Hearing. was Re: Mahamudra in Theravada?

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Hearing. was Re: Mahamudra in Theravada?

Postby Freawaru » Sat Nov 21, 2009 8:26 pm

[Moderator note: the following is off-topic for the Discorvering Theravada section, thusly moved to The Dhammic free-for-all section.]
Hi Sanghamitta,

Sanghamitta wrote:That raises two points for me, the first is that as I understand it the difference is that that direct perception of mind in the vajrayana is said to happen after or as a result of initiatory processes by a guru.


Sure, but in reality this seems to happen very rarely.

It requires a specific kind of Buddha, a Sravakabuddha, to do it properly. A so called "Hearer". A "Hearer" is able to give on a specific energy (a specific mixture of the elements) that helps the reciever of it to a new level of awareness. Tibetan Buddhism is full of "empowerments" and "transmissions" and so on, but to have an actual Hearer seems to be as rare as an Theravadan Arhat.

A Pratyekabuddha is Awakened, too, but it lacks the full mastery of the powers (iddhis) - thus it is unable to transmit the specific energy to someone else. But of course a Pratyekabuddha can still teach in the normal way - just the metaphysical way of teaching is closed to it.

So the end result may be the same, but the proposed methodology is very different from the Theravada.


The way of "Hearing" is mentioned in the suttas, too. But many seem to interprete "Hearing Dhamma" as listening to or reading the suttas. I don't know for sure but it seems that the Linage of the Hearers was broken in Theravada some time ago.

After all if we really believe that there is a "shortened path" whats keeping us here ? I ask this in all sincerity and metta.


Me? I got the impression that most practitioners' priority is going to retreats and getting empowerments - not to practice themselves. This has lead to a version of Guru Yoga I cannot accept.

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Re: Mahamudra in Theravada?

Postby Freawaru » Sat Nov 21, 2009 8:45 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:In all honesty Laura taking the results as the path neither makes sense ( to me ) nor does it answer my question, but I am sure we can maintain a friendly difference of view.
:smile:


In Mahamudra Time is irrelevant. A Buddha knows present and past and future. Because in the future you will be a Buddha for you as future Buddha Awakening has already happend. That future Buddha, who is you in your Awakening, knows the you in your present unAwakened state, and can help with speeding up your Awakening (because it has already happend that way).

One of the main problems that hinder our Awakening is the idea of Self. Of a self that is limited to number, space, and time. We restrict ourselves to a singular self - this self-imposed restriction conditioned by Ignorance will be broken through by achievement of a specific iddhi. So in the future you can do stuff you don't even dream about now - and help yourself along the Path by using it.

It is a bit like "Bill and Ted" if you ask me - but it is so crazy regarding spacetime I think it can work.

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Re: Mahamudra in Theravada?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:15 pm

Freawaru wrote:

So the end result may be the same, but the proposed methodology is very different from the Theravada.


The way of "Hearing" is mentioned in the suttas, too. But many seem to interprete "Hearing Dhamma" as listening to or reading the suttas. I don't know for sure but it seems that the Linage of the Hearers was broken in Theravada some time ago.

A Mahayana understanding of "hearer" has no bearing on the Theravada, which is still quite able to produce Ariyas.
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.
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Re: Mahamudra in Theravada?

Postby Sanghamitta » Sun Nov 22, 2009 9:12 am

Freawaru wrote:
Sanghamitta wrote:In all honesty Laura taking the results as the path neither makes sense ( to me ) nor does it answer my question, but I am sure we can maintain a friendly difference of view.
:smile:


In Mahamudra Time is irrelevant. A Buddha knows present and past and future. Because in the future you will be a Buddha for you as future Buddha Awakening has already happend. That future Buddha, who is you in your Awakening, knows the you in your present unAwakened state, and can help with speeding up your Awakening (because it has already happend that way).

One of the main problems that hinder our Awakening is the idea of Self. Of a self that is limited to number, space, and time. We restrict ourselves to a singular self - this self-imposed restriction conditioned by Ignorance will be broken through by achievement of a specific iddhi. So in the future you can do stuff you don't even dream about now - and help yourself along the Path by using it.

It is a bit like "Bill and Ted" if you ask me - but it is so crazy regarding spacetime I think it can work.

Freawaru

Thank you for your explanation of Mahamudra in the Mahayana. Personally I am no nearer to seeing the relevance of Mahayana in the Theravada, which was the subject of the OP.
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Re: Mahamudra in Theravada?

