both changed and empty.

    Born, visual consciousness is empty ... auditory consciousness is empty ... olfactory consciousness is empty ... gustatory consciousness is empty ... tactile consciousness is empty ... mental consciousness is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, eye-contact is empty ... ear-contact is empty ... nose-contact is empty ... tongue-contact is empty ... body-contact is empty ... mind-contact is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, feeling born of eye-contact is empty ... feeling born of ear-contact is empty ... feeling born of nose-contact is empty ... feeling born of tongue-contact is empty ... feeling born of body-contact is empty ... feeling born of mind-contact is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, perception of forms is empty ... perception of sounds is empty ... perception of odors is empty ... perception of flavors is empty ... perception of tactile sensations is empty ... perception of mental phenomena is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, volitional intention pertaining to forms is empty ... volitional intention pertaining to sounds is empty ... volitional intention pertaining to odors is empty ... volitional intention pertaining to flavors is empty ... volitional intention pertaining to tactile sensations is empty ... volitional intention pertaining to mental phenomena is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, craving for forms is empty ... craving for sounds is empty ... craving for odors is empty ... craving for flavors is empty ... craving for tactile sensations is empty ... craving for mental phenomena is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, directed thought pertaining to forms is empty ... directed thought pertaining to sounds is empty ... directed thought pertaining to odors is empty ... directed thought pertaining to flavors is empty ... directed thought pertaining to tactile sensations is empty ... directed thought pertaining to mental phenomena is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, examination pertaining to forms is empty ... examination pertaining to sounds is empty ... examination pertaining to odors is empty ... examination pertaining to flavors is empty ... examination pertaining to tactile sensations is empty ... examination pertaining to mental phenomena is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, the eye sensory sphere is empty ... the form sensory sphere is empty ... the ear sensory sphere is empty ... the sound sensory sphere is empty ... the nose sensory sphere is empty ... the odor sensory sphere is empty ... the tongue sensory sphere is empty ... the flavor sensory sphere is empty ... the body sensory sphere is empty ... the tactile sensation sensory sphere is empty ... the mind sensory sphere is empty ... the mental phenomena sensory sphere is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, the eye element is empty ... the form element is empty ... the visual consciousness element is empty ... the ear element is empty ... the sound element is empty ... the auditory consciousness element is empty ... the nose element is empty ... the odor element is empty ... the olfactory consciousness element is empty ... the tongue element is empty ... the flavor element is empty ... the gustatory consciousness element is empty ... the body element is empty ... the tactile sensation element is empty ... the tactile consciousness element is empty ... the mind element is empty ... the mental phenomena element is empty ... the mental consciousness element is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, the sensual desire element is empty ... the form element is empty ... the formless element is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    Born, ignorance is empty ... fabrications are empty ... consciousness is empty ... name and form are empty ... the sixfold sensory spheres are empty ... contact is empty ... feeling is empty ... craving is empty ... grasping is empty ... becoming is empty of self-nature; disappeared, it is both changed and empty.

    What is supreme emptiness?

    This dhamma is supreme, this dhamma is superior, this dhamma is excellent: the calming of all fabrications, the release of all acquisitions, the exhaustion of craving, dispassion, cessation, nibbāna. This is supreme emptiness.

    What is internal emptiness?

    Internally the eye is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Internally the ear is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Internally the nose is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Internally the tongue is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Internally the body is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Internally the mind is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    This is internal emptiness.

    What is external emptiness?

    Externally form is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Externally sound is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Externally odor is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Externally flavor is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Externally tactile sensation is empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Externally mental phenomena are empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    This is external emptiness.

    What is emptiness both ways?

    Internally the eye and externally form are both empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Internally the ear and externally sound are both empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Internally the nose and externally odor are both empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Internally the tongue and externally flavor are both empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Internally the body and externally tactile sensation are both empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    Internally the mind and externally mental phenomena are both empty of a self or that which belongs to a self or of what is permanent and everlasting and eternal and not subject to change.

    This is emptiness both ways.

    What is the ultimate meaning (paramattha) of emptiness [as it relates to] all kinds of emptiness, which is the terminating of occurrence in one who is fully aware?

    Here, through renunciation one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of sensual desire; through nonaggression one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of aggression; through perception of light one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of dullness and drowsiness; through nondistraction one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of agitation; through understanding phenomena one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of doubt; through knowledge one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of ignorance; through gladness one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of boredom.

    Through the first jhāna one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of the hindrances; through the second jhāna one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of directed thought and examination; through the third jhāna one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of rapture; through the fourth jhāna one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of pleasure; through the attainment of the sphere of infinite space one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of perceptions of form, perceptions of resistance, and perceptions of diversity; through the attainment of the sphere of infinite consciousness one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of perception of the sphere of infinite space; through the attainment of the sphere of nothingness one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of perception of the sphere of infinite consciousness; through the attainment of the sphere of neither-perception-nor-nonperception one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of perception of the sphere of nothingness.

