Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communities

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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:49 am

greentara wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:"Perhaps what shel suggests is that devotion is inherently mindless,
or that it strips away critical thinking automatically.
I prefer to think of devotion to a teacher
the way opponents regard each other in a chess game"

What if you meet a teacher that's effulgent? Few of us have been that lucky.
We can all get trapped with the intellectual chatter going on in our head; a chess game is based on strategy.....so are you trying to outsmart the teacher? If you're more articulate and studied more sutras maybe you can, but thats got nothing to do with awakening.


And then what I said was,
I don't mean that one is trying to compete,
but that one has the highest respect for,
and only wants that interaction
from which (one) is challenged, and becomes better.
One's wits are not dulled. One doesn't become a robot,
but thinking becomes sharper. And then. beyond that.
Chess opponents are often the best of friends.

No, my point is that you bring total honesty to the teacher.
It wasn't really about intellectualism.
My point is that if you are totally honest with yourself,
you will bring that honesty to your teacher as well
and a fake teacher won't be able to hurt you through that
(the topic being abuse etc.)
If you just nod and say "oh yes -- everything you say must be true
because you are effulgent(I had to look that word up)
because of your radiant glow..."
If that is enough, that's fine. Some people can get by on that. And I'm glad for them. But I can't.
If a person has doubts and yet they convince themselves that they don't have doubts,
and just get off on the vibe,
not only is that presenting Bullsh*t to the teacher,
but that is what invites a fake teacher to take advantage of a person,
and a genuine teacher will see right through it.

I think I know what you mean, though.
having an intellectual debate has nothing to do with awakening.
There are teachers who actually make the whole area around them glow.
it's like they open a magic window, the light comes in,
and say "here's what it's really all about"
and if a person has never seen that, hopefully some day they will.
.
.
.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shel » Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:46 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
shel wrote:By perpetuating the myth of the Zen "master," or any kind of "spiritual authority," or "transmission," etc etc. These are myths that have lived far beyond their stale date and have grown toxic.
If somebody has been engaged in serious spiritual practice all their life would that not put them in the position of being an authority on the subject?

Not necessarily, no. At best it would make them an authority of whatever their particular spiritual practice was, and perhaps not "spiritual practice" in general.

If through their practice their have control over aspects of, or ability in, practices contained in the path does that not entail mastery?

As you say, it entails some measure of ability. As for "mastery," what the hell does mastery of something like Zen mean anyway? No one seems to know exactly. Actually, what 'Zen mastery' means may not be all that unclear, it's just that no one has ever seen a Zen master. :tongue:

If they can pass on their knowedge, wisdom and capacity is this not transmission?

:tongue: Of course, if that's all that transmission meant. But that's not all that transmission means, which is the point.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:55 am

It seems to me that you are "arguing" merely for the sake of arguing, so I am going to end our discussion here.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Sara H » Tue Mar 26, 2013 8:06 am

Yudron wrote:The point is that some women do not know that Asian values around sexuality and clergy are not the same as western views.


I think this is an EXTREMELY well made point.

And I would expand upon that by saying it's not just women, westerners in general are largely ignorant of the cultural differences at play here.

-Sara
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Sara H » Tue Mar 26, 2013 8:21 am

Yudron wrote:While you cannot generalize about a group, in general women need to know about Tibetan lamas:
1) Not all men in red robes are monks.
2) Many Tibetan clergy seem to be attracted to young thin, especially blond, white women.
3) The role of wife to a Tibetan lama is a life of service, often being alone while he travels, doing house chores, arranging his schedule, looking after his health, and managing the money.
4) It is often socially acceptable for lamas to have young lovers in addition to his wife, and the wife is expected to be okay with that.
5) The relationships with the young lovers are usually short term and not serious to the lama, and are expected to be temporary fun.
6) Therefore, if you get attention like this, know that you are not special, and it will probably be short-lived.
7) It is never appropriate to flirt with or initiate a sexual relationship with a monk.
8) There are unscrupulous clergy who use pick up lines implying a mystical reason why the woman should have sex with them, such as an auspicious dream, and so forth.
[9]) In Tibetan culture a woman is supposed to always say no when approached for sex, and she is supposed to look shy, even when she wants to say yes. Therefore no quite often really does mean yes. So, if you want to say no, you will need to make clear that no really does mean no.

This kind of thing.


This should be made into a little flash card.