Postby Freawaru » Sun Nov 22, 2009 9:36 am

Hi tiltbillings,

tiltbillings wrote:
Freawaru wrote:

So the end result may be the same, but the proposed methodology is very different from the Theravada.


The way of "Hearing" is mentioned in the suttas, too. But many seem to interprete "Hearing Dhamma" as listening to or reading the suttas. I don't know for sure but it seems that the Linage of the Hearers was broken in Theravada some time ago.

A Mahayana understanding of "hearer" has no bearing on the Theravada, which is still quite able to produce Ariyas.


"Hearing" is not a requirement for becoming Ariyan. There are countless Pratyekabuddhas. And now and then there is a Samyaksambuddha. Neither has had a transmission by Hearing the Dhamma from a guru The difference is the FULL attainment of the iddhis. A Samyaksambuddha has it all. A Pratyekabuddha understands Dhamma through own effort, too (without Hearing), but lacks certain "fruits". Thus it cannot start a Linage. A Savakabuddha cannot start a Lineage, either, but give on the one it has "Heard".

I think the Linage of the Hearers has be broken in Theravada. I think so because Theravadans interprete "Hearing dhamma" as listening in a seminar. But the describtion of those suttas, the importance regarding a "guru", the starting point of the practice as "Hearing" - that leads to Right View - all of it only makes sense when I include the metaphysical transmissions as still known in Tibetan Buddhism. "Hearing" in Mahamudra is an experience of Liberation; the result is that it alters kamma and sets the direction of the reciever towards Enlightenment by redirecting the inner Intention of the practitioner.

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Re: Mahamudra in Theravada?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Nov 22, 2009 9:54 am

Freawaru wrote: "Hearing" is not a requirement for becoming Ariyan.
The definition you seem to be using for "hearer" strikes me as coming out of the Mahayana, not the Theravada or the Pali suttas.

There are countless Pratyekabuddhas.
This claim is based upon what?

And now and then there is a Samyaksambuddha. Neither has had a transmission by Hearing the Dhamma from a guru
"Guru" is a far more a Mahayana concept than what one finds in the Pali suttas and within the Theravada.

The difference is the FULL attainment of the iddhis. A Samyaksambuddha has it all. A Pratyekabuddha understands Dhamma through own effort, too (without Hearing), but lacks certain "fruits". Thus it cannot start a Linage. A Savakabuddha cannot start a Lineage, either, but give on the one it has "Heard".
Please cite your Theravadin sources for this.

I think the Linage of the Hearers has be broken in Theravada. I think so because Theravadans interprete "Hearing dhamma" as listening in a seminar.
Not that I ever have seen.

But the describtion of those suttas, the importance regarding a "guru", the starting point of the practice as "Hearing" - that leads to Right View - all of it only makes sense when I include the metaphysical transmissions as still known in Tibetan Buddhism.
It may make sense to you, but then that is running things through a particular Mahayana filter that has no bearing on the Theravada. Please keep in mind, this DISCOVERING THERAVADA section.

"Hearing" in Mahamudra is an experience of Liberation; the result is that it alters kamma and sets the direction of the reciever towards Enlightenment by redirecting the inner Intention of the practitioner.
Again, this is coming out of a Mahayana point of view that has no bearing upon the Theravada. While Mahayana has constructed complex ways of talking about and trying to explain and do things, I have seen no real evidence that that added complexity actually adds real depth to the claimed awakening.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
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Re: Mahamudra in Theravada?

Postby pink_trike » Sun Nov 22, 2009 9:48 pm

Freawaru wrote:
Me? I got the impression that most practitioners' priority is going to retreats and getting empowerments - not to practice themselves. This has lead to a version of Guru Yoga I cannot accept.

Freawaru


People new to the Vajrayna path often grasp at empowerments, in the same way that newbies to Theravada grasp at rules, behaviors, and form. Both empowerments and rules/behaviors/form are seeds and soil for the manifestation of fruit. In both traditions "most" practitioners eventually shift their perspective organically, from the material elements to a more experiential understanding.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Mahamudra in Theravada?

