the great rebirth debate

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:09 pm

daverupa wrote:
1. No Samsara: no need to break this wheel, it never exists!!


On this view, you would have to claim that one must be convinced of the speculative metaphysics of rebirth before one could come to see that samsara is dukkha. However, "birth, old age, death, sorrow, lamentation, misery, grief, and despair" can be observed as dukkha without recourse to such speculation, and as such the Four Noble Truths are not reliant on rebirth as their raison d'etre.


And 99.999% of suffering & pain is due to potentially endless rebirths. It is impossible to shed enough blood to fill four great oceans (SN15.13) in one life. But in trillions of lifetimes as a flesh&blood being, one can. Same with shedding tears (SN15.3), filling a mountain worth of one's own dead bodies (SN15.10), etc.

The heap of bones one person leaves behind With the passing of a single aeon Would form a heap as high as a mountain: Such is said by the Great Sage.
...But when one sees with correct wisdom The truths of the noble ones—Suffering and its origination, The overcoming of suffering, And the noble eightfold path That leads to suffering’s appeasement— Then that person, having wandered on For seven more times at the most, Makes an utter end to suffering
By destroying all the fetters.
” - SN 15.10 (10) Person BB Trans.

Please note: When one is stream-enterer, one will at most will die 7 times, and leave 7 corpses. A worldling can die endlessly until reaching stream-entry.



"This is the greater: the tears you have shed while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — not the water in the four great oceans.

"Long have you (repeatedly) experienced the death of a mother. The tears you have shed over the death of a mother while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — are greater than the water in the four great oceans.

"Long have you (repeatedly) experienced the death of a father... the death of a brother... the death of a sister... the death of a son... the death of a daughter... loss with regard to relatives... loss with regard to wealth... loss with regard to disease. The tears you have shed over loss with regard to disease while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — are greater than the water in the four great oceans.

"Why is that? From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. Long have you thus experienced stress, experienced pain, experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries — enough to become disenchanted with all fabricated things, enough to become dispassionate, enough to be released."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"For a long time, bhikkhus, you have been cows, and when as cows your heads were cut off, the stream of blood that you shed is greater than the waters in the four great oceans. For a long time you have been buffalo, sheep, goats, deer, chickens, and pigs…. For a long time you have been arrested as robbers, as highwaymen, as adulterers, and when your heads were cut off, the stream of blood that you shed is greater than the water in the four great oceans.
For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, this saṃsāra is without discoverable beginning…. It is enough to be liberated from them.
” - SN15.13 (3) BB Trans.


If suffering were limited only to tears being shed, and bodily pains of one life, then it wouldn't be as bad as having to go through it for endless amount of time until Arhatship.


Bhikkhus, suppose that the Himalayas, the king of mountains, would be destroyed and eliminated except for seven grains of gravel the size of mustard seeds. What do you think, bhikkhus, which is more: the portion of the Himalayas, the king of mountains, that has been destroyed and eliminated or the seven grains of gravel the size of mustard see ds that remain?”

“Venerable sir, the portion of the Himalayas, the king of mountains, that has been destroyed and eliminated is more. The seven grains of gravel the size of mustard seeds that remain are trifling. Compared to the portion of the Himalayas, the king of mountains, that has been destroyed and eliminated, the seven grains of gravel the size of mustard seeds that remain are not calculable, do not bear comparison, do not amount even to a fraction.”

“So too, bhikkhus, for a noble disciple, a person accomplished in view who has made the breakthrough, the suffering that has been destroyed and eliminated is more, while that which remains is trifling. Compared to the former mass of suffering that has been destroyed and eliminated, the latter is not calculable, does not bear comparison, does not amount even to a fraction, as there is a maximum of seven more lives.
" - SN 56.60 (10) The Mountain(2) BB Trans.

Again, suffering in 7 lives is trifling compared to what could be experienced in potentially endless samsara. So to deny rebirths with all their peril, what one does is that one denies the full extent of dukkha and the importance of getting out. If there is one life, then it is possible to end all suffering merely by dying. But if there is rebirth, this will not work and this would be great dukkha!
Last edited by Alex123 on Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby Zom » Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:14 pm

.so perhaps one could have right view without being attached to it...I guess...I don't know....


Actually in MN 22 in "raft simile" and "snake simile" Buddha shows that Dhamma is to be grasped firmly and properly, attached to.. and ONLY after you have gotten to the other shore (arahantship), only then you can release your grasp of Dhamma, but not before that :reading:

So it's the same with the views. (right) Views are your proper belief. You use them as a tool. And at the very end you will drop all views and other Dhamma tools also.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby santa100 » Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:15 pm

Daverupa wrote:
On this view, you would have to claim that one must be convinced of the speculative metaphysics of rebirth before one could come to see that samsara is dukkha


This is a terrible distortion of the truth. Samsara INCLUDES element of dukkha but IS NOT Dukkha. You're really bending the truth to dodge my logic. 5 kandhas is also dukkha, wrong view is also dukkha, greed, anger, delusion is also dukkha, the list goes on and on... to you, Dukkha is the definition to everything. Please provide the exact DEFINITION of Samsara.

