Does daimoku purify our karma?

Does daimoku purify our karma?

Postby zsc » Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:45 am

This is what I've been wondering because I'm been trying to stay positive during some rough circumstances that I believe are some ripening of bad karmic fruit. I still chant in earnest, but is daimoku meant to help our circumstances?

Thanks.
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Re: Does daimoku purify our karma?

Postby Son of Buddha » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:23 am

zsc wrote:This is what I've been wondering because I'm been trying to stay positive during some rough circumstances that I believe are some ripening of bad karmic fruit. I still chant in earnest, but is daimoku meant to help our circumstances?

Thanks.


Are you just chanting words to chant?

What is your intention in your mind while you are chanting?

Before you start chanting think of the most happiest times in your life feel the happiness,then from your heart chant.hold on to that.be focused and dont be distracted by worrisome protruding thoughts.


After you have done your chanting,and those worries come over you again and you start to feel sorrow.stop and think about the suffering of others,think about the children who have had their parents killed,think about children in africa who starve,look at the suffering of others.....

Then tell yourself" it could always be worse"
Remember that slogan everytime things dont go as expected.

Peace and lovE
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Re: Does daimoku purify our karma?

Postby Queequeg » Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:31 pm

zsc wrote:This is what I've been wondering because I'm been trying to stay positive during some rough circumstances that I believe are some ripening of bad karmic fruit. I still chant in earnest, but is daimoku meant to help our circumstances?

Thanks.


According to Nichiren, there are two ways to look at your karma.

There is no avoiding karmic retribution. All karma bears fruit - whether good, bad or neutral. I guess there are ways to delay or avoid karmic retribution temporarily, but it is impossible to permanently avoid.

Daimoku does not "purify" karma per se. Daimoku is karmic endeavor that can overwhelm bad karma - like ripples in the water become negligible disturbances in the wake of a steaming ocean liner.

According to Nichiren, the proper practice of Daimoku should draw all bad karma immediately to fruition - so that you can deal with it once and for all in this life and be done with it. He compared it to a sharecropper who's debts are deferred from year to year, but the moment the sharecropper seeks to leave, the debt collectors all immediately come to demand payment. All the latent or subtly manifesting karma immediately is called forward and worked through.

Alternatively, from the perspective of the Essential Teaching, the hardships one faces when properly practicing Daimoku is not karmic retribution, but the arising Three Obstacles and Four Devils - the inertia and opposition that arise to hinder our practice. Overcoming these hindrances is then an opportunity to demonstrate the efficacy of practice, while also being a personal realization of the fruits of practice.

As Nichiren counseled Shijo Kingo when he was suffering through persecution by his lord and fellow samurai who wanted to kill him -

Drink sake only at home with your wife, and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life, and continue chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, no matter what happens. How could this be anything other than the boundless joy of the Law? Strengthen your power of faith more than ever.
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Re: Does daimoku purify our karma?

Postby zsc » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:58 pm

Son of Buddha wrote:
zsc wrote:This is what I've been wondering because I'm been trying to stay positive during some rough circumstances that I believe are some ripening of bad karmic fruit. I still chant in earnest, but is daimoku meant to help our circumstances?

Thanks.


Are you just chanting words to chant?

What is your intention in your mind while you are chanting?


I try to focus on my goals, which are ways out of my circumstances, as well as the circumstances of others. I also pray to the Eternal Buddha and Kannon. Is this right?
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Re: Does daimoku purify our karma?

Postby zsc » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:59 pm

Queequeg wrote:
zsc wrote:This is what I've been wondering because I'm been trying to stay positive during some rough circumstances that I believe are some ripening of bad karmic fruit. I still chant in earnest, but is daimoku meant to help our circumstances?

Thanks.


According to Nichiren, there are two ways to look at your karma.

There is no avoiding karmic retribution. All karma bears fruit - whether good, bad or neutral. I guess there are ways to delay or avoid karmic retribution temporarily, but it is impossible to permanently avoid.

Daimoku does not "purify" karma per se. Daimoku is karmic endeavor that can overwhelm bad karma - like ripples in the water become negligible disturbances in the wake of a steaming ocean liner.

According to Nichiren, the proper practice of Daimoku should draw all bad karma immediately to fruition - so that you can deal with it once and for all in this life and be done with it. He compared it to a sharecropper who's debts are deferred from year to year, but the moment the sharecropper seeks to leave, the debt collectors all immediately come to demand payment. All the latent or subtly manifesting karma immediately is called forward and worked through.

