W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dhamma

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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby Mkoll » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:14 pm

binocular wrote:Can you conceive of "relying on oneself" while you also hold that this self that one is relying on has no substantial, no truly relevant existence, but is simply something changing, fleeting and subject to disappearing?


No, one can't conceive of that because it goes beyond the limits of logic. That's why the Buddha said that it was unwise attention to bother conceiving about it.

"There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person... doesn't discern what ideas are fit for attention, or what ideas are unfit for attention... This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'"
-MN 2

:anjali:
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:34 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
binocular wrote:
Has to be permanent? Based on what? Does this implicated permanent selfhhood change?

Can you conceive of "relying on oneself" while you also hold that this self that one is relying on has no substantial, no truly relevant existence, but is simply something changing, fleeting and subject to disappearing?
You answer my questions, I'll be more than happy to answer yours.
Let me add to this, while you are thinking about an answer to my questions. What does your statement == '[I]"Relying on oneself" does require a belief in some kind of relevant selfhood, though. And if this selfhood is to be relevant, then by implication, it has to be permanent' == have to do with the subject at hand?
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: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby Shaswata_Panja » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:38 pm

daverupa wrote:
Shaswata_Panja wrote:just google up and read seven factors of non-decline Sutta..it will satisfy your curiosity

and in his paranibbana sutta , see how he profusely praises the folk shrines at Chapala and other places


It does not. You said that the Buddha "promotes the perpetuation of old religious rituals" -that isn't this text and it's nowhere in DN 16 either. Probably you are thinking of the sutta which records the Buddha telling Ananda how the Vajjians can experience non-decline, one point of which is that they should sustain their shrine practices.

But when the layfolk depart, the Buddha summons the Sangha and does not tell them to maintain shrine practices. If we match up the suggestions 1:1, the Vajjian shrine practice (#6 in the list) correlates to sequestered living in forest huts.

Your claim is altogether unsupported, Shaswata_Panje. Asking us to use Google is weak stuff.



he made an universal claim and not limited to Vajjians...and anyways by mid sixth century B.C. Vedic rituals were well Established from Punjab till Bengal..from lower reaches of Jammu to the Vindhyas

by the way wikipedia uses these maps extensively

this is circa 1000BC ..

Image
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:42 pm

binocular wrote:
And I didn't "refuse to" explain myself. I think that there are topics that simply require a particular effort, preexisting knowledge and attitude on the part of the listener in order to be discussed. And in my opinion, neither that thread, nor this one, are suitable for such discussion.
I have mistakenly assessed the time, place and circumstance for discussing this topic. I apologize.
When repeatedly asked to give support to your claim and don't do, telling me that I should investigate it on my own, that looks a lot like refusal. You have no idea what a person's "preexisting knowledge" is, nor what his or her "attitude" is. Basically, this reads as a dodge for not backing up, when repeatedly asked, the statements you made. If the Vaiṣṇava/Bhagavad Gita traditions are significantly different that the Buddha's critique of god notion does not address it, that is an argument, using the Gita, that could be easily made clear.
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: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:44 pm

Shaswata_Panja wrote:

he made an universal claim and not limited to Vajjians]
Quote the suttas.
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: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby Shaswata_Panja » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:51 pm

read for yourself the seven factors of non-decline---better copy paste it here...
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby manas » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:52 pm

binocular wrote:Can you conceive of "relying on oneself" while you also hold that this self that one is relying on has no substantial, no truly relevant existence, but is simply something changing, fleeting and subject to disappearing?


Yes, you can.

There is no contradiction when the Buddha tells us we must rely on ourselves alone, but when he also says that there isn't any self in the five khandhas.

I tried to put it into my own words, but as I'm not a Dhamma teacher, and this subject matter is very subtle and far too important to explain incorrectly, I've just posted a link. I sincerely hope you find it as illuminating as I still do (I reread it from time to time).

"The Not-Self Strategy" by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

kind regards,
manas.
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:55 pm

Shaswata_Panja wrote:read for yourself the seven factors of non-decline---better copy paste it here...
Unacceptable. You have no problem cutting and pasting that "scholar's" stuff -- at length. In turn, you can find the relevant texts and quote them here giving the sutta citations as appropriate.
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: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby daverupa » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:16 pm

Sometimes I get the impression that the misunderstandings and refusals to learn which can be observed in these sorts of threads are rooted in treasured cultural/social histories. Akin to what was once standard United States education about e.g. the Mayflower and the first Pilgrims, it's a social myth far more than it is accurate history.

