I don't get Buddhism

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:38 pm

Can he?
It seems that he can:
Ricard: So far, the results of the studies conducted with trained meditators indicate that they have the faculty to generate clean, powerful, well-defined states of mind, and this faculty is associated with some specific brain patterns. Mental training enables one to generate those states at will and to modulate their intensity, even when confronted with disturbing circumstances, such as strong positive or negative emotional stimuli. Thus, one acquires the faculty to maintain an overall emotional balance that favors inner strength and peace.

-----
Or can he just remember what he experienced in his deepest meditative states and brought the insights back to his everyday state of consciousness? After all, the same could be said about a drug user. When I used to do drugs, I used to have deep spiritual experiences of all kinds, and I would be able to bring the memories/insights back with me after I sobered up, giving me a new perspective with which to see the world from that point forward regardless of my state of consciousness.
It's not just a memory, it's an altered brain developed through practice:
Singer: It would be really interesting to look with neurobiological tools at whether you have the same shift of function that you observe in other cases where familiarization through learning and training leads to the automation of processes. In brain scans, one observes that different brain structures take over when skills that are initially acquired under the control of consciousness become automatic.
Ricard: That is what a study conducted by Julie Brefczynski and Antoine Lutz at Richard Davidson’s lab seems to indicate. Brefczynski and Lutz studied the brain activity of novice, relatively experienced, and very experienced meditators when they engage in focused attention. Different patterns of activity were observed depending on the practitioners’ level of experience.

-----
I wouldn't presume to know whether Buddhists can or can't experience the world in that awakened state all the time, even if one tells me he can. This is the crux of this thread. I don't know what they mean when they say things like that.
You can't know unless you try:
Ricard: It is the same with scientific knowledge. You first have to rely on the credible testimony of a number of scientists, but later you can train in the subject and verify the findings firsthand. This is quite similar to contemplative science. You first need to refine the telescope of your mind and the methods of investigations for years to find out for yourself what other contemplatives have found and all agreed on. The state of pure consciousness without content, which might seem puzzling at first sight, is something that all contemplatives have experienced. So it is not just some sort of Buddhist dogmatic theory. Anyone who takes the trouble to stabilize and clarify his or her mind will be able to experience it.


"Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk, an author, and the French interpreter for the Dalai Lama."
"Wolf Singer is the emeritus director of the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt."

Quotes are taken from this article:
https://www.theatlantic.com/internation ... ce/548120/
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby surreptitious75 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:36 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
There are no sidelines in life. We are all in utterly committed to an approach to life. We may change that approach but we have all got one

One cannot possibly know the philosophical position of every single individual with regard to the meaning of life as internal mental states are unknowable
And for exactly the same reason one cannot just assume that everyone will have a definitive approach to the fundamental question of the meaning of life

Also how can one for example be utterly committed to detachment and slowly letting go in order to make mental space for the inevitability of ones own death
As detachment by definition is not something that one can be utterly committed to because there is no attempt at control but in actual fact the total opposite

I think that approaches to the question of the meaning of life exist on a spectrum and detachment / apathy / nihilism / misanthropy are a place on that spectrum
These positions would definitely be on the sidelines and even more so if they were not expressed as ideology but simply as a general view on the human condition

Accepting ones own mortality by understanding that one is merely passing through should not be considered remotely ideological
For it is a pragmatic position above all else since it happens to be true in an objective sense so is one that everyone can agree on
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:39 pm

surreptitious75 wrote:One cannot possibly know the philosophical position of every single individual with regard to the meaning of life as internal mental states are unknowable
And for exactly the same reason one cannot just assume that everyone will have a definitive approach to the fundamental question of the meaning of life
I mentioned, in that post, that modern people probably have a mix of ontologies and the practices i mentioned were mundane ones, which I specifically chose, in part because they indicate that while everyone is utterly dedicated to their specific or mixed lifestyle/problem solving heuristics and ontology (ies) it may not look like a discipline. This is because only some ways of making life better involve what we would call disciplines or have singular viewpoints. But even mixed approaches are utterly committed. They are working or not. You are committed to the results of your choices. They may be poor ones. You life is utterly affected by them, down to the bone.

Also how can one for example be utterly committed to detachment and slowly letting go in order to make mental space for the inevitability of ones own death
As detachment by definition is not something that one can be utterly committed to because there is no attempt at control but in actual fact the total opposite
You committ yourself to practicing those states. And there are ways to do this. I don't like that approach to life and yes, it seems paradoxical, because you must start with a goal of being goalless or a desire to not have desires or....etc. But Buddhists are very aware of this seeming paradox. That desire is seen as the least damaging, and so moving towards it prepares the ground for letting it go also. But it damn well takes committment to sit and be uncomfortable and stifle desires and be bored and resist urges and distractions.

I think that approaches to the question of the meaning of life exist on a spectrum and detachment / apathy / nihilism / misanthropy are a place on that spectrum
These positions would definitely be on the sidelines and even more so if they were not expressed as ideology but simply as a general view on the human condition
What I mean when I say on the sidelines is this: if you decide to detach, you may be on the sidelines of debates, and certain other activities and emotional expression. However you are still in the middle of life, making a choice, one that affects you to the bone and one that may be wrong. Remember this is all in the context of Gib not wanting to commit to Buddhism and the way he framed his skepticism.

I am reminding him that he is making a choice of how to live with no guarantee that it is a good one. And that was part of his criticism of Buddhism.