    Through the contemplation of impermanence one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of the perception of permanence; through the contemplation of unsatisfactoriness one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of the perception of satisfactoriness; through the contemplation of not-self one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of the perception of self; through the contemplation of dispassion one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of delight; through the contemplation of fading away one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of greed; through the contemplation of cessation one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of arising; through the contemplation of relinquishment one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of grasping; through the contemplation of decay one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of the perception of compactness; through the contemplation of fall one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of accumulation; through the contemplation of change one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of the perception of everlastingness; through the contemplation of signlessness one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of signs; through the contemplation of desirelessness one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of desire; through the contemplation of emptiness one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of misinterpretation; through the clear seeing of phenomena that is higher discernment one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of misinterpretation due to grasping at a core; through gnosis and seeing one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of misinterpretation due to delusion; through the contemplation of [the] danger [of fabrications] one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of misinterpretation due to reliance [on fabrications]; through the contemplation of reflection one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of non-reflection; through the contemplation of turning away one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of misinterpretation due to bondage.

    Through the stream-entry path one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of defilements associated with wrong view; through the once-returner path one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of gross defilements; through the non-returner path one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of secondary defilements; through the arahant path one who is fully aware terminates the occurrence of all defilements [i.e. ignorance].

    Or through the nibbāna element (nibbānadhātu) without any grasping remaining for one who is fully aware this occurrence of eye ends and no further occurrence of eye arises; this occurrence of ear ends and no further occurrence of ear arises; this occurrence of nose ends and no further occurrence of nose arises; this occurrence of tongue ends and no further occurrence of tongue arises; this occurrence of body ends and no further occurrence of body arises; this occurrence of mind ends and no further occurrence of mind arises.

    This is the ultimate meaning of emptiness [as it relates to] all kinds of emptiness, which is the terminating of occurrence in one who is fully aware.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Nondualism

Postby PeterB » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:53 am

Yup, Bhikkhu Bodhi nailed it just as I thought.
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Re: Nondualism

Postby Nyana » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:59 am

PeterB wrote:Yup, Bhikkhu Bodhi nailed it just as I thought.

Indeed. Nailed a complete misrepresentation of Indian Mahāyāna.
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Re: Nondualism

Postby PeterB » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:10 pm

So there.... :rofl:
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Re: Nondualism

Postby Shonin » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:47 pm

PeterB wrote:This...
PeterB wrote:Some years ago out of interest I went to a " Satsang" with a teacher of non duality. At one point he asked me to sit opposite him and he closed his eyes. I sat there.
I am a very bad hypnotism subject and quick to spot auto suggestion and the like,so I expected nothing,
and then I got it...All subject and object disappeared. I was in a state of non duality.
It was very joyful and I felt a sense of great peace.
It lasted for several hours, in fact until I was at the station on the way home.
At first I wanted to repeat the experience so I went to the next public teaching .....nothing.
After some time and after a lot of refection I reached a couple of conclusions ;
I think that the teacher probably had a low degree of iddhis/siddhis. I dont think it was simply suggestion. It was too strong an experience.
That the experience was worth absolutely nothing, and was not worth pursuing. It was transient. It was not the end of dukkha. It was in fact no different from a chemically induced experience.
And more importantly..it was in the end not wholesome or indicative of realisation. It was in fact a pleasant variety of alienation...That if one achieved the state permanently one would end up as alienated as those Gurus with their blissed out stoned eyes.
That there are are no short cuts. That the path of feedom from suffering was not a quick trip, or vacation from the everyday. That it was a process to be worked through on a daily basis hour by hour in all moods and all circumstances. That it was all contained in the 8FP.


Thanks for your story. The experience I'm talking about is a temporary end to dukkha, but it is the opposite of alienation since one feels an intimacy with everything and everyone experienced. It is blissful but intensely alert. However, like everything it is impermanent. The base conditioning from which dukkha originates has not gone. An experience like that should not be clung to. No states of bliss or heightened concentration or samadhi or jhana lasts forever. And getting attached to them will generally lead to disappointment. However, in the course of my own practice for example such experiences have occured not infrequently and have had an influence on my life more generally, helping me to loosen my delusions and attachments just a little. The hard work is still ahead. After many such experiences and breakthrough koans passed my teacher's teacher told him 'Another 30 years'. After 30 years his teacher has retired and his new teacher told him 'Another 30 years'. Maturation goes on and on. There may be inspirational glimpses but no shortcuts. Our conditioning itself has to be perceived and let go of, and that is a very gradual process.
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Re: Nondualism

