What is holding you back from ordaining?

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.

Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby suriyopama » Thu May 27, 2010 3:56 am

What is holding you back from ordaining?


Ten years ago I would have mentioned hundreds of reasons, like that I would not be able to live without music (my guitars, my keyboards, my home recording studio). But today I don't have so many "my... my..." and I've abandoned a lot of passions. This is what is holding me back today:

1.- Wife. Although we have no kids, and she would support me if I go forth, I do not like the idea of leaving her alone.

2.- Parents. They are too aged to come to visit me to Thailand, and I'm afraid that I would not have the opportunity to see them again if I order here. I have sisters that could take care of them in case of need, but I would like to be part of it.

3.- Cat. It's not "my cat", I'm rather "his human" and he behaves strange and sad when I'm not around for more than one day.

4.- Minor details. This are just small things. Maybe they could be cured with more effort and practice:
- I have problems to adapt to the "one meat per day" schedule. I'm very thin and I run out of energy very fast.
- I have difficulty to sit on the floor for a long time without leaning my back onto the wall.
- I'm very slow learning Thai (to say it more clear: this days I am more lazy than a bear on winter :lol:) and I wouldn't choose an international monastery.
- Spicy food. Sometimes you can choose what you pick, but sometimes you can't.

I believe that this is all.

Chiangmaigreg, good luck clearing that debt. You're close! :twothumbsup:

:namaste:
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby BlackBird » Thu May 27, 2010 5:00 am

chiangmaigreg wrote:.
So here I am working,working,working.


I know the feeling man.

chiangmaigreg wrote:Later this year I will head to Myanmar to begin my new life.
Metta :buddha1:


Best wishes with your quest :)

metta
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby Alex123 » Thu May 27, 2010 1:15 pm

Pannapetar wrote: I am not sure if I would choose ordination, because I have doubts that simply ordaining and living the life of a monk is a warranted better/faster/superior path. If I thought so, I would already have chosen to ordain, rather than to get married. There's been ample opportunity for that. The odd thing is that I can't really articulate why I feel this way. I am aware that I have a dislike for excessive regulations, conventions, hierarchies, dogma, rites, ceremonies, and religious fuss.


Well what is better for progress:
being married with lots of responcibilites + full time job
vs
being a monk with some duties (that you do only outwardly, you don't need to believe in rites & rituals) and much less stress and responcibilities.
”Even the water melting from the snow-capped peaks finds its way to the ocean."
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby Pannapetar » Fri May 28, 2010 4:54 am

Alex123 wrote:Well what is better for progress:
being married with lots of responcibilites + full time job
vs
being a monk with some duties (that you do only outwardly, you don't need to believe in rites & rituals) and much less stress and responcibilities.


Good question.

Since I live in Thailand I had the opportunity to observe actual monks a little closer and I came to the conclusion that monasticism is often idealised. Few monks spend decades in caves, or on snowy mountain tops to realise lofty spiritual goals. Many monks just go about their daily grind like householders. They have a regulated daily routine, chores, services to perform for laypeople; they have to deal with hierarchy and bureaucracy, friends and foes, likes and dislikes, and lots of ceremonial and ritual occupations. They live in a tight-knit community where everything is strictly regulated. This makes life simpler, calmer, and it also offers protection from temptations and the rougher edges of household life. I can easily see how this benefits some people, but I am not sure if it would work for me. I guess the only way to be certain is to try it out. :)

Cheers, Thomas
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby Wind » Fri May 28, 2010 9:13 am

Pannapetar wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Well what is better for progress:
being married with lots of responcibilites + full time job
vs
being a monk with some duties (that you do only outwardly, you don't need to believe in rites & rituals) and much less stress and responcibilities.


Good question.