For 2., you tried to side-step again. Please provide the exact definition of Stream-Enterer.

For 3. Please provide the exact definition of Bhava; and show how Vinnana gives rise to Namarupa without rebirth.

For 4. 4. Are you saying one's born rich or poor, smart or dumb, beautiful or ugly, prestigious or low, ...are all due to chance?
Who is misrepresenting the Buddha's teaching now?

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby santa100 » Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:23 pm

Daverupa wrote:
The list of qualities of these ariyan disciples have enough to offer the rebirth skeptic that rebirth is unnecessary here as well.


By the way, since Stream-Enterer won't exist without rebirth, where do you get the inspiration if HE never exists at the first place?

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:25 pm

Alex123 wrote:And 99.999% of suffering & pain is due to potentially endless rebirths.


This is not apparent to anyone who does not see their past lives or the passing away and arising of beings, both of which are supernormal abilities. So, you are either claiming to have these abilities or you are claiming that you experience the thought of endless rebirth as dukkha. Endless rebirth can't be a problem for you if you haven't experienced it. The problem is simply the thought of it. We might say that the intellect was contacting this particular dhamma and, consciousness present, this contact results in unpleasant vedana. Therefore, whether or not rebirth obtains as fact, dukkha can be understood according to the Dhamma as clinging to one or another of the six senses (or, "...in sum, the five clinging-aggregates are dukkha"). Rebirth introduces unnecessary complexity.

Alex123 wrote:If there is one life, then it is possible to end all suffering merely by dying. But if there is rebirth, this will not work and this would be great dukkha!


The point is that agnosticism about rebirth demands equal agnosticism about a single-life model, so while your if-then statement is logically valid, it is not known to be factual. A consistent agnostic will avoid commitment to either option, and one is here reminded of the advice the Kalamas received on just such a point.

santa100 wrote:You're really bending the truth to dodge my logic. 5 kandhas is also dukkha, wrong view is also dukkha, greed, anger, delusion is also dukkha, the list goes on and on... to you, Dukkha is the definition to everything. Please provide the exact DEFINITION of Samsara.


The five clinging-aggregates are dukkha, which means that any experience you can possibly have as a putthujana is dukkha due to avijja, and the continuance of this state of affairs is samsara. The only escape is nibbana. I haven't mentioned punabhava yet because I don't need to.

santa100 wrote:For 2., you tried to side-step again. Please provide the exact definition of Stream-Enterer.


It isn't a side-step. Show how it is, please.

santa100 wrote:For 3. Please provide the exact definition of Bhava; and show how Vinnana gives rise to Namarupa without rebirth.


This has been attempted and challenged ad nauseum elsewhere, and here we must simply disagree.

santa100 wrote:For 4. 4. Are you saying one's born rich or poor, smart or dumb, beautiful or ugly, prestigious or low, ...are all due to chance?


I never said all were due to chance - you are putting words in my mouth.

i. Kamma niyama, order of act and result, e.g., desirable and undesirable acts produce corresponding good and bad results.
ii. Utu niyama, physical (inorganic) order, e.g., seasonal phenomena of winds and rains.
iii. Bija niyama, order of germs or seeds (physical organic order); e.g., rice produced from rice-seed, sugary taste from sugar cane or honey, etc. The scientific theory of cells and genes and the physical similarity of twins may be ascribed to this order.
iv. Citta niyama, order of mind or psychic law, e.g., processes of consciousness (citta vithi), power of mind, etc.
v. Dhamma niyama, order of the norm, e.g., the natural phenomena occurring at the advent of a Bodhisatta in his last birth, gravitation, etc.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby santa100 » Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:34 pm

Daverupa wrote:
I never said all were due to chance - you are putting words in my mouth


Then please explicitly state your position on my question: Is it or is it not because of Kamma that one's born rich or poor, smart or dumb, beautiful or ugly, prestigious or low, etc. ?

The list of qualities of these ariyan disciples have enough to offer the rebirth skeptic that rebirth is unnecessary here as well
.

Since Stream-Enterer wouldn't exist without Rebirth, where do you get the inspiration if HE never exists at the first place?

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby santa100 » Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:56 pm

Daverupa wrote:
The five clinging-aggregates are dukkha, which means that any experience you can possibly have as a putthujana is dukkha due to avijja, and the continuance of this state of affairs is samsara. The only escape is nibbana. I haven't mentioned punabhava yet because I don't need to


As usual, you've filtered out key information and only retain those that fits your viewpoint.