Postby PeterB » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:53 pm

I have just quoted one experience chosen because of its odd circumstances. I have plenty of such experiences, another was as a result of meditating with Tai Situ Rinpoche.
..and they are all bullshit..just stuff to be let go of.
The best they can do is offer confirmation that there is more in heaven and earth than your "Idiots Guide To A Level Psychology " tells you.
As Goldstein ( or whoever ) says. " After The Ecstacy, The Laundry ".
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Re: Nondualism

Postby Shonin » Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:05 pm

PeterB wrote:I have just quoted one experience chosen because of its odd circumstances. I have plenty of such experiences, another was as a result of meditating with Tai Situ Rinpoche.
..and they are all bullshit..just stuff to be let go of.
The best they can do is offer confirmation that there is more in heaven and earth than your "Idiots Guide To A Level Psychology " tells you.
As Goldstein ( or whoever ) says. " After The Ecstacy, The Laundry ".


Ironically, Goldstein's saying is a reference to a Zen proverb: “Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.”. ie. don't get attached to your experience and imagine that you're now a higher being or something. Life goes on. Practice goes on. Don't devalue the ordinary. Sometimes there is insight or bliss, sometimes there isn't. This kind of down-to-earth wisdom is pretty well-established in Zen. But that is not the same as to say that such experiences are worthless bullshit.

Everything is to be let go of, ultimately. But your only basis for saying such experiences are bullshit seems to be a perception of them not helping you in your practice. Many others have found such experiences to be helpful in their practice - including me and my teacher.

But getting attached to the experience is a problem - for one because it's impermanence can lead to disappointment.
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Re: Nondualism

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:28 pm

A lot of talk abot non-duality, but no clear, percise definition of it as of yet. So far I am needing to open the windows.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Nondualism

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:31 pm

Also, while we are tip-toeing around here, let's try to pretend, at least, that we can be civil to each other.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Nondualism

Postby Shonin » Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:52 pm

I don't think any of us have any final answers here. We're all just making our way on the path as best we can, based on what appears to work for us and for others. And of course it isn't necessarily the case that there is only one valid way to practice, although I have encountered people in almost every branch of Buddhism who insist that only their's is the true way.

I try to keep my mind as open as I can. As I see it Zen and Theravada are not the same, yet there is a large area of common ground - perhaps in the most important areas - and I do respect them both as valid paths.

:anjali:
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Re: Nondualism

Postby Moth » Tue Aug 03, 2010 6:13 pm

Better to focus on the similarities than the differences, me thinks. Judgement is hypocritical by default.
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Re: Nondualism

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Aug 03, 2010 6:23 pm

It seems to me Non dual might be said to have two meanings...

An awareness of the consistency and reliability of causes and effects which leaves no room for the idea of a subjective observer independent of them.

or

An Awareness which while leaving behind the notion of a subjective observer also abandons the continuity of discernment.



Just a thought

I dont use the term myself so Im speculating.


Metta

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Re: Nondualism

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:04 pm

Hi Geoff,
Ñāṇa wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:However, could I take the opportunity in the context of this thread to ask whether Ñāṇa/Geoff's enlistment of Ven. Ñāṇananda in support of his non-dual vision is an accurate representation of Ven. Ñāṇananda's views, or selective quoting?

Hi Mike,

You could. But first of all you would have to establish that I hold a "non-dual vision," whatever that is???

All the best,

Geoff

Hmmm, you're just confusing me even more now. You seem to post extensively with what to me look like non-dual arguments against standard Theravada interpretations of the Dhamma.

If I've completely misunderstood your entire argument, that's OK since I never felt I grasped it very well in the first place...

:anjali:
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Re: Nondualism

Postby ground » Wed Aug 04, 2010 4:27 am

On an analytical level there is no way to draw a demarcation line between an object perceived and the perceiver and neither the object nor the perceiver can be found under analysis to be inherently existing. From this it follows that there is also no way to draw a demarcation line between the variety of phenomena perceived: All are neither the perceiver nor different from the perceiver and in this regard they are not inherently different. If this analytical fact is called "nondualism" then "nondualism" is analytically established. But to conclude "unity" is invalid - it is invalid from the viewpoint of the non-analytical conventional and it invalid from the viewpoint of the analytical conventional since "unity" presumes "difference" between the entities united. There is non-analytical conventional "difference" directly perceptable but there is no non-analytical conventional directly perceptable "unity". Neither "difference" can be found under analytical investigation nor "unity".

Kind regards
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Re: Nondualism

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 5:19 am

Hi TMingyur,

I'm having a little difficulty following your post (probably my fault), but is your argument similar to how it is explained in the quote by Gethin that I posted above?
See: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=5208#p80888

Mike
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Re: Nondualism

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Aug 04, 2010 5:49 am

And so we have niocely illustrated here the confusion that goes with the notion of non-duality.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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