I think "Hindu Buddha" phenomena reflect something similar.
    "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: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby binocular » Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:55 pm

tiltbillings wrote:What does your statement == '[I]"Relying on oneself" does require a belief in some kind of relevant selfhood, though. And if this selfhood is to be relevant, then by implication, it has to be permanent' == have to do with the subject at hand?

It was in response to something you brought up -

T: Relying on oneself can be much more difficult that having the above god to whom we can turn.
B: "Relying on oneself" does require a belief in some kind of relevant selfhood, though. And if this selfhood is to be relevant, then by implication, it has to be permanent.
T: Has to be permanent? Based on what? Does this implicated permanent selfhhood change?
B: Can you conceive of "relying on oneself" while you also hold that this self that one is relying on has no substantial, no truly relevant existence, but is simply something changing, fleeting and subject to disappearing?


tiltbillings wrote:You answer my question, I'll be more than happy to answer yours.

AN 4.42: There are questions that should be answered with a counter-question.
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby binocular » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:13 pm

Shaswata_Panja wrote:This is the general refrain that I get from Western Buddhism/Consensus Buddhism...It is more interested in asserting that its practice is based on atheism and thereby engendering a worldview tinged with negativity , rather than asserting that its worldview bases itself off the very rich philosophy and metaphysics provided for by the Dhamma

Among some Westerners, there is also a sense of entitlement about the Dhamma - taking the Dhamma for granted, thinking that we're owed to get the Dhamma.

Possibly our Western educational system contributes to this sense of entitlement as in courses where we learn about the different religions of the world, we can easily get the impression that various religions "just exist", "just are there", somehow on their own, effortlessly, like mountains, requiring nobody to look after them and to keep them alive and well. And that we can pick and choose among these religions, much like we can pick and choose between the numerous products in a supermarket.


/.../
So we come to the practice with a huge debt. And the Buddha encourages us to have a sense of gratitude to everyone who's provided for us — materially and in terms of the Dhamma — because otherwise we get complacent.

There's a saying that gratitude is the sign of a good person. If you don't appreciate the goodness of other people, it's hard to make that extra effort needed to be a good person yourself. So stop and reflect every day on the debts you owe to other people and the various ways you might be able to repay those debts. This means that you should come to the practice not with a sense of entitlement but with a sense of how much you need the Dhamma practice to help compensate for the debts you've been accumulating over time.

Look at the monastery we have here. It's come about through the generosity of lots and lots of different people. They've been generous with their money, generous with their time, generous with their strength. Everything we have here is the result of somebody's generosity. One of the reasons we need to be really active in the practice, dedicated to the practice, not complacent in the practice, is because we've got this debt. As the Buddha once said, the only people who are really debtless in this world are the arahants. As long as we haven't yet reached that point, we still have a debt to other people, to the other beings all around us. Whatever way we can build goodness through generosity of our own, observing the precepts, through the meditation, is a way of helping to repay that debt.

At the same time there's the question of keeping this teaching alive. You need to have a sense of how precious this is, this teaching of the Dhamma. It's not that beings get to meet with the Dhamma every lifetime. There are whole eons where the world has no notion of the Dhamma at all. We were born in a time when the Dhamma is still alive. There are still people practicing. The world is not empty of arahants. So value your opportunity. Think of your debt of gratitude to all the people who've kept this teaching alive, and do what you can to keep it alive for the people who come after you.

When you read Buddhist history, it can sometimes be a pretty depressing project, seeing how people take the Dhamma and bend it to other needs, other agendas, other ideas. And yet there are always people who have a sense of the Dhamma's true purpose and work to bring the tradition back in line. But think of all the difficulties they go through, like Ajaan Mun. In his days the forest tradition had degenerated. It was mainly composed of monks wandering around reciting magical spells, selling amulets to people. It was a kind of business. But he took the Vinaya and combined it with the forest practice and so rediscovered the way to Awakening.

At that time the Thai Buddhist hierarchy had decided that the way to nibbana was closed. Nobody seemed to be going that way — that was the official line. They even had made a survey of meditation temples to prove it. And Ajaan Mun had to prove single-handedly that it wasn't true, so you can imagine what he was up against — not only his own defilements, but the disapproval of state and ecclesiastical officials. When you read his biography, you learn just a little about the hardships he went through. So try to develop a sense of gratitude for what he did, so that you can maintain the Dhamma in your practice as well. Don't be guilty of the sort of changes in the Dhamma that someone else down the line is going to have to come along and straighten out.