Alternatively, from the perspective of the Essential Teaching, the hardships one faces when properly practicing Daimoku is not karmic retribution, but the arising Three Obstacles and Four Devils - the inertia and opposition that arise to hinder our practice. Overcoming these hindrances is then an opportunity to demonstrate the efficacy of practice, while also being a personal realization of the fruits of practice.

As Nichiren counseled Shijo Kingo when he was suffering through persecution by his lord and fellow samurai who wanted to kill him -

Drink sake only at home with your wife, and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life, and continue chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, no matter what happens. How could this be anything other than the boundless joy of the Law? Strengthen your power of faith more than ever.


Thank you for this great explanation!
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Re: Does daimoku purify our karma?

Postby Queequeg » Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:53 pm

Queequeg wrote:According to Nichiren, there are two ways to look at your karma.

There is no avoiding karmic retribution. All karma bears fruit - whether good, bad or neutral. I guess there are ways to delay or avoid karmic retribution temporarily, but it is impossible to permanently avoid.

Daimoku does not "purify" karma per se. Daimoku is karmic endeavor that can overwhelm bad karma - like ripples in the water become negligible disturbances in the wake of a steaming ocean liner.

According to Nichiren, the proper practice of Daimoku should draw all bad karma immediately to fruition - so that you can deal with it once and for all in this life and be done with it. He compared it to a sharecropper who's debts are deferred from year to year, but the moment the sharecropper seeks to leave, the debt collectors all immediately come to demand payment. All the latent or subtly manifesting karma immediately is called forward and worked through.

Alternatively, from the perspective of the Essential Teaching, the hardships one faces when properly practicing Daimoku is not karmic retribution, but the arising Three Obstacles and Four Devils - the inertia and opposition that arise to hinder our practice. Overcoming these hindrances is then an opportunity to demonstrate the efficacy of practice, while also being a personal realization of the fruits of practice.

As Nichiren counseled Shijo Kingo when he was suffering through persecution by his lord and fellow samurai who wanted to kill him -

Drink sake only at home with your wife, and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life, and continue chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, no matter what happens. How could this be anything other than the boundless joy of the Law? Strengthen your power of faith more than ever.


I've been thinking about these two ways to view karma and it occurred to me it was useful as a lens to consider differences between the Gradual Path and the Sudden Path, the First Three Teachings and the Perfect Teaching.

First the terminology - Gradual and Sudden people with a zen background may be familiar with, although what we mean here may be different.

The Gradual Path is one which we progress to Arhatship or Buddhahood, as the case may be, gradually over the course of kalpas. If we enter the path of the Arhat, we follow the teaching of the Four Noble Truths and Eight Fold Path until we exhaust our karma until we attain Nirvana and finally the Parinirvana. In the various Mahayana Bodhisattva paths, we may similarly pursue Buddhahood/Arhatship, or we may pursue some greater vision of Buddhahood through practice of the 6 perfections (paramitas). The point is that all these paths are gradual involving a linear progression toward the goal.

In the Sudden Path, the moment one opens themselves to Buddhahood (adhimukti), they are instantaneously transformed and enter the Buddha path. Practice is no longer a progression toward Buddhahood, but an instantaneous transformation into Buddhahood. If you want to be a Buddha, be a Buddha. As the Lotus Sutra counsels, enter the Buddha's room, put on the Buddha's robes and take the Buddha's seat of practice. This is a radical vision which at times has been interpreted into a complacent attitude wherein people believe that anything they do is Buddhahood. This is true to an extent, but it avoids the implications in this interpretation of Buddhahood in which all of the dharma realms, from Avici Hell to the highest grades of Bodhisattvahood are contained in the Mind of the Buddha. I will come back to this.

In terms of the Four Teachings, this is a Tientai means of systematizing the Buddhist canon. The subject is too big to discuss in detail here. In brief, Zhiyi, the founder of Tientai Buddhism, categorized the Buddha's teachings into 4 categories - Tripitaka, Provisional Mahayana, Distinct and Perfect. These categories generally follow the Buddhist tetralemma as applied to the view of dharmas. (there are peculiarities to Zhiyi's ideas which may not correspond to understandings in other forms of Buddhism; that is neither here nor there. To appreciate Zhiyi's broader message and implicit critique of Buddhism, it is necessary to understand Zhiyi on his own terms.)

Dharmas are True (this is Zhiyi's description of Tripitaka teachings which yield an understanding of Anatman based on deconstruction of compounded dharmas into prime dharmas)
Dharmas are not True (Provisional Mahayana - this is a view of reality as primarily marked by Emptiness and corresponds to many interpretations of Madhyamika which privilege Emptiness over the conditioned)

These two views arrive at essentially the same understanding of reality and their ideas of Arhatship/Buddhahood are nearly identical.