I also think this can be of benefit to people of all genders and the Tibetans as well, for cross-cultural understanding, not just women.

That last point, about women supposed to look shy, even when she wants to say yes, applies to the Japanese as well. A lot of this list applies to the Japanese.
There are some cross-cultural differences that definitely apply here.
People need to be more understanding of different cultures, and more mindful and compassionate of the differences, and of the fact that what may be acceptable and standard practice in one culture, may be insulting in another.

I knew a Dutch female Zen monk who pointed out to me that Americans in particular are very prudish, at least in her opinion.
Some, (not all) of the tensions regarding abuse, may be exasperated by cultural differences regarding sexuality.
One culture's "non-threatening acceptable norm" may be another's "sexual harassment".

This is a very valuable list.

-Sara
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shel » Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:05 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:It seems to me that you are "arguing" merely for the sake of arguing, so I am going to end our discussion here.


Addressing my character rather than my point doesn't invalidate my point. I will reiterate...

You couldn't call a Zen master a "spiritual authority" of Islam, for example, could you? What do you think a spiritual authority means?

No one calls themselves a "Zen master." It's a title conferred as an honorific, not because it's true.

Transmission is a ritual. We know from experience that wisdom, for instance, is not necessarily transmitted.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shel » Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:09 pm

Sara H wrote:One culture's "non-threatening acceptable norm" may be another's "sexual harassment".


So how do we teach this to Japanese or foreign masters in America?
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Sara H » Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:41 am

shel wrote:
Sara H wrote:One culture's "non-threatening acceptable norm" may be another's "sexual harassment".


So how do we teach this to Japanese or foreign masters in America?


Well there's always going to be a certain amount of cross-cultural misunderstanding.

That's just part of the learning curve of coming to another culture.

But, cultural education classes, that handy list of nine things modified to be the Japanese equivalent, things like that can help.

I mean when you take a foreign language class, they teach you how to buy your meal, say please and thank you, how to order your luggage to your room, etc.

They don't exactly teach you the finer and subtler points of a culture.

If someone were to put together a nice pdf or power point presentation, that had a nice slideshow, or general overview on this subject matter it might make a lot of difference.

For instance, the HRC the Human Rights Campaign, puts out a handy guide geared towards corporations, businesses and politicians, and policy makers, that basically explains what Transgender people are, and how to make policies that accommodate them, and how to be respectful of them, in a way that's helpful for the business and all. It also answers frequently asked questions, and addresses common fears, etc.

Something of that nature might be handy in this instance for the Tibetans and Japanese, (and any other foreign Buddhist teachers) as well as for Westerners, to help understand the cultural differences.

Especially considering this keeps coming up, time and again.

Like Yudron pointed out, the behavior that some of these Tibetans do, for instance, is not rude in their culture.

It's considered normal behavior. A highly offended western woman might come as a shock and surprise to the Tibetan, because they were both inadvertently sending each other signals that were misinterpreted by the other.

If someone were to put together such a guide it might come in handy.

"Welcome to the west: A cultural guide to understanding westerners and teaching Buddhism. First Edition"

Or something like that.

-Sara
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shel » Wed Mar 27, 2013 2:17 am

For the more subtle cultural points that are easily misunderstood, I offer this slide to the PowerPoint presentation:


Don't influence your students to have sex with you,
particularly if you're married and have a family.




:tongue:
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:04 am

shel wrote:Addressing my character rather than my point doesn't invalidate my point. I will reiterate...
I adressed your point. I did not address your character, but your actions.
You couldn't call a Zen master a "spiritual authority" of Islam, for example, could you? What do you think a spiritual authority means?
You are (purposefully) confounding religious mastery/authority with spiritual mastery/authority. Spiritual qualities are common across most religions, religious knowledge (of rite, rituals theology, etc...) tends to be spcific to the religion. But I am sure you know this and are being intentionally obtuse just to argue for the sake of arguing.
No one calls themselves a "Zen master." It's a title conferred as an honorific, not because it's true.
A master of any variety (a master builder for example) is labelled thus based on their capacities, knowledge and qualities related to the field they are a a master in. These are "true" to the extent that they continue to possess and express them. But I am sure you know this and are being intentionally obtuse just to argue for the sake of arguing.
Transmission is a ritual.
It is a practice (and it is not exclusive to Zen).
We know from experience that wisdom, for instance, is not necessarily transmitted.
And neither is knowledge if the student is not willing to accept it. So what? The fact remains (from experience) that wisdom can be transmitted. But I am sure you know this and are being intentionally obtuse just to argue for the sake of arguing.