Since I live in Thailand I had the opportunity to observe actual monks a little closer and I came to the conclusion that monasticism is often idealised. Few monks spend decades in caves, or on snowy mountain tops to realise lofty spiritual goals. Many monks just go about their daily grind like householders. They have a regulated daily routine, chores, services to perform for laypeople; they have to deal with hierarchy and bureaucracy, friends and foes, likes and dislikes, and lots of ceremonial and ritual occupations. They live in a tight-knit community where everything is strictly regulated. This makes life simpler, calmer, and it also offers protection from temptations and the rougher edges of household life. I can easily see how this benefits some people, but I am not sure if it would work for me. I guess the only way to be certain is to try it out. :)

Cheers, Thomas


what you describe, are they city temple monks or the forest monks?
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby suriyopama » Fri May 28, 2010 10:05 am

And the winner is... :juggling:

- Family (wife, kids, parents, relationships, pets...) 20
- Attachment to sex, food, comfort life... 4
- Health, problem with food, lack of strenght4
- Afraid to be running away from something 3
- Debts 3
- Doubt that monastic is the only/best path 2
- Making sure that everything is OK before going forth / No pending issues 2
- Still figuring out teacher/school 1
- Different religion at family 1
- Want to travel, new experiences 1
- Fear of letting go 1
- To experiment more suffering oneself (as a layman) 1
- Boredom at monasteries 1
- Besides obligations, I already have freedom to practice as a layman 1
- To preserve national identity (culture/behaviour/ideology) 1
- Disagreement with celibacy 1

I hope that I can keep the list updated as we have more posts.

Thank you very much :namaste:
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby suriyopama » Sat May 29, 2010 12:35 am

BlackBird wrote:It's interesting to see that when we strip away all the distractions of daily living, what we find is boredom, the ever present tedium of not having sense stimulation that we have become so accustomed to. I think a portion of Monks and Nuns disrobe because the boredom get's to them. But what is the boredom really? It's dukkha in a very pure, unadulterated form. It's a complete dissatisfaction with having nothing to worry about. We want the drug of sense stimulation, we don't care that it burns us up from the inside because at least it manages to distract the mind from that underlying dukkha, which has been there all along.

I think perhaps some people are not ready to face up to the fact that this is how life is, it's always been that way, and it always will be. We can continue to distract ourselves right up until we breath our last if we choose, but in reality the distractions are more painful than the boredom itself. Craving and delusion play some cruel tricks on the minds of mankind.

:goodpost: Thank you, Jack
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby Goedert » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:02 am

Well, there are two things holding me back for ordination:

1. I have a girlfriend, and she is a buddhist too. She was catolic, I changed all her way of life and she really loves me, from the bottom of her heart. It is like a duty to me be with her, cause I don't want her to suffer.

2. I have to finish the Bachaelor of Laws. I made promise to my mother that it would be done. (2 years to finish it, its a 6 years course). Before I meet buddhism, my job made me ingaged in politics and laws things, thats why I need to finish. In Brazil a diplom (Academic Title) is very imporant for ordinary people and my mother would be proud if her son have one. You know... I just want to give a little happy to her. So the mission will be acomplished.

The place were I work is ok, I just need to quit. I also work in a filantropic sector, we take care of 200 childrens.

The real problem is the girlfriend, I think she will be deluded and depressed, you know, I'm on an airplaine going to Thailand to ordain and her in that state... It's kind of selfish, because she supported every decision that I made.

I currently frequent a Vajrayana Center (Chagdud Gompa), because there is no Theravadin center here. So I have a interview with the responsable Lama and he told to go to Thailand and he asked my girlfriend what she thinked about that, and the answer was that She loves me and support my decision but she would be very unhappy/sad.

Actually that interview occured because I had seven strange dreams.

1 - A very old man, dressed in white, he was in a forest, and told this: "The wisdom is in your heart".
2 - The symbol ying-yang surronded with yellow, red, green and blue colors, came to me from the space and said: "You need to have compassion for the beings."
3 - The vision is that I was in a persian palace, with golden walls and plants in it, a very beautifull arcteture. I could see a women in the right side of the place and in the left side of the place I could see a great tomb. I keeped change the focus of the view in both of them, but I turned the focus later on the tumb, and the I feeled that the tomb carried my body.
4 - I was walking with my girlfriend over the ocean and a great wave come ingulfing us, so I managed to the top again but my girlfriend didn't, I find my self in front of a great security island, a man and a women welcomed me.
5 - I have no body, only vision, all I see was white light and the body that I posses was in the middle of that light moving in pure ecstasy with open arms from side to side, with no destiny, just felling the ecstasy.
6 - I was in space, the planet Earth was in front of me like a soccer ball. First, I hitted it with my left indicator finger, Second with the right indicator finger, third with the left indicator finger, so I decided to make more effort, so my right arm made a position of a 'sword to slash' and my body disappeared , in that moment I was the bodhisatta Manjushri. Finally with the flaming sword I could cut the Planet Earth in two, in the fourth attempt.
7 - I was in a copper colored mountain meditating and a Circle of fire arose around me. Then many Budas in yellow, red, green and Blue colors come emiting light to me.