Dharmas are both True and Not True (Distinct Teaching - I'm not clear on this, but the Distinct approach may include two different views - in one, Emptiness and Conditioned are like two sides of a coin - they are two exclusive views of the same dharma, like the heads and tails of a coin - only one is visible at a time. An alternative is that both Emptiness and Conditioned are part of an encompassing "tertiary quid". Emptiness and Conditioned are distinct aspects of a third level of Truth - possibly the Emptiness of Emptiness, but I'm not clear on this.)
Dharmas are neither True nor Not True (Perfect Teaching - Emptiness and Conditioned are completely identified such that looking at emptiness reveals the conditioned and looking at the conditiond reveals emptiness; one cannot look at one without out simultaneously seeing the other in the same view. Most of Tientai Buddhism is an exposition of the implications of this view and the means to achieve entry into it. I'll leave it at that.)

Karma in these four teachings takes on different connotations which essentially add up to gradual paths in the first three teachings, and Sudden path in the Perfect teaching, although some Distinct teachings can be sudden also.

All this is to say, nothing changes between the Gradual and Sudden Paths, or the Three Teachings and the Perfect Teaching. The difference is the manner in which we frame karma. In the Gradual paths, karma is a linear progression with a beginning and end. In the Sudden path, karma is instantaneous (instant karma gonna get you); cause and effect are simultaneous, which is to say, the appearance of linearity is an illusion. There is no past, no future, only the present. If that is so, how can we talk about a linear progression in Karma?

When we enter into an instantaneous sense of time, there is only THIS, in which cause and effect are both Now. How can we talk about a future Buddhahood? If there is Buddhahood, it has to be now. What we do is re-envision this moment AS a permutation of Buddhahood.

For a person entering the Buddhapath for the first time, the full implications of this doctrine are probably lost. In a way, this teaching is a cure for people who envision Buddhahood as something OTHER and SEPARATE from NOW, whether its envisioning Buddhahood in a future date in this life, or a future lifetime. Instead, we see this moment not as progression to an attainment, but rather perpetual perfection of what has already been attained.

Anyway, the point is, whether you see life as overcoming "bad" karma, or you see life as the eternal "play" of Buddhahood, its really a matter of what your frame of reference is.
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Re: Does daimoku purify our karma?

Postby dude » Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:44 pm

zsc wrote:This is what I've been wondering because I'm been trying to stay positive during some rough circumstances that I believe are some ripening of bad karmic fruit. I still chant in earnest, but is daimoku meant to help our circumstances?

Thanks.


Of course. All Buddhas appear in this world to "help our circumstances."
All Buddhist practice is for the purpose of helping our circumstances, to end suffering for self and others by attaining enlightenment and teaching others how to do it too.
If you're facing rough circumstances, you're suffering. The greater the suffering, the more intensely it motivates our practice to attain enlightenment. That's why Nichiren stated that "earthly desires are in themselves enlightenment."
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Re: Does daimoku purify our karma?

Postby illarraza » Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:56 am

zsc wrote:This is what I've been wondering because I'm been trying to stay positive during some rough circumstances that I believe are some ripening of bad karmic fruit. I still chant in earnest, but is daimoku meant to help our circumstances?

Thanks.


A few comments. Please read the writings, Lessening Karmic Retribution and Letter to the Brothers. Please compare your circumstances to those overcame by Nichiren Daishonin. Nichiren Daishonin taught in Letter to the Brothers, "The Nirvana Sutra states, “By suffering an untimely death, rebuke, curses or humiliation, beatings with a whip or rod, imprisonment, starvation, adversity, or other minor hardships in this lifetime, one can avoid falling into hell." Of course, his level of faith and understanding may be somewhat incomprehensible to us but this is how he felt and what he taught to his disciples undergoing hardships.

Sometimes, however, we have to reflect on ourselves, our faith, practice, and study in order to see if our travails are caused by something that we are doing. For example, despite the practices of some traditions, Nichiren never taught to pray to Kanzeon. In fact, in his major writings, he taught his disciples and believers to put their faith in the Daimoku, the Gohonzon, the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha of the Juryo Chapter of the Lotus Sutra, and he himself as the Supreme Votary of the Lotus Sutra. A more thorough refutation of the practice of praying to Kanzon is beyond the scope of this letter but suffice it to say that she/he is a provisional Bodhisattva and you yourself are a Bodhisattva of the Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra, a Bodhisattva of the Earth. If anything, Bodhisattva Kanzeon prays to you. Feel confident that you will easily lessen your karmic retribution and, as the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren assures us, "you will experience in this present life peace and security and a fortunate birth in the next."