Get my drift?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shel » Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:04 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
shel wrote:Addressing my character rather than my point doesn't invalidate my point. I will reiterate...
I adressed your point. I did not address your character, but your actions.

You have the choice to address the contents of what I post, or you can call me stupid (obtuse). It's true that I'm not very intelligent, but the reason for pointing this out rather than addressing my point is apparently an attempt to invalidate whatever I say, because you have no argument. It is a common logical fallacy. By choosing to use this logical fallacy you promote it's use on the forum, I will point out.

gregkavarnos wrote:
shel wrote:You couldn't call a Zen master a "spiritual authority" of Islam, for example, could you? What do you think a spiritual authority means?

You are (purposefully) confounding religious mastery/authority with spiritual mastery/authority. Spiritual qualities are common across most religions, religious knowledge (of rite, rituals theology, etc...) tends to be spcific to the religion.

So for instance you regard a Scientologist Auditor as a spiritual authority?

If you don't understand the thrust of the question you can disregard it rather than attempting to invalidate it with logical fallacies.

gregkavarnos wrote:
shel wrote:No one calls themselves a "Zen master." It's a title conferred as an honorific, not because it's true.

A master of any variety (a master builder for example) is labelled thus based on their capacities, knowledge and qualities related to the field they are a a master in. These are "true" to the extent that they continue to possess and express them.

A master builder has no trouble calling themselves a master builder, because it's true and a demonstrable fact. So, why doesn't anyone call themselves a Zen master???

gregkavarnos wrote:
shel wrote:Transmission is a ritual.
It is a practice (and it is not exclusive to Zen).

Uh, rituals are practiced...

gregkavarnos wrote:
shel wrote:We know from experience that wisdom, for instance, is not necessarily transmitted.

And neither is knowledge if the student is not willing to accept it.

Indeed.

The fact remains (from experience) that wisdom can be transmitted.

You've experienced the transmission of wisdom?
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:14 pm

shel wrote:You have the choice to address the contents of what I post, or you can call me stupid (obtuse). It's true that I'm not very intelligent...
I'm sorry, I did not mean to call you stupid, I used the wrong adjective :emb: (now who's being obtuse). I meant to say oblique. It is quite obvious to me that you are NOT stupid.
...but the reason for pointing this out rather than addressing my point is apparently an attempt to invalidate whatever I say, because you have no argument.
No, the reason I piinted it out is because I do have an argument and you are deviously and dishonestly trying to pretend I don't.
gregkavarnos wrote:So for instance you regard a Scientologist Auditor as a spiritual authority?
I don't consider Scientology a form of spirituality (and I am sure you do not either, so you are being oblique AGAIN).
A master builder has no trouble calling themselves a master builder, because it's true and a demonstrable fact.
Same goes for a Zen Master. They can directly display the qualities and abilities they have mastered.
You've experienced the transmission of wisdom?
Yes. And you have too at many points in your life. I imagine you just have not recognised it as such. Of course, here, I am not refering exclusively to spiritual wisdom.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:17 pm

shel wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
shel wrote:I'm not talking about safety. I'm talking about taking off the training wheels, because they were never needed in the first place.
What are you talking about?

Sorry for speaking over your head again, PadmaVonSamba. This is what's call a metaphor.

Hmmm...inferring that someone is stupid...where have I seen that before?
.
.
.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:25 pm

shel wrote: You have the choice to address the contents of what I post

Yet, when people address the contents of what you post, you choose not to respond to that.
is that really fair?

You present opinions, but when someone asks you to explain why you think those opinions are valid,
you just offer more opinions.

Opinions are GREAT. But some of us might not understand
how a great thinker such as you has arrived at those opinions,
so we offer contrary views according to our own understanding and experiences,
and most folks, I think, try to offer some rational basis for their views
and so, it would be nice if you did that too.
:thanks:

Regarding Zen masters,
No authentic Buddhist teacher would ever refer to themselves as a master,
for a variety of reasons, mostly out of modesty,
(and not false modesty).
In other occupations, such as for a master carpenter,
this is not the case, nor does it need to be.
The skilled artist or tradesperson can boast all over the place.
And the reason for the difference is that the master builder or carpenter
is marketing himself (or herself) for the purpose of making money.
If you see a Buddhist teacher calling himself a master,
he's probably in it for the money as well.
If that difference seems arbitrary to you,
then let's explore that.