Postby Freawaru » Mon Nov 23, 2009 9:44 am

Hi Sanghamitta,

Sanghamitta wrote:
Freawaru wrote:
Sanghamitta wrote:In all honesty Laura taking the results as the path neither makes sense ( to me ) nor does it answer my question, but I am sure we can maintain a friendly difference of view.
:smile:


In Mahamudra Time is irrelevant. A Buddha knows present and past and future. Because in the future you will be a Buddha for you as future Buddha Awakening has already happend. That future Buddha, who is you in your Awakening, knows the you in your present unAwakened state, and can help with speeding up your Awakening (because it has already happend that way).

One of the main problems that hinder our Awakening is the idea of Self. Of a self that is limited to number, space, and time. We restrict ourselves to a singular self - this self-imposed restriction conditioned by Ignorance will be broken through by achievement of a specific iddhi. So in the future you can do stuff you don't even dream about now - and help yourself along the Path by using it.

It is a bit like "Bill and Ted" if you ask me - but it is so crazy regarding spacetime I think it can work.

Freawaru

Thank you for your explanation of Mahamudra in the Mahayana. Personally I am no nearer to seeing the relevance of Mahayana in the Theravada, which was the subject of the OP.


The OP's question was about similarities between Mahamudra and Theravada. The first answer was a request about what exactly Mahamudra is - I assumed there are Theravadans here who don't know anything about Mahamudra and thought it useful to give a few explanations regarding the differences. I think it interesting that even though there are those Differences between modern Mahamudra and modern Theravada, when looking into the Theravadan suttas one still finds practices that are considered today just Tantric (such as guru yoga, Liberation by Hearing).

As to what is identical in Mahamudra, Dzogchen and Theravada is - as has been mentioned before - the importance of samatha (zhine) and vipassana. Especially the development of a stable sati-sampajanna (Clear Comprehending) is identical in both Traditions: Dzogchen calls it "Presence". In Dzogchen "Presence" refers to being present to the inseparability of clarity (Clear Comprehending) and emptiness (an-atta) in the natural state of mind (Space),

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Hearing. was Re: Mahamudra in Theravada?

Postby Freawaru » Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:37 am

Hello tiltbillings,

tiltbillings wrote:
Freawaru wrote: "Hearing" is not a requirement for becoming Ariyan.
The definition you seem to be using for "hearer" strikes me as coming out of the Mahayana, not the Theravada or the Pali suttas.


Yes, todays Theravada does not seem to have it any more - but it is in the Pali suttas. The very fact that "Hearer" is also translated as "disciple" (aka disciple of a guru) is proove enough if you ask me. There is more going on during "Hearing" than mere listening to a talk. Else we would all be sotapanna by now.

Look, if Hearers can only Liberate by Hearing a sammasambuddha there would not have been disciples after Gautama's death. What would be the point of teaching something like that and then decide to die. If without a living sammasambuddha the sotapanna Path would be closed what would be the use of all those suttas. Somehow, something, has to be given on by the disciples.

There are countless Pratyekabuddhas.
This claim is based upon what?


http://what-buddha-said.net/drops/II/PACCEKABUDDHA.htm

And now and then there is a Samyaksambuddha. Neither has had a transmission by Hearing the Dhamma from a guru
"Guru" is a far more a Mahayana concept than what one finds in the Pali suttas and within the Theravada.


If I recall correctly the Pali term is "guru" (or was it sanskrit?). Anyway, "guru" means teacher - this term appears in the suttas.

The difference is the FULL attainment of the iddhis. A Samyaksambuddha has it all. A Pratyekabuddha understands Dhamma through own effort, too (without Hearing), but lacks certain "fruits". Thus it cannot start a Linage. A Savakabuddha cannot start a Lineage, either, but give on the one it has "Heard".
Please cite your Theravadin sources for this.


http://what-buddha-said.net/drops/II/He ... _Entry.htm

http://what-buddha-said.net/drops/III/G ... _Faith.htm

http://what-buddha-said.net/drops/IV/Th ... -Entry.htm

http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Met ... imet01.htm

I think the Linage of the Hearers has be broken in Theravada. I think so because Theravadans interprete "Hearing dhamma" as listening in a seminar.
Not that I ever have seen.


http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastudygroup

Read some of the treads there. It is all over it: Hearing Dhamma refers (in their view) to listening to someone quoting the suttas and explaining them. "Wise consideration" has nothing to do with wisdom any more but is (to them) formalistic analysis (the way one analysis mathematical systems). While this seems to be incorrect to many Theravadans (there are many thread there that discuss the ansatz of no meditation but just reading and discussing) - far as I know - I am the only one ever mentioning that the original assumption of what "Hearing Dhamma" means is wrong in the first place.

