Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

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Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby conebeckham » Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:45 pm

username wrote:[No it is you who doesn't get what I am saying. I told you before I do know Dzogchen is beyond religions or anything communicated in semantics, unlike you guys who do not practice what you preach to the masses. I told you before I even gave away all my paraphernalia. I guess your memory does not serve. However starting a campaign to attack religions and specifically Buddhism and Vajrayana which is the content of his posts as we see is not the right way.


Show us, Username, where Malcolm "started a campaign to attack religions and specifically Buddhism," and then maybe we can have an intelligent, tolerant conversation. I, myself, am a "card-carrying Buddhist" who values his religion, and yet recognizes the problems and limitations of institutions and organized religions, and I do my best to bring sunshine to those areas. I also recognize the limitations of "fixing" an institution, and the futility of "creating" a utopian conventional world. I am different from Malcolm, and from you, in many ways, and I have not "given away my paraphernalia," but I do not see any sort of "attack conspiracy" from Malcom's posts, at all. Neither do I see him attempting to create a new "institution" of Dzogchen which is separate from Buddhism--though I think some here are quick to jump to that conclusion.
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Silent Bob » Mon Oct 01, 2012 7:17 pm

Malcolm wrote:
username wrote:
"As all individuals have their own perception, it is not right to harbor wrong views and speak maligning words.


That has always been my unchanging ideological position.

There's no real justification on DW for anonymity and good reasons why it is unhelpful. Perhaps it's time for the mods and admin to re-examine the policy.

Chris
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Oct 01, 2012 7:20 pm

It might be difficult to enforce a rule against anonymity, and then you have the problem of false identities.
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Tara » Mon Oct 01, 2012 7:26 pm

This topic has veered off course.

:focus: "Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale"
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Maybe you collect a lot of important writings,
Major texts, personal instructions, private notes, whatever.
If you haven’t practiced, books won’t help you when you die.
Look at the mind – that’s my sincere advice.

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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Astus » Mon Oct 01, 2012 7:56 pm

"you can practice Dzogchen with very little if any theory at all"

That is quite a theory in itself, even a controversial one. Just consider the very basic requirements of practising Dzogchen. First of all, one has to acquire an interest toward it. There can be several things that entice total newcomers, from the film Seven Years in Tibet to the idea of perfect enlightenment. There are some concepts one has to accept - even if temporarily - in order to partake in a live instruction. These concepts include that I don't know already everything, that I need this teaching, the teacher is an authentic source, I submit myself to the teachings received, etc. Next one has to comprehend and accept the instructions. And this takes quite a lot of dedication, faith and understanding. Just think about the hypothetical event that one of Namkhai Norbu's annual guru yoga webcasts were broadcast on national television. How many could immediately realise the nature of mind without any prior knowledge? I assume it's about zero. And one moment of insight is a very weak basis of continued practice. That is why there are different practices and even more speeches and books.

"The cosmogonies Buddhist or otherwise are pretty much useless to Dzogchen practice."

I'm not talking about such grand vistas as infinite buddha-lands in the ten directions. What I mean is the idea of the lineage of transmission that comes from Samantabhadra, Vajrasattva, Prahevajra, etc., what ultimately makes someone a recipient of such a transmission. Dzogchen does not exist on its own as a path, it is not Namkhai Norbu's idea, but exactly because he is part of that lineage, he can be regarded as authentic. Otherwise his teachings would be labelled heretic, just like those who lack such background.

"I'm not sure if I understand what you are asking. To be a DC member all you need to do is pay your membership."

I see. I meant a Dzogchen practitioner within the community, not just a donor.

"People who uphold theories based on faith alone. People who consider, based on faith alone, a certain set of beliefs to be superior, a certain organization to be superior. That's more or less what I mean, I guess."

Then I think the Pope is not a religious person, while a large number of science fans are. My experience with actual practitioners of different faiths (i.e. not those who are only nominally members of a church, or use the name of a religion as an excuse for their own ideas) is that they have their own experiences that in their view validates their faith. Following anything based strictly on faith alone is itself a very difficult thing for any sane human being. We need reasons, which doesn't mean that our reasons are acceptable for others. As for belief in superiority, just consider all the football fans.

"Dzogchen starts with direct experience. Buddhism starts with a conscious choice. ... In the case of Dzogchen, your beliefs matter little or nothing. Until you experience the primordial state, there's no Dzogchen beyond fantasy. When you taste sweet, you don't decide to believe you know what sweet is. It's an experience. You either have it, or haven't. It's not a rational position."