You asked,
"So, why doesn't anyone call themselves a Zen master???"
and an attempt was made to answer that.
I chose to "address the contents" of your post.
Please do the same.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:51 pm

This link was working, then it wasn't. but it seems to pertain to the topic
sexual-misconduct-by-zen-teachers-a-response-from-san-francisco-zen-center
http://blogs.sfzc.org/blog/2013/03/20/s ... en-center/
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Mar 27, 2013 8:14 pm

There is a saying,
"a beard is just a beard,
unless it's on the chin of a communist,
and then it suddenly becomes one of those damned communist beards."
This means that a thing is just a thing,
until we can tag it onto something else,
usually something we have a problem with,
and then it becomes a specific characteristic of whatever we tag it to.
That is faulty reasoning.

My point is that sexual abuse is a big problem
and occurs more often in marital situations than in Sanghas.
But when it happens in a sangha, some people are quick to say
It's a problem with Buddhism.
They say it is an inherent part of the master-pupil structure.
But the same people don't say
domestic abuse, or date-rape
is an inherent part of the heterosexual relationship, of that structure.
There, it is just an abnormality
but otherwise, dating and marriage is okay.

So, That is why I think shel's argument is based on faulty reasoning.

(On Greg K., a beard is one of those buddhist beards)
:rolling:
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shel » Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:22 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:I do have an argument and you are deviously and dishonestly trying to pretend I don't.

Not stupid but devious and dishonest. Oh, that's much better. Now that it's established that I'm devious and dishonest nothing I say is valid. Well done, Gregkavarnos. You really know how to win an argument! :smile:

gregkavarnos wrote:
shel wrote:So for instance you regard a Scientologist Auditor as a spiritual authority?

I don't consider Scientology a form of spirituality (and I am sure you do not either, so you are being oblique AGAIN).

What I think or believe is irrelevant, because I'm devious and dishonest. Nothing I say is valid because of my dishonest character.

They [Zen masters] can directly display the qualities and abilities they have mastered.

What exactly are those qualities and abilities?

That's probably a very difficult question to answer so why don't we just chalk it up to my being oblique again and ignore it.

gregkavarnos wrote:
shel wrote:You've experienced the transmission of wisdom?

Yes. And you have too at many points in your life. I imagine you just have not recognised it as such. Of course, here, I am not refering exclusively to spiritual wisdom.

I suppose it would be obtuse of me to ask for an example of this transmission. :tongue:
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:43 pm

What exactly are those qualities and abilities?
You are a zen practitioner right? So know the answer to this. So why are you asking? Oblique again?
I suppose it would be obtuse of me to ask for an example of this transmission.
The wisdom and knowledge of local plant lore.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shel » Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:45 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
shel wrote: You have the choice to address the contents of what I post

Yet, when people address the contents of what you post, you choose not to respond to that.
is that really fair?

You present opinions, but when someone asks you to explain why you think those opinions are valid,
you just offer more opinions.

I really didn't realize that I've been doing this. Would you mind showing me an example?

Regarding Zen masters,
No authentic Buddhist teacher would ever refer to themselves as a master,
for a variety of reasons, mostly out of modesty,
(and not false modesty).
In other occupations, such as for a master carpenter,
this is not the case, nor does it need to be.
The skilled artist or tradesperson can boast all over the place.
And the reason for the difference is that the master builder or carpenter
is marketing himself (or herself) for the purpose of making money.
If you see a Buddhist teacher calling himself a master,
he's probably in it for the money as well.
If that difference seems arbitrary to you,
then let's explore that.


:tongue: Am I the only one who sees the irony of the 'modest Zen master'? Modesty is practiced to avoid getting too high an estimation of oneself. In other words, there's a real and ever present danger of becoming egotistical. So, apparently, whatever Zen mastery means it doesn't seem to include mastering oneself or ones ego.

Modesty is well practiced in all activities, because as I said it avoid getting too high an estimation of oneself or ones abilities. Costly mistakes can be made by having an inaccurate assessment of ability, and in any case there is always room for improvement.

Again, the title of Zen master is given as an honorific, because no one can own it.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:46 pm

shel wrote:Again, the title of Zen master is given as an honorific, because no one can own it.
Yes, well this issue has already been dealt with.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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