Ideally we should come to the Dhamma not with a sense of entitlement, but with a sense of gratitude — a sense of how important it is and what's demanded of us to be equal to the Dhamma. When we have that attitude, our Dhamma practice really starts getting results. There's a lot demanded of us, but if we have a sense of conviction in the importance of the Dhamma, we'll be willing to make whatever effort's required.

Ajaan Fuang once told me that one of his prime motivations in practicing was that he was born into a poor family. He didn't do well in school, he was orphaned at an early age, and as he was growing up he just didn't have anything to show for himself as a human being. If you want to make your way in Thai society, you've got to have a lot of good connections. Well, he had no connections, and he didn't have anything else to fall back on. He realized that this was his only hope for any kind of happiness: to build up the goodness that Dhamma practice can provide. So he threw himself into it, and his single-mindedness was what enabled him to attain what he did.

As we come to the Dhamma we need a strong sense of its importance — and a strong sense of our need for the Dhamma. We come to it not because we're entitled but because we're in debt — to our parents, to all the other living beings who've contributed to the fact that we now have a body and are still alive. Lots of people talk about interconnectedness as a wonderful thing, but it carries a lot of IOU's.

Try to think about this in a way that makes you willing and happy to repay those IOU's — understanding the need to repay them, and happy that you've found a way to meet that need. Use that as a motivation to keep your Dhamma practice in line, to keep yourself devoted to the practice. That way you benefit. You get the full set of benefits that can come from the practice, and the people around you get a fuller sense of its benefits as well.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu, A sense of entitlement


A sense of entitlement also makes it easier to introduce changes to Buddhism, to be selective about the teachings - selective not in terms of "Which teaching could I apply in my life right now?" but in terms of "Which teachings do I like, and which ones sem too much in discord with what I already believe".

There is even a term related to this sense of entitlement: "spiritual materialism."

There are different approaches to understanding spiritual materialism. For example, Chogyam Trungpa's is popular, but one can also find sources from other religions and individuals.
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:38 pm

binocular wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:What does your statement == '[I]"Relying on oneself" does require a belief in some kind of relevant selfhood, though. And if this selfhood is to be relevant, then by implication, it has to be permanent' == have to do with the subject at hand?

It was in response to something you brought up -

T: Relying on oneself can be much more difficult that having the above god to whom we can turn.
B: "Relying on oneself" does require a belief in some kind of relevant selfhood, though. And if this selfhood is to be relevant, then by implication, it has to be permanent.
T: Has to be permanent? Based on what? Does this implicated permanent selfhhood change?
B: Can you conceive of "relying on oneself" while you also hold that this self that one is relying on has no substantial, no truly relevant existence, but is simply something changing, fleeting and subject to disappearing?


tiltbillings wrote:You answer my question, I'll be more than happy to answer yours.

AN 4.42: There are questions that should be answered with a counter-question.
Another dodge. Answer my questions, and I'll be delighted to answer yours.
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: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby Aloka » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:42 pm

binocular wrote:Among some Westerners, there is also a sense of entitlement about the Dhamma - taking the Dhamma for granted, thinking that we're owed to get the Dhamma.


Which westerners are you talking about, binocular? Can you be more specific? I've never spoken to anyone with that attitude.

Possibly our Western educational system contributes to this sense of entitlement as in courses where we learn about the different religions of the world, we can easily get the impression that various religions "just exist", "just are there", somehow on their own, effortlessly, like mountains, requiring nobody to look after them and to keep them alive and well. And that we can pick and choose among these religions, much like we can pick and choose between the numerous products in a supermarket.


Speaking as someone who has worked for a long time as a teacher in the western educational system, I think that this is just speculation on your part.

....Plus I'm not sure what the late Chogyam Trungpa's "Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism" which I read years ago has got to do with this topic.
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:43 pm

Shaswata_Panja wrote:This is the general refrain that I get from Western Buddhism/Consensus Buddhism...It is more interested in asserting that its practice is based on atheism and thereby engendering a worldview tinged with negativity , rather than asserting that its worldview bases itself off the very rich philosophy and metaphysics provided for by the Dhamma
Back up this so far unsupported statement, if you would be so kind.
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: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:50 pm

binocular wrote:There is even a term related to this sense of entitlement: "spiritual materialism."


If you do a quick google it appears the definition of "spiritual materialism" coined by Chogram Trungpa is pretty well known and accepted, and it's not the same as your definition, where did you get your definition from?
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:07 pm

binocular wrote:Possibly our Western educational system contributes to this sense of entitlement as in courses where we learn about the different religions of the world, we can easily get the impression that various religions "just exist", "just are there", somehow on their own, effortlessly, like mountains, requiring nobody to look after them and to keep them alive and well. And that we can pick and choose among these religions, much like we can pick and choose between the numerous products in a supermarket.