Here what you mean by Dzogchen is its personal and practical aspect. You could also say the same about the Dharma, Prajnaparamita, Cittamatra or Zen. Also, all these words have a double meaning: the teaching to attain the realisation, and the realisation itself. Or it can be a triple meaning: ground, path, fruition. Dzogchen is no exception, although you may restrict your interpretation to one meaning, it doesn't negate the complete system of teachings, methods, lineage and teachers that come with it.

Before you taste sweet you need to find honey, you have to trust the person who gives you the honey that it is not poison, you have to be able to feel tastes, you have to be told that it is the taste called sweet, and in order not to leave the single experience of sweet behind you also need someone to convince you that this taste is the true, ultimate, complete taste, the very meaning of life. And this is what people has to buy. This is religion that maintains and propagates the true taste of sweet, the original home made honey.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:05 pm

username wrote:Shugden followers, fake tertons, major public samaya breakers like Roach ... Chatral Rinpoche & HHDL ... Charlie Manson.


Um

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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby catmoon » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:09 pm

No further Shugden references, please.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:21 pm

Astus wrote:"you can practice Dzogchen with very little if any theory at all"

That is quite a theory in itself, even a controversial one. Just consider the very basic requirements of practising Dzogchen. First of all, one has to acquire an interest toward it. There can be several things that entice total newcomers, from the film Seven Years in Tibet to the idea of perfect enlightenment. There are some concepts one has to accept - even if temporarily - in order to partake in a live instruction. These concepts include that I don't know already everything, that I need this teaching, the teacher is an authentic source, I submit myself to the teachings received, etc. Next one has to comprehend and accept the instructions. And this takes quite a lot of dedication, faith and understanding. Just think about the hypothetical event that one of Namkhai Norbu's annual guru yoga webcasts were broadcast on national television. How many could immediately realise the nature of mind without any prior knowledge? I assume it's about zero. And one moment of insight is a very weak basis of continued practice. That is why there are different practices and even more speeches and books.

No, really. You can practice Dzogchen with nearly zero theory. From scratch. Another point is if you need theory to convince you to take such step. But that's another thing. Some people may decide to give it a good try just because they like the lama and feel inspired by him. Then the fruit will convince them, not theory, that they ignored from the start.

"The cosmogonies Buddhist or otherwise are pretty much useless to Dzogchen practice."

I'm not talking about such grand vistas as infinite buddha-lands in the ten directions. What I mean is the idea of the lineage of transmission that comes from Samantabhadra, Vajrasattva, Prahevajra, etc., what ultimately makes someone a recipient of such a transmission. Dzogchen does not exist on its own as a path, it is not Namkhai Norbu's idea, but exactly because he is part of that lineage, he can be regarded as authentic. Otherwise his teachings would be labelled heretic, just like those who lack such background.

You can skip all that. Of course at one's own risk. You may find out the lama is a fraud if you don't discover the primordial state, or anyone else. If you do discover it, all that lineage talk becomes meaningless for you.

"I'm not sure if I understand what you are asking. To be a DC member all you need to do is pay your membership."

I see. I meant a Dzogchen practitioner within the community, not just a donor.

These come in very different shapes and colors. There's not the typical DC member, at least to my knowledge. We share a teacher, some ideas and those fortunate the realization of the true nature. The last is what really matters.

"People who uphold theories based on faith alone. People who consider, based on faith alone, a certain set of beliefs to be superior, a certain organization to be superior. That's more or less what I mean, I guess."

Then I think the Pope is not a religious person, while a large number of science fans are.

I don't know about the Pope, but there are a lot of religious people who just adhere to a different set of beliefs, i.e. materialism.

My experience with actual practitioners of different faiths (i.e. not those who are only nominally members of a church, or use the name of a religion as an excuse for their own ideas) is that they have their own experiences that in their view validates their faith. Following anything based strictly on faith alone is itself a very difficult thing for any sane human being. We need reasons, which doesn't mean that our reasons are acceptable for others. As for belief in superiority, just consider all the football fans.

There are many reasons for one to be religious, but I'm missing the point. The difference I make is between religion and Dzogchen, not religion vs spirituality. A Dzogchen simile may be a religion. Dzogchen can't. Not matter how much one tries, one can't transform the natural state.

"Dzogchen starts with direct experience. Buddhism starts with a conscious choice. ... In the case of Dzogchen, your beliefs matter little or nothing. Until you experience the primordial state, there's no Dzogchen beyond fantasy. When you taste sweet, you don't decide to believe you know what sweet is. It's an experience. You either have it, or haven't. It's not a rational position."

Here what you mean by Dzogchen is its personal and practical aspect. You could also say the same about the Dharma, Prajnaparamita, Cittamatra or Zen. Also, all these words have a double meaning: the teaching to attain the realisation, and the realisation itself. Or it can be a triple meaning: ground, path, fruition. Dzogchen is no exception, although you may restrict your interpretation to one meaning, it doesn't negate the complete system of teachings, methods, lineage and teachers that come with it.