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Re: Hearing. was Re: Mahamudra in Theravada?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:10 pm

Freawaru wrote:Hello tiltbillings,

tiltbillings wrote:
Freawaru wrote: "Hearing" is not a requirement for becoming Ariyan.
The definition you seem to be using for "hearer" strikes me as coming out of the Mahayana, not the Theravada or the Pali suttas.


Yes, todays Theravada does not seem to have it any more
A claim based upon your opinion, and nothing more than your opinion, it would seem.

- but it is in the Pali suttas. The very fact that "Hearer" is also translated as "disciple" (aka disciple of a guru) is proove enough if you ask me.
But not if you ask me. First of all, if the term guru were of the significance in the Pali suttas as it is in the later Mahayana, you would know what the Pali for it was. The Pali suttas do not teach that sort of Mahayana/Vajrana student teacher relationship.

Sāvaka, as in the refuge - Sāvaka-Sangha -, refers only to the 8 kinds of noble disciples, which means that any individual who attains to some degree of awakening is part of the Sāvaka-Sangha.

There is more going on during "Hearing" than mere listening to a talk. Else we would all be sotapanna by now.
And so what would be going on during “hearing?” This is a rather vague statement.

Look, if Hearers can only Liberate by Hearing a sammasambuddha there would not have been disciples after Gautama's death. What would be the point of teaching something like that and then decide to die. If without a living sammasambuddha the sotapanna Path would be closed what would be the use of all those suttas. Somehow, something, has to be given on by the disciples.
Again, teaching something like what? It is not at all clear what you are talking about here.

There are countless Pratyekabuddhas.
This claim is based upon what?
The response:
http://what-buddha-said.net/drops/II/PACCEKABUDDHA.htm
Please be kind enough to quote from this link (or its sublinks) to show that there are countless Pratyekabuddhas.

And now and then there is a Samyaksambuddha. Neither has had a transmission by Hearing the Dhamma from a guru
"Guru" is a far more a Mahayana concept than what one finds in the Pali suttas and within the Theravada.
The response:
If I recall correctly the Pali term is "guru" (or was it sanskrit?). Anyway, "guru" means teacher - this term appears in the suttas.
The Pali term for guru is not used in the suttas the same way as we find in the Mahayana and especially the Vajrayana. The ideal teacher in the Pali tradition is the kalyāna-mitta.

I think the Linage of the Hearers has be broken in Theravada. I think so because Theravadans interprete "Hearing dhamma" as listening in a seminar.
Not that I ever have seen.
And the response is:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastudygroup

Read some of the treads there. It is all over it: Hearing Dhamma refers (in their view) to listening to someone quoting the suttas and explaining them. "Wise consideration" has nothing to do with wisdom any more but is (to them) formalistic analysis (the way one analysis mathematical systems). While this seems to be incorrect to many Theravadans (there are many thread there that discuss the ansatz of no meditation but just reading and discussing) - far as I know - I am the only one ever mentioning that the original assumption of what "Hearing Dhamma" means is wrong in the first place.
This does not tell me anything other than you do not like what you read in the yahoo group. If you are going to make such a claim as Linage of the Hearers has be broken in Theravada, you are going to have actually present an actual argument with actual examples that clearly make your point. So far, you have given an opinion but no real justification for it.
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: Mahamudra in Theravada?

Postby Freawaru » Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:31 am

Hello tiltbillings,

a few years ago I spend some time discussing with some Mahayanans, who held the indestructible opinion that Theravada was - at best - a very lowly form of Dhamma: the inferior vehicle they called it. I could say what I wanted, give prove and quotes and logical argumentation, nothing I did could change this opinion of theirs. So I know my limits and I really have no intention to play the same game again, this time having to show that Mahamudra is the Buddha's Dhamma, too.