I also want for a spiritist medium, and he sent me a message:

"Destinated to discover new truths, you will have to fight to contemplate the beautiful from what you realise'.

My mother and father went to a spiritist vident, because father was with alergic ill, and the man said to my mother:

"Don't worry for your son.
You have to be very pround, because you gave birth to a great being of light.
He was born here to help humans from the great climatic changes that will occur in the near future,
especially the people from asia. Thats why he was born here.
He alredy passed in the disciple of the body, (Actually I was an athlete for 8 years)
now he is passing in the discipline of the mind.
Maybe he will go to another country seeking for great masters,
but in due time he will return.
I can see him teaching in another language."
Then my mother asked him: "I will have grandchildren?"
The man said: "If you don't have, adopt them!"
"Tell him that he can benefit much more people if he don't only follow the spiritual life
This country need beings like him.
I would have a great pleasure to meet your son. Bring him here to talk to me".

Actually, I didn't go there and I think my mother give informations, without percepet, about me that made the man saying this things.

The good Lama, didn't tell me the significance of the dreams. He only told that in due time I will know it, thats why he didn't want to tell me. He also said to ignore every single word from the vident that my mother want.

Why I want to ordain?

The life of a ordinary person in Brazil is very ignorant and people don't understand if I abstain from sex, from alcoohol, from taking meat, eatting once in a day, not sleeping, retire... etc. Taking the precepts and do that things right here is difficult, people don't understand it, most of them don't see dukkha and they have a horrible act to juged.
In this case the life of a monk is the best thing for the proper pratice, 'find the truth by my self'. You know... the dhamma is the boat, truth is the other shore of the river... that kind of smiles that we buddhist are familiar...

What place to ordain?
Wat Pa Nanachat of course.

And thats it. You know friends... The dotricne is here and now, we just have to put in practice. The path was discovered 2.500 years ago.

Sorry if there is any writtings mistake.

EDIT: correct many writting mistakes.
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby grasshopper » Sun Aug 01, 2010 1:18 am

It's interesting to see that when we strip away all the distractions of daily living, what we find is boredom, the ever present tedium of not having sense stimulation that we have become so accustomed to. I think a portion of Monks and Nuns disrobe because the boredom get's to them. But what is the boredom really? It's dukkha in a very pure, unadulterated form. It's a complete dissatisfaction with having nothing to worry about. We want the drug of sense stimulation, we don't care that it burns us up from the inside because at least it manages to distract the mind from that underlying dukkha, which has been there all along.

I think perhaps some people are not ready to face up to the fact that this is how life is, it's always been that way, and it always will be. We can continue to distract ourselves right up until we breath our last if we choose, but in reality the distractions are more painful than the boredom itself. Craving and delusion play some cruel tricks on the minds of mankind.

metta
Jack


This post of Jack, is one of the most amazing if not the most amazing post I have seen on Buddhist message boards and/or newsletters. It cuts through allllllllll sh!t and hits the bull's eye! Thank you very much for this Jack :)
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby BlackBird » Sun Aug 01, 2010 7:54 am

Thank you Grasshopper. The next step is for me to practice what I preach. It's one thing to be a (sometimes) lucid communicator but another thing to truly live one's insights. The whole Buddhist practice is a bit like peeling layers off an onion, I guess.

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby appicchato » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:32 am

...but in reality the distractions are more painful than the boredom itself.

Moves me... :thumbsup:
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby Zom » Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:17 am

This post of Jack, is one of the most amazing if not the most amazing post I have seen on Buddhist message boards and/or newsletters. It cuts through allllllllll sh!t and hits the bull's eye!