Dzogchen and Dzogchen teachings are two different things. A lot that is written about Dzogchen is superfluous for most practitioners. If you have all the teachings but miss the teacher, they won't do an iota of good. Dzogchen is eminently practical and needs direct introduction. Many forms of Buddhadharma can be practiced without the need of a teacher. You know this.

Before you taste sweet you need to find honey, you have to trust the person who gives you the honey that it is not poison, you have to be able to feel tastes, you have to be told that it is the taste called sweet, and in order not to leave the single experience of sweet behind you also need someone to convince you that this taste is the true, ultimate, complete taste, the very meaning of life. And this is what people has to buy. This is religion that maintains and propagates the true taste of sweet, the original home made honey.
[/quote][/quote]
:lol:
The thing is that this sweet honey doesn't need a whole complex institution to be freely given to anyone who wants it. That's what makes Dzogchen unpopular among those who believe the institution is tantamount. It isn't. All you need is a good teacher and courage.
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Astus » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:12 pm

DN wrote:The thing is that this sweet honey doesn't need a whole complex institution to be freely given to anyone who wants it. That's what makes Dzogchen unpopular among those who believe the institution is tantamount. It isn't. All you need is a good teacher and courage.


The need of a good teacher is more than enough for the existence of a complete religion. Even where you don't need a teacher/priest, communities and teachers/ministers exist, and with a community comes all the rules, tradition, etc. Only little known wandering yogis teach without an organisation around them, but they are not very accessible. And there are some travelling teachers too. But once you need a teacher the rest comes with that. It's dependent origination. Siddhartha just walked around in India and eventually he had a large community on his hands. It is inevitable. What seems to be a misunderstanding here is the idea that religion means something like a cult where every member is bound by vows and mesmerised into unquestioning zombies. That is hardly the case anywhere.

The guru is the businessman selling the product of enlightenment. The bigger the interest the larger the company becomes to spread the product. The businessman becomes the CEO and the consumer has to go to the retail store to buy the product from the official partner.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Malcolm » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:17 pm

Astus wrote:What seems to be a misunderstanding here is the idea that religion means something like a cult where every member is bound by vows and mesmerised into unquestioning zombies.


No, what is being pointed out here is that religions cause people like username, often otherwise decent people including Buddhists, to go to war over metaphysical intangibles, so called matters of "faith".
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http://atikosha.org
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:20 pm

Hey Malcolm,
I'm religious but I hope you don't see me as a fundamentalist fanatic. (I try to be nice)
But in some ways the behaviors that you mention are definitely apparent in dharma circles.

Anyways, this thread is definitely not about TR's book anymore. :juggling:
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:30 pm

The need of a good teacher is more than enough for the existence of a complete religion.

I disagree. A good teacher is someone who can give you direct introduction. ChNN root teacher wasn't even literate and never had any formal education. Sometimes the religion where one finds good teachers may also be a source of confusion.

Even where you don't need a teacher/priest, communities and teachers/ministers exist, and with a community comes all the rules, tradition, etc. Only little known wandering yogis teach without an organisation around them, but they are not very accessible. And there are some travelling teachers too. But once you need a teacher the rest comes with that. It's dependent origination. Siddhartha just walked around in India and eventually he had a large community on his hands. It is inevitable. What seems to be a misunderstanding here is the idea that religion means something like a cult where every member is bound by vows and mesmerised into unquestioning zombies. That is hardly the case anywhere.

I never made such point. My point is that Dzogchen is not a religion and it doesn't need, or should be, one to help people.

The guru is the businessman selling the product of enlightenment. The bigger the interest the larger the company becomes to spread the product. The businessman becomes the CEO and the consumer has to go to the retail store to buy the product from the official partner.

Coca Cola started as quite a good tonic, sold in pharmacies, that really worked. Now it's a piece of crap filled with sugar that does little more than sweetening your mouth and give you a little dose of caffeine. One can only hope that never happens to the Buddhadharma. But then again, the demand is decreasing at this day and age. Perhaps some teachers are going beyond the product that resulted of high demand again to the original stuff.
Red Bull did it when they made a beverage called "Real Cola". Damn, that sh1t works like a charm. It has Coca leaf extract and Cola nut extract in it, as Coca Cola used to have. One sip and that's what I call an energy drink. It's rather hard to find though. Only was able to buy it in Spain, two years ago. :smile:
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby conebeckham » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:40 pm

It strikes me that one aspect of Usernames's position contains a grain of sense....that is, if "Buddhism" (for example) is the "carrier" of Dharma ( and I would argue that it is), then for beginners, those new to "Buddhism" and to this forum in general, it may be possible to misinterpret ANY critique of "Buddhism" as a complete dismissal. For those who do not know Dharma, this could be a distinct lack of skillful means.