As to DhammaStudyGroup, the people there are very nice and kind and knowledgeable regarding their choosen approach and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in developing a purely theoretical understanding of Abhidhamma that is taken as a formal system there. But I cannot agree to their interpretation of "Hearing Dhamma" as it is inconsistent with those suttas that describe meditation, the practice of it, and the states, accomplishments, and insights experienced due to it. I do not like inconsistencies - but the arguments of the people at DSG are good and there is no break of logic when they argue how wrong it is to meditate and that only hearing Dhamma is correct. This is what lead me to look at their basic assumptions, and one of their assumption is the idea that "Hearing Dhamma" refers to simply listening to someone talking about it - the way one talks about physics or a book. But that is not what we see in the suttas. In the suttas "Hearing" always had a true, immediate, effect on the Hearer - obviously it is not the same when I read a sutta to someone as when the Buddha (or one of his Disciples) said it. Something is amiss.

In lack of a third option I choose to take the Mahayana version of "Hearing Dhamma" as the correct one. It agrees both with the suttas and with meditation. This is *my* choice - of course, I accept others choosing differently: those Mahayanans, some at DSG and those here. And I see no reason to discuss this further as it is not possible to prove basic assumptions one way or the other - that is why basic assumptions are also called axioms.

So let's leave it here, please.

A last note: you are right, the site does not say that there are *countless* Paccekabuddhas.

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Re: Mahamudra in Theravada?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:59 am

Freawaru wrote: So I know my limits and I really have no intention to play the same game again, this time having to show that Mahamudra is the Buddha's Dhamma, too.
I did not say that it was not.

As to DhammaStudyGroup
I do not care about the DSG.

In the suttas "Hearing" always had a true, immediate, effect on the Hearer
Not at all true.

In lack of a third option I choose to take the Mahayana version of "Hearing Dhamma" as the correct one. It agrees both with the suttas and with meditation.
Not that you have shown, but an important point is that the Discovering Theravada was not an appropriate section to try to make that point, especially when you claimed that "modern Theravada" has lost its lineage of "hearers." Again, not that you have shown.
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.
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Re: Hearing. was Re: Mahamudra in Theravada?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Nov 24, 2009 12:16 pm

Did I hear somebody whispering "Masefield"?
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Re: Hearing. was Re: Mahamudra in Theravada?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 24, 2009 12:22 pm

Paññāsikhara wrote:Did I hear somebody whispering "Masefield"?
Not here, you don't. A very odd duck, a very odd thesis.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Re: Hearing. was Re: Mahamudra in Theravada?

Postby LauraJ » Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:30 am

Freawaru wrote:I got the impression that most practitioners' priority is going to retreats and getting empowerments - not to practice themselves.


May I ask how or from whom you received this impression?
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Re: Hearing. was Re: Mahamudra in Theravada?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:14 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:Did I hear somebody whispering "Masefield"?

Not here, you don't. A very odd duck, a very odd thesis.


Hehe. Not from you, Tilt, elsewhere.
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Re: Hearing. was Re: Mahamudra in Theravada?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Nov 25, 2009 4:40 am

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Re: Hearing. was Re: Mahamudra in Theravada?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Nov 25, 2009 5:17 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:Did I hear somebody whispering "Masefield"?

Not here, you don't. A very odd duck, a very odd thesis.


Hehe. Not from you, Tilt, elsewhere.

I know, but I wonder if the "elsewhere" is coincidence.
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.
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Re: Hearing. was Re: Mahamudra in Theravada?

Postby Freawaru » Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:34 am

Hi Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:I know, but I wonder if the "elsewhere" is coincidence.


I didn't know about Masefield until reading the link Mike provided (thank you, Mike).

I just decided I could not accept the idea of "Hearing Dhamma" by those Theravadans at DSG and I knew the Mahayanan intepretation of "Hearing Dhamma". And I read some suttas that described "Hearing". It was easy to come to the same conclusion (regarding "Hearing" I mean) as Masefield. Is no prove, though - there are always more explanations possible. The only prove I could accept would be to get such a transmission myself - but at least this "model" is compatible with the suttas and the iddhis and the general theory of the elements. And it is self-consistent.

This is not just a theoretical question. It leads to the question about right practice. If we assume that there is no metaphysical transmission involved reading the suttas would indeed be all that is required for right practice. No meditation, no sila...

I do not claim that there are no such transmissions and lineages in Theravada as in Mahayana. I said "It seems". Maybe there are some and I just have not heard about them. Has anyone here heard or heard about someone or recieved such a transmission in a Theravadan lineage?
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Re: Hearing. was Re: Mahamudra in Theravada?

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:46 am

In the sense that you are using it and if I have understood correctly I have never heard of such a transmission in the Theravada. There are those who see that as a positive of course.
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