Actually it's not about entitlement at all, it's about truth.

Westerners who go down this path usually do so starting with high minded ideals about seeking the truth, in the West it's not about cultural/religious identity like it is in Asia.

This is why we don't just accept everything at face value, just get our membership card and a sense of belonging that comes with it. Rather we have the need to dig further to understand what's below the surface teachings and rituals, how they came about historically, and how they fit into what we understand about the world around us.

This is how we have learned about the world around us over centuries of scientific enquiry, why should we stop now when it comes to looking at deeper truth about the human mind.

This is hard work, but to give it up would be to give up the ideal of truth. If you want to know about entitlement that's the people who think they are "saved" due to being born into a religion and do little or nothing to progress their understanding of it.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:09 pm

binocular wrote:[i]So we come to the practice with a huge debt. And the Buddha encourages us to have a sense of gratitude to everyone who's provided for us — materially and in terms of the Dhamma — because otherwise we get complacent.
This is something I have heard repeatedly by various Western teachers, lay and monastic, in the US.
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: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby Mkoll » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:11 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
binocular wrote:Possibly our Western educational system contributes to this sense of entitlement as in courses where we learn about the different religions of the world, we can easily get the impression that various religions "just exist", "just are there", somehow on their own, effortlessly, like mountains, requiring nobody to look after them and to keep them alive and well. And that we can pick and choose among these religions, much like we can pick and choose between the numerous products in a supermarket.


Actually it's not about entitlement at all, it's about truth.

Westerners who go down this path usually do so starting with high minded ideals about seeking the truth, in the West it's not about cultural/religious identity like it is in Asia.

This is why we don't just accept everything at face value, just get our membership card and a sense of belonging that comes with it. Rather we have the need to dig further to understand what's below the surface teachings and rituals, how they came about historically, and how they fit into what we understand about the world around us.

This is how we have learned about the world around us over centuries of scientific enquiry, why should we stop now when it comes to looking at deeper truth about the human mind.

This is hard work, but to give it up would be to give up the ideal of truth. If you want to know about entitlement that's the people who think they are "saved" due to being born into a religion and do little or nothing to progress their understanding of it.

:goodpost:

I couldn't drop my "critical Western mind" even if I wanted to.

:anjali:
Peace,
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby binocular » Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:20 pm

Aloka wrote:Which westerners are you talking about, binocular? Can you be more specific? I've never spoken to anyone with that attitude.

Really??
You'd say it is very common for Westerners to have a sense of deep gratitude for being taught the Dhamma?
You'd say it is very common for Westerners to just adopt whatever they are told in the name of the Dhamma?

Possibly our Western educational system contributes to this sense of entitlement as in courses where we learn about the different religions of the world, we can easily get the impression that various religions "just exist", "just are there", somehow on their own, effortlessly, like mountains, requiring nobody to look after them and to keep them alive and well. And that we can pick and choose among these religions, much like we can pick and choose between the numerous products in a supermarket.

Speaking as someone who has worked for a long time as a teacher in the western educational system, I think that this is just speculation on your part.

I went through the Western educational system. What I said earlier is precisely the message I got there. And I'm not alone in it.

....Plus I'm not sure what the late Chogyam Trungpa's "Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism" which I read years ago has got to do with this topic.

Refer to the OP.


Goofaholix wrote:
binocular wrote:There is even a term related to this sense of entitlement: "spiritual materialism."

If you do a quick google it appears the definition of "spiritual materialism" coined by Chogram Trungpa is pretty well known and accepted, and it's not the same as your definition, where did you get your definition from?


That's what I said:
binocular wrote:A sense of entitlement also makes it easier to introduce changes to Buddhism, to be selective about the teachings - selective not in terms of "Which teaching could I apply in my life right now?" but in terms of "Which teachings do I like, and which ones sem too much in discord with what I already believe".

There is even a term related to this sense of entitlement: "spiritual materialism."

There are different approaches to understanding spiritual materialism. For example, Chogyam Trungpa's is popular, but one can also find sources from other religions and individuals.



Goofaholix wrote:Actually it's not about entitlement at all, it's about truth.

When this quest for the "truth" is accompanied by holding some epistemological propositions as sacrosanct, tabooing them, then that's not much of a quest for the truth. Or is it ...
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Re: W. Buddhism is based more on Atheism-materialism than Dh

Postby binocular » Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:39 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Another dodge. Answer my questions, and I'll be delighted to answer yours.

You know something? Suit yourself.
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