Many people understand that. However the problem is that just understanding is not enough to overcome this boredom. You have to be fully prepared for renunciation, and when someone jumps into monastic life without this "preliminary work", this dukkha of boredom grabs him sooner or later. I mean that it is better to reach some level of renunciation in worldy life, and only after that go ordain. I think the main problem is that some people try to run away from dukkha going to (live in) the monastery. But it grabs you even there.
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby Phra Chuntawongso » Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:06 pm

Hi everyone.
Just a bit of an update on what is going on in my life.
I have been advised by some of my burmese friends that now is probably not a good time to be heading to Myanmar.
Don't know exactly what is going on but it doesn't hurt to get advice from locals.
Anyway,I have paid of my debt :clap: and have been in touch with the Buddhist hermitage in Malaysia.
They have invited me to come and spend some time with them and if I still wish to ordain after some time and we are sure that we will be right for each other then they will be happy to ordain me.
They wish me to go for an initial period of 2 weeks to be sure that I can (or will)do all that is asked of me,meditation wise.
Apparently they have had people who are either unable or unwilling to follow the rules and so impose this 2 week period on anyone wishing to stay at the meditation center.
After this I will be able to continue with my practise and if all goes well ordain.
I am flying to Thailand on august 31 and will make my way to Malaysia from there.
With metta
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Lost in time
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby KonstantKarma » Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:27 pm

chiangmaigreg wrote:Hi everyone.
Just a bit of an update on what is going on in my life.
I have been advised by some of my burmese friends that now is probably not a good time to be heading to Myanmar.
Don't know exactly what is going on but it doesn't hurt to get advice from locals.
Anyway,I have paid of my debt :clap: and have been in touch with the Buddhist hermitage in Malaysia.
They have invited me to come and spend some time with them and if I still wish to ordain after some time and we are sure that we will be right for each other then they will be happy to ordain me.
They wish me to go for an initial period of 2 weeks to be sure that I can (or will)do all that is asked of me,meditation wise.
Apparently they have had people who are either unable or unwilling to follow the rules and so impose this 2 week period on anyone wishing to stay at the meditation center.
After this I will be able to continue with my practise and if all goes well ordain.
I am flying to Thailand on august 31 and will make my way to Malaysia from there.
With metta


That's great! I have read your story with interest. I am sure you'll be happily accepted wherever you find yourself.
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby grasshopper » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:43 pm

BlackBird wrote:Thank you Grasshopper. The next step is for me to practice what I preach. It's one thing to be a (sometimes) lucid communicator but another thing to truly live one's insights. The whole Buddhist practice is a bit like peeling layers off an onion, I guess.

metta
Jack


Hey! Are you back in Dunners? I read somewhere you are planning to come back to NZ. I contacted you via email just before you left to SL :)

However the problem is that just understanding is not enough to overcome this boredom. You have to be fully prepared for renunciation, and when someone jumps into monastic life without this "preliminary work", this dukkha of boredom grabs him sooner or later. I mean that it is better to reach some level of renunciation in worldy life, and only after that go ordain. I think the main problem is that some people try to run away from dukkha going to (live in) the monastery.

I totally agree with you Zom.

Once upon a time, I too had these wonderful romantic sense of monasticism (I do still get such thoughts when I come across a good Dhamma talk though). But after having experienced Buddhist temples in a particular traditional Buddhist country and also some monks of a Forest Sangha tradition in the West, I got totally disenchanted with monasticism (and the total package of Buddhism) after seeing ugly office-politics and the tendency to strictly adhere to tradition at the expense of common-sense at such institutions. I held these places and also monks high up on a pedestal but unfortunately, not any more. The drawbacks of living in monasteries - apart from the obvious renunciation and boredom that come tagged along - is hardly given ANY air-time by monks and lay people during their talks and teachings. It's all about how good monasticism is and that lay people are missing out so much, which is an incorrect notion and is inadvertant false marketing about monasticism.

To me, now, it seems like the best place to practise is living like a lay person but then it has it's problems of having to get qualifications and/or work to get the money to provide prerequisites for oneself (and one's immediate family members etc.) which has the potential to attenuate one's effort and blur the focus.
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:59 pm

grasshopper wrote:Once upon a time, I too had these wonderful romantic sense of monasticism (I do still get such thoughts when I come across a good Dhamma talk though). But after having experienced Buddhist temples in a particular traditional Buddhist country and also some monks of a Forest Sangha tradition in the West, I got totally disenchanted with monasticism (and the total package of Buddhism) after seeing ugly office-politics and the tendency to strictly adhere to tradition at the expense of common-sense at such institutions.