Definition of Samsara (ref: http://www.budsas.org/ebud/bud-dict/dic3_s.htm)
saṃsāra : 'round of rebirth', lit. perpetual wandering', is a name by which is designated the sca of life ever restlessly heaving up and down, the symbol of this continuous process of ever again and again being born, growing old, suffering and dying. More precisely put, saṃsāra is the unbroken chain of the five-fold khandha-combinations, which, constantly changing from moment to moment follow continuously one upon the other through inconceivable periods of time. Of this saṃsāra , a single lifetime constitutes only a tiny and fleeting fraction; hence to be able to comprehend the first noble truth of universal suffering, one must let one's gaze rest upon the saṃsāra , upon this frightful chain of rebirths, and not merely upon one single life-time, which, of course, may be sometimes less painful. - Cf. tilakkhaṇa, anattā, paramattha, paṭisandhi

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:00 pm

santa100 wrote:Then please explicitly state your position on my question: Is it or is it not because of Kamma that one's born rich or poor, smart or dumb, beautiful or ugly, prestigious or low, etc. ?


Well, first of all:

"Students, beings are owners of kamma, heir to kamma, born of kamma, related through kamma, and have kamma as their arbitrator. Kamma is what creates distinctions among beings in terms of coarseness & refinement."

~MN 135

Of course, I can't verify this teaching on kamma, but it doesn't negate the aspects of the Noble Eightfold Path which I have verified, so I'm inclined to accept it given the common source. This is inference, and it is based on previous experience in the Dhamma, not prima facie acceptance of claims about the herebefore and the hereafter. In fact, given the numerous wrong views described in DN 1 to do with questions of the past and future, I'm inclined to focus on what the Buddha focused on in that discourse:

"When those recluses and brahmins who are speculators about the past, speculators about the future, speculators about the past and the future together, who hold settled views about the past and the future, assert on sixty-two grounds various conceptual theorems referring to the past and the future — that too is only the feeling of those who do not know and do not see; that is only the agitation and vacillation of those who are immersed in craving."


I see that views of past and future are going to be flawed at least until stream-entry is attained (how inspiring!). So, I'm going to work for that, and not bother with discussing stuff I've never experienced. This is simply a possible approach to the Dhamma, which is really the only point I have been trying to make, starting back on page 113 of this thread.

Since Stream-Enterer wouldn't exist without Rebirth, where do you get the inspiration if HE never exists at the first place?


From where I've already said it's possible to derive said inspiration, both earlier and just now. That you cannot imagine it to be sufficient is argumentum ad ignorantiam.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby santa100 » Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:41 pm

Daverupa wrote:
The list of qualities of these ariyan disciples have enough to offer the rebirth skeptic that rebirth is unnecessary here as well.


Notice it's not my interest to win a debate. It is my interest to follow reasons, logic, and the truth. Because of that, I simply raise the question to you because they defied simple logic. First, you said you drew inspiration on the Ariyan disciples. Then you refuted my logic on item 2. which stated that Ariyan disciples only exist if Rebirth exists. I simply don't see any logic in drawing an inspiration on someone or something that never exist. If you're really for reason and truth, then you better prove it in you statements. I have not seen that.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:47 pm

santa100 wrote:I simply don't see any logic in drawing an inspiration on someone or something that never exist.


Based on

santa100 wrote:Since Stream-Enterer wouldn't exist without Rebirth...


Well, it rather seems to me that stream-enterers wouldn't exist without the BuddhaDhamma, so it is the practice thereof which is my chosen emphasis, not insisting upon rebirth as a required view, which appears to be your chosen emphasis.

:shrug:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:04 pm

What if "rebirth" doesn't mean anything else than there will be birth again after death?

Does the Buddha tell us anywhere that there is more to it?

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby santa100 » Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:10 pm

Daverupa wrote:
Well, it rather seems to me that stream-enterers wouldn't exist without the BuddhaDhamma


Well, my take is that Stream-enterers definitely wouldn't exist with Rebirth AND they most definitely wouldn't exist without BuddhaDhamma. My emphasis is also on the BuddhaDhamma. So really, we aren't that much different. It's just that I see Rebirth as an integral part of it. That's all..

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby santa100 » Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:13 pm

Oops, typo, it should be: my take is that Stream-enterers definitely wouldn't exist without Rebirth AND they most definitely wouldn't exist without BuddhaDhamma.. :smile:

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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby chownah » Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:03 am

Zom wrote:
.so perhaps one could have right view without being attached to it...I guess...I don't know....


Actually in MN 22 in "raft simile" and "snake simile" Buddha shows that Dhamma is to be grasped firmly and properly, attached to.. and ONLY after you have gotten to the other shore (arahantship), only then you can release your grasp of Dhamma, but not before that :reading:

So it's the same with the views. (right) Views are your proper belief. You use them as a tool. And at the very end you will drop all views and other Dhamma tools also.