Personally, I don't see that happening here, though. Or, rather, I see a variety of representations of "Dharma," as well as a variety of representations of "Buddhism."

I think that those who I trust to be "holders of Dharma" have no compunction in differentiating between that which is ADharma and that which is Dharma. It is the method by which such differentiations are communicated that must be examined here. And above all, I do think it appropriate to recall that Skillful Means is Dharma, and that expediency has it's place--but that we should never lose sight of the Absolute, which, to boil it down so as not to offend those with various "views," could be construed as the "Ability to Be Enlightened"--and that that "ability," or state, is indeed beyond all such expediency.
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Astus » Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:07 pm

Malcolm wrote:No, what is being pointed out here is that religions cause people like username, often otherwise decent people including Buddhists, to go to war over metaphysical intangibles, so called matters of "faith".


Your approach to this matter reminds me of Nietzsche.

"Religious wars. - The greatest progress of the masses up till now has been the religious war, for it proves that the mass has begun to treat concepts with respect. Religious wars start only when the finer quarrels among sects have refined common reason so that even the mob becomes subtle and takes trifles seriously, and actually considers it possible that the 'eternal salvation of the soul' might hinge on slight differences between concepts.".
(The Gay Science, §144, p. 128, tr. Josefine Nauckhoff)

But I don't think the fault is with religions per se. People can start a fight over any ideology they identify with, including football teams and cartoon heroes. As long as teaching requires words and concepts, there is a good chance people consider them their personal possessions. They can do the same with teachers, like the usual debates about whose teacher is the real thing. What is to be changed is this tendency in humans. And unlike many other things in this world, the majority of religions try to educate men to become something better. In order to do that it has to become personal. When something is personal it is more sensitive, it becomes family. That's how all the mentioned evils of religion can occur. If it were something more abstract, like philosophy, it would also lose its power to educate those with less taste for spiritual progress.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Astus » Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:21 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:I never made such point. My point is that Dzogchen is not a religion and it doesn't need, or should be, one to help people.


Still, it is through the organisation of a community that people can encounter and connect to Dzogchen most of the time. People working together having a shared view and purpose. In case of a spiritual view and goal that co-operation is called religion. Dzogchen, or actually any doctrine, has no need for a community. But if you consider the benefit an organisation can give to people, it can be even called a good thing. And I'm not denying that, just as all human endeavours, it has its dark side.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:18 pm

Astus wrote:
Still, it is through the organisation of a community that people can encounter and connect to Dzogchen most of the time.

I believe that to be the case, yes. But organizations can also hide Dzogchen for a long time if it suits them. There were attempts to eradicate Dzogchen entirely as you know, under the guise of being a pure Buddhist. It works both ways, I guess, but you make a good point, one that I don't disagree with.

People working together having a shared view and purpose. In case of a spiritual view and goal that co-operation is called religion. Dzogchen, or actually any doctrine, has no need for a community. But if you consider the benefit an organisation can give to people, it can be even called a good thing. And I'm not denying that, just as all human endeavours, it has its dark side.

No quarrels there. I'm just not sure if religion is precise enough to define what happens in a Gar (community of Dzogchen practitioners), but I don't get particularly bothered with words. If you think it applies, as I'm sure many would, I don't have problems with that, although not thoroughly convinced. A Mormon community is a lot different and can also be called religious. So I'm not sure if this definition is of much help. But it doesn't bother me the least.
The biggest problem doesn't lie in religions per se, but in our obscurations, obviously. But the situation gets darkened when religions, that are supposed to help us emerge from ignorance, foster our most negative traits instead. It's a bit like reaching to one's mother who turns out to be an infanticide. Dharma not practiced according to Dharma can be the cause for hellish existences. Vajrayana is especially subjected to this and practitioners know it. I guess what Malcom is conveying is the empty shell or the polluted vessel for the pure Dharma that religions may become. If we get mesmerized by the vessel, losing sight of the importance of the water, not mattering how good it may look we will die of thirst in the end.
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Astus » Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:30 pm

Religions, like languages and arts, are different, but there are some common features that define them. Of course, I can use a holy book, like the Lotus Sutra, to many things. I can swat flies, I can beat someone's head, I can burn it and make a video of it, I can also read, recite, memorise and propagate it. But it's up to me to decide, not the book.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:31 pm

Unless the book tells you to kill the infidels :lol:
You may chose to disregard it, though.
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Astus » Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:02 am

Here's a nice article by Ken McLeod: What Are You Looking For In A Teacher?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Dechen Norbu » Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:04 am

Yes it is. Thanks Astus :namaste:
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