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Re: Does daimoku purify our karma?

Postby Jainarayan » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:21 pm

Point of personal curiosity and education:

I know that Nichiren is a school of Mahayana, and the Lotus Sutra is an important Mahayana text. Is the chanting of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo limited only to Nichiren practice, or would a practioner of any school, including Theravada or Zen use it? Do they need a gohonzon?

Thanks. :anjali:
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flawless in manner and intelligent, such one will honor gain. - Digha Nikaya III 273
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Re: Does daimoku purify our karma?

Postby Jikan » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:26 pm

There are particular instances in which Namu Myoho Renge Kyo is chanted in Tendai-shu, but it is not (at least from what I have seen and heard) presented as an independent practice. Instead, it's one piece of a series of things that are recited.

I do not know of any schools that are not directly inspired by Nichiren himself that recite daimoku.
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Re: Does daimoku purify our karma?

Postby Jainarayan » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:37 pm

Jikan wrote:There are particular instances in which Namu Myoho Renge Kyo is chanted in Tendai-shu, but it is not (at least from what I have seen and heard) presented as an independent practice. Instead, it's one piece of a series of things that are recited.

I do not know of any schools that are not directly inspired by Nichiren himself that recite daimoku.


Thanks. I forgot to mention that I know that chapters 2 & 16 are generally recited as part of Nichiren practice, so it probably all goes together as one school's practice.
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Re: Does daimoku purify our karma?

Postby dude » Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:58 am

Jainarayan wrote:Point of personal curiosity and education:

I know that Nichiren is a school of Mahayana, and the Lotus Sutra is an important Mahayana text. Is the chanting of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo limited only to Nichiren practice, or would a practioner of any school, including Theravada or Zen use it? Do they need a gohonzon?

Thanks. :anjali:


Why would they? The Theravadin schools don't accept the Mahayana sutras, and the Zen school calls ALL the sutras a "useless string of words."
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Re: Does daimoku purify our karma?

Postby Jainarayan » Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:35 pm

dude wrote:
Jainarayan wrote:Point of personal curiosity and education:

I know that Nichiren is a school of Mahayana, and the Lotus Sutra is an important Mahayana text. Is the chanting of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo limited only to Nichiren practice, or would a practioner of any school, including Theravada or Zen use it? Do they need a gohonzon?

Thanks. :anjali:


Why would they? The Theravadin schools don't accept the Mahayana sutras, and the Zen school calls ALL the sutras a "useless string of words."


I don't know why or if they would, that's why I asked; curiosity. Now I know. Thanks.
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Re: Does daimoku purify our karma?

Postby Jikan » Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:40 pm

dude wrote: the Zen school calls ALL the sutras a "useless string of words."


That's a debated point. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has chanted sutras at Zen temples. of relevance:

http://books.google.com/books?id=WsJIbu ... navlinks_s
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Re: Does daimoku purify our karma?

Postby dude » Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:12 am

Jainarayan wrote:
dude wrote:
Jainarayan wrote:Point of personal curiosity and education:

I know that Nichiren is a school of Mahayana, and the Lotus Sutra is an important Mahayana text. Is the chanting of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo limited only to Nichiren practice, or would a practioner of any school, including Theravada or Zen use it? Do they need a gohonzon?

Thanks. :anjali:


Why would they? The Theravadin schools don't accept the Mahayana sutras, and the Zen school calls ALL the sutras a "useless string of words."


I don't know why or if they would, that's why I asked; curiosity. Now I know. Thanks.


Oh ok my bad, you were curious and wondering if that particular chant would be practiced in other schools.
To explain in a litle more detail why they wouldn't : All the schools of Buddhism are based on the Buddha's teaching, but they vary on not only interpretation of the meaning of the sutras, but which are most important, which are to be kept in mind the most and which are less important; also which of the various practices described in different sutras are appropriate, and for whom (monks or householders, for example).
It's also, as pointed out above, that I was oversimplifying when I said that all branches of Zen reject the practice of reading and reciting sutras. The Theravadin schools may observe the practice of reciting the Theravadin sutras or chanting their titles ( but not the Lotus Sutra), and in fact it wouldn't surprise me if some of the "doctrinal zen" branch of Zen, which does take the sutras into account more than the patriarchal branch, in some temples may recite the Lotus Sutra in whole or in part; but it wouldn't be the primary practice, as it is in the Nichiren School, and I judge it unlikely indeed that any would chant Nam MyoHo RenGe Kyo.
No other schools take the Gohonzon as their sacred object of veneration, though there are many other mandalas in other schools, consisting of words (Chinese characters usually) or images, or both....as well as, in other schools, images or statues of the Buddha (as well as other Buddhas and bodhisattvas etc.) which are enshrined as a means of honoring the Buddha and making cause to strengthen our relationship with both the Buddha and the teaching.
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Re: Does daimoku purify our karma?