Zom,
It is good that you mention the "snake simile".....at accesstoinsight in Thanissaro Bhikkhu's introduction to the sutta he says, "This is a discourse about clinging to views (ditthi). Its central message is conveyed in two similes, among the most famous in the Canon: the simile of the water-snake and the simile of the raft. Taken together, these similes focus on the skill needed to grasp right view properly as a means of leading to the cessation of suffering, rather than an object of clinging, and then letting it go when it has done its job."[Note:the bold underlining is mine]

Looks like his view is that we should not be attached/ciinging to right view.....what do you think?

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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Aug 12, 2011 5:00 am

rowyourboat wrote:Hi Bhikkhu Pesala

I think that trying to become a better person might hinder the removal of personality view.


I'm not sure that is correct - cultivating what is wholesome (best articulated IMHO as 'becoming a better person') IS '..the teaching of the Buddhas

Not doing any evil thing, cultivating the wholesome, is obviously the right path. However, "becoming a better person" smells of conceit, which is an unwholesome Dhamma. As John Coleman once said, "I'm not the least bit conceited, though I have every reason to be." :)

Cultivating wholesome Dhammas such as reverence (garavo) and humility (nivato) means not regarding oneself as better than others due to following the "right" path of Buddha Dhamma.

Attachment to views, even right views, is a hindrance. If we have a good understanding of the Dhamma, we shouldn't get too upset when other disagree with us. If we argue too vigorously for our POV, it indicates some doubt and insecurity.

The true Dhamma never changes, whether a Buddha arises in the world to point it out or not. All of us have dust in our eyes, that is why we were reborn yet again.

When someone disagrees too vehemently, it is best not to respond. Buddhist forums should be a place to learn, or a place to teach, not a place to argue.
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby PeterB » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:45 am

:goodpost:

There are a handful of posters who shall remain nameless, who give me the impression that they will find something, anything, to argue about.
In the absence of an argument they occasionally argue against themselves, taking the opposite view to the view they espoused three weeks before.
Or some give the impression that they are trying to convince themselves about issues about which they have no personal experience that can in fact only be verified by guided meditation practice.
Perhaps its cultural.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Akuma » Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:34 am

acinteyyo wrote:What if "rebirth" doesn't mean anything else than there will be birth again after death?

Does the Buddha tell us anywhere that there is more to it?


This would lead to impossible conclusions. For example a practicioner could only "give" Nirvana, he could only not get children, because in this scenario Non-Birth is only a factor for those beings not-yet-born. It would also lead to the conclusion that Arahants are necessarily not existent because if they were existent they were born and therefore wouldnt have attained Nirvana. In short it leads to the effect that Nirvana is not attainable in that system.

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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:46 am

PeterB wrote::goodpost:

There are a handful of posters who shall remain nameless, who give me the impression that they will find something, anything, to argue about.
In the absence of an argument they occasionally argue against themselves, taking the opposite view to the view they espoused three weeks before.
Or some give the impression that they are trying to convince themselves about issues about which they have no personal experience that can in fact only be verified by guided meditation practice.
Perhaps its cultural.
You may be correct; however, let us not go any further down that road lest we end up with a meta-discussion and such. So back to the topic, please.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

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

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby PeterB » Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:12 am

Akuma wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:What if "rebirth" doesn't mean anything else than there will be birth again after death?

Does the Buddha tell us anywhere that there is more to it?


This would lead to impossible conclusions. For example a practicioner could only "give" Nirvana, he could only not get children, because in this scenario Non-Birth is only a factor for those beings not-yet-born. It would also lead to the conclusion that Arahants are necessarily not existent because if they were existent they were born and therefore wouldnt have attained Nirvana. In short it leads to the effect that Nirvana is not attainable in that system.

What if the concept of Arahants ( and the rest of the heirachy of attainment ) is the expression of a poetic ideal rather than an expression of ontological reality ?

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:34 am

Akuma wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:What if "rebirth" doesn't mean anything else than there will be birth again after death?

Does the Buddha tell us anywhere that there is more to it?


This would lead to impossible conclusions. For example a practicioner could only "give" Nirvana, he could only not get children, because in this scenario Non-Birth is only a factor for those beings not-yet-born. It would also lead to the conclusion that Arahants are necessarily not existent because if they were existent they were born and therefore wouldnt have attained Nirvana. In short it leads to the effect that Nirvana is not attainable in that system.

I really don't see how you come to those odd conclusions and actually I don't understand your post at all.
It seems you think it is more than that, then do you have anything to support your view?
BTW an arahant is not to be measured in terms of birth and death, birth and death do not apply anymore.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

:anjali:


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