I have a question. What exactly do you mean by "ugly office politics?" . Is it possible for a simple monk to avoid it? Don't climb the ladder, don't become an abott. Aren't there just as much, if not more, politics in the lay life when it comes to bosses coworkers, the government tax agencies (IRS, CCRA, etc)?

As for Vinaya. What exactly do you mean? It seems that most (and especially the stronger) rules are "thou shalt not do this..." kind which seems to me like giving more freedom, less things to do. It limits choices and thus helps to declutter the mind. The simpler the life, the less worry about the real world (taxes, kids, bossess, co-workers), the more space for quite meditation. he stronger rules, they do have a purpose and may are not bad.

To me, now, it seems like the best place to practise is living like a lay person but then it has it's problems of having to get qualifications and/or work to get the money to provide prerequisites for oneself (and one's immediate family members etc.) which has the potential to attenuate one's effort and blur the focus.


Again, where are less distractions and engagements? In lay life or in monastic life?



I understand that a monk may have to do blessing rituals for the laity. Can one do them only externally, as necessary evil, but without internally adhering to those wrong beliefs?


With metta,


Alex
Last edited by Alex123 on Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:20 pm

Alex123 wrote:I understand that a monk may have to do blessing rituals for the laity. Can one do them only externally, as necessary evil, but without internally adhering to those wrong beliefs?

Which ones are wrong belief? You mean reciting the Ratana Sutta?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .piya.html

Mike
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:28 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Alex123 wrote:I understand that a monk may have to do blessing rituals for the laity. Can one do them only externally, as necessary evil, but without internally adhering to those wrong beliefs?

Which ones are wrong belief? You mean reciting the Ratana Sutta?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .piya.html

Mike


I've read some stories about monks who didn't like doing various rituals for the laity. I do not know if they meant that particular sutta. I've heard that in Thailand there are a lot of rituals. Ok, maybe I shouldn't have said "wrong" beliefs. But I hope you know what I mean. Is it possible to engage in required rituals (assuming that they don't fully fit with one's idea of monasticism) only externally?

As I understand it - one depends on one's Kamma, not on protective charms and amulets. So the wrong belief is to believe that spells, incantations, incense, rituals, etc can overcome Kamma.
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:46 pm

Alex123 wrote:As I understand it - one depends on one's Kamma, not on protective charms and amulets. So the wrong belief is to believe that spells, incantations, incense, rituals, etc can overcome Kamma.

Certainly you can find all kinds of charms and amulets being sold by monks in Thailand. I don't imagine you'd get involved in a group that did that. As for reciting some blessings when someone builds a house or gets married, I don't see any wrong view in that. You are simply requesting anyone who is listening to take heed and help. We chant this every week with the monks at my Wat and they chant it to us (among other verses) after we have offered them food and provisions:
"Bhavatu sabba-maṅgalaṃ..."

"Bhavatu sabba-maṅgalaṃ..."
Bhavatu sabba-maṅgalaṃ
Rakkhantu sabba-devatā
May there be every blessing. May all heavenly beings protect you.

Sabba-buddhānubhāvena
Sadā sotthī bhavantu te.
Through the power of all the Buddhas, may you always be well.

Bhavatu sabba-maṅgalaṃ
Rakkhantu sabba-devatā
May there be every blessing. May all heavenly beings protect you.

Sabba-dhammānubhāvena
Sadā sotthī bhavantu te.
Through the power of all the Dhammas, may you always be well.

Bhavatu sabba-maṅgalaṃ
Rakkhantu sabba-devatā
May there be every blessing. May all heavenly beings protect you.

Sabba-saṅghānubhāvena
Sadā sotthī bhavantu te.
Through the power of all the Saṅghas, may you always be well.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ml#bhavatu

Mike
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby Viscid » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:08 am

mikenz66 wrote:
"Bhavatu sabba-maṅgalaṃ..."

"Bhavatu sabba-maṅgalaṃ..."
Bhavatu sabba-maṅgalaṃ
Rakkhantu sabba-devatā
May there be every blessing. May all heavenly beings protect you.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ml#bhavatu

Mike


Okay, so what does "May all heavenly beings protect you." mean? Doesn't that imply that there are external, real heavenly beings which choose to protect some people and not others? Do you believe that? This doesn't raise any red flags?

If I ever even think of ordaining, the doubt which accompanies beliefs such as this immediately stops me in my tracks.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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