Postby Jainarayan » Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:00 pm

dude wrote:To explain in a litle more detail why they wouldn't : All the schools of Buddhism are based on the Buddha's teaching, but they vary on not only interpretation of the meaning of the sutras, but which are most important, which are to be kept in mind the most and which are less important; also which of the various practices described in different sutras are appropriate, and for whom (monks or householders, for example).
It's also, as pointed out above, that I was oversimplifying when I said that all branches of Zen reject the practice of reading and reciting sutras. The Theravadin schools may observe the practice of reciting the Theravadin sutras or chanting their titles ( but not the Lotus Sutra), and in fact it wouldn't surprise me if some of the "doctrinal zen" branch of Zen, which does take the sutras into account more than the patriarchal branch, in some temples may recite the Lotus Sutra in whole or in part; but it wouldn't be the primary practice, as it is in the Nichiren School, and I judge it unlikely indeed that any would chant Nam MyoHo RenGe Kyo.
No other schools take the Gohonzon as their sacred object of veneration, though there are many other mandalas in other schools, consisting of words (Chinese characters usually) or images, or both....as well as, in other schools, images or statues of the Buddha (as well as other Buddhas and bodhisattvas etc.) which are enshrined as a means of honoring the Buddha and making cause to strengthen our relationship with both the Buddha and the teaching.


Ok, I get it now. Thanks. :applause:
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Re: Does daimoku purify our karma?

Postby Ledoctore » Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:43 am

Interesting question.

First off, I'm new to this site having just joined about 1/2 hour ago. This thread isn't "fresh" but I saw it and thought I'd toss in my 2 cents. In my experience I've noted that there are a lot of misconceptions. I'm just going to jump right out on a limb here and say that you can't "purify" karma per se'. As some others have mentioned, it's always good to study what Nichiren had to say no matter WHAT the question is. Then bear in mind that what you think he meant is going to change over time. This is only natural. There is for example a huge difference in Nichirens writing before and after Sado. If his perspective was changing (and a careful study of his writings bears out that it did) then of course our perspectives will change over time as well.

There is of course the concept known as "tenju Kyoju" or lessening ones karmic retribution. I think a reasonable way to look at that is like this....it's like you do something that causes you to get sent to jail; the sentence is 60 days however your retribution is lessened and you are let out in 30 days. No matter what, a cause will ALWAYS have an effect.

Every time you chant the daimoku, regardless of if it's in front of a Gohonzon or walking down the street you are, with that daimoku making a cause. In this case you are making a cause to raise your life condition; a cause to bring out the condition of Buddahood which is inside of you but dormant. Now the more you chant, the more the effect of the life condition of Buddhahood is going to come out.
Oftentimes when we are going through a rough spot we feel lost...the problem is just HUGE. When it's like that we get all spun out like a dog chasing it's tail and we have no idea what to do or which way to turn. This is because the lower life condition has us where the hair is short. It's like walking in a dense forest. With a higher life condition however it's like climbing the highest tree in that forest. Suddenly it's perfectly clear where we are and which way we need to go. What's important; the ONLY thing that's important is that we continue to chant.

Somebody else mentioned that great Gosho written to Shijo Kingo when the Daishonin said "regard both suffering and joy as facts of life". I'd add this to that. Remember the kids song that goes "this is the song that never ends." That's how life is.

No matter who you are you are going to have good days and bad days. You get some really GREAT days and a lot of just average days. The more you chant the more you are going to accumulate fortune, in other words the more you make the cause for Buddhahood to emerge the more it (the Buddha life condition) is going to emerge. As that happens. as you and your practice mature you will have fewer days where you make knee jerk reactions. You will also go past mere "faith"; you will arrive at a point where you KNOW.

Oh, by the way, the reason Nichiren told Kingo to stay at home when he was drinking sake was simple. Shijo would go out and pound down some cups and start feeling bulletproof. It wasn't a huge secret and it wasn't a safe thing to be doing when he had people who wanted to kick his arse. Nichiren was just giving him common sense advice on how to stay out of bar room brawls.

I hope this made sense :-)

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