Accepting ones own mortality by understanding that one is merely passing through should not be considered remotely ideological
Most people do not consider their beliefs an ideology since that latter term is pejorative. They think of it as the right choices and attitudes.
For it is a pragmatic position above all else since it happens to be true in an objective sense so is one that everyone can agree on
The attitude you are presenting may or may not be a good one and it may not be right for everyone. Of course you think it is simply a fact, but attitudes are not facts.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby surreptitious75 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:05 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
The attitude you are presenting may or may not be a good one and it may not be right for everyone. Of course you think it is simply a fact but attitudes are not facts

I simply meant that the inevitability of death was a fact everyone can agree on
Whatever ones philosophical position about death is is another matter entirely
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby surreptitious75 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:39 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
I mentioned in that post that modern people probably have a mix of ontologies and the practices I mentioned were mundane ones which I specifically chose in
part because they indicate that while everyone is utterly dedicated to their specific or mixed lifestyle / problem solving heuristics and ontologies it may not look like
a discipline . This is because only some ways of making life better involve what we would call disciplines or have singular viewpoints . But even mixed approaches are utterly committed . You are committed to the results of your choices . They may be poor ones . Your life is utterly affected by them down to the bone

I dont think that everyone is committed to the results of their choices as they may not fully understand the consequences or may not accept responsibility for them
It may also be that they need time before they can truly understand them . Human beings are not machines . They are complicated and messy and they dont always know what they are doing even when they want to . And a lot of the time they are probably on auto pilot because their life is to a greater or lesser extent relatively predictable . I dont think everyone necessarily considers their philosophical position on the meaning of life . For there are by the laws of averages bound to be those who either hardly ever think about it or never at all . Introspection is after all not for everyone
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:51 pm

surreptitious75 wrote:I dont think that everyone is committed to the results of their choices as they may not fully understand the consequences or may not accept responsibility for them
the second point you make was precisely one of the things I was saying. IOW Gib looks at Buddhism and says, hey what are the guarantees Buddhism will do what it says and that it is a good thing. To me that is as if his choices either have some kind of guarantee or he is outside the universe looking in at option of ways to live. But he is already in the universe, having made choices about how to deal with pain, improve, solve problems, and these have no guarantees. He may or may not take responsibility for this, but, precisely, many don't. Further I think people think ideology is X, Y and Z and they don't have these things. Precisely because they do not follow a single organized system. But the fact is they follow a hodgepodge system, one that pulls from many authorities.

Further they are utterly committed, since whether they take responsbility or not their choices have affects on them and others around them. I am not saying they are consciously committing, make an overt or ritual commitment. But they have a defacto committment, cause man they got skin in the game.


It may also be that they need time before they can truly understand them . Human beings are not machines . They are complicated and messy and they dont always know what they are doing even when they want to .
I agree completely. If you go back to the way I approached Gib, I asked him where he was now, suggested he follow his intuition and analysis and see what that told him and reevaluate later if he felt the urge. Further I was pressing him and people in general to notice that they have skin in the game, they have already got a lot of lifestyle heuristics in place and these likely have no guarantees and they may not be aware but these may or may not be working at all.


And a lot of the time they are probably on auto pilot because their life is to a greater or lesser extent relatively predictable . I dont think everyone necessarily considers their philosophical position on the meaning of life .
I agree, but again, that fits well with what I was saying. If someone looks at a philosophical or spiritual system and says 'oh, there are no guarantees, so I won't do that' I want to point out that they are already in a philosophical system or mix of them without guarantees. Here we are in a philosophy forum, so I am pressing people to notice that there is no sideline. They are in the game. Maybe they have a system, maybe they just have a lot of half digested not really thought about trickle down half philosophies. But even in the latter case, these still counts as an approach to life. And they are using it all the time. Is it working?


For there are by the laws of averages bound to be those who either hardly ever think about it or never at all . Introspection is after all not for everyone
Sure.

My point is consciously committe or not, they are betting their lives on the choices they are making. Thinking about it or not. Evaluating it or not. Here they are, in life, that their ontology, heuristics and attitudes are affecting them profoundly, be they Buddhist, Christian, Existentialist, or just some mish mash of common sense stuff they've gotten from parents, tv, peers and advertising. They are committed in that sense, regardless.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby surreptitious75 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:24 pm

Even if everyone is committed that commitment will be on a very wide spectrum indeed . Between the most dedicated follower of a prescriptive
belief system at one end and the most detached misantrophic nihilist at the other end . And with everyone else somewhere in between these two
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:35 pm

surreptitious75 wrote:Even if everyone is committed that commitment will be on a very wide spectrum indeed . Between the most dedicated follower of a prescriptive
belief system at one end and the most detached misantrophic nihilist at the other end . And with everyone else somewhere in between these two
Certainly those people on that spectrum are committed to many different things. But they are all totally committed. It's like if you are playing poker and you put the keys to you car in the pot, the keys to your house and you put in a contract that you will give away your life if you lose the bet. That's really committing to a bet. Well, here's the thing. Our lives, relations, property, feelings, experiencing are all in the pot, whether we consciously bet them or not. That's part of what it is to be alive: we have everything bet on our choices. Now we can not notice this, not question our choices, but we are making them, have made them, and everything is on the line.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby gib » Sat Oct 12, 2019 5:46 am

phyllo wrote:
Can he?
It seems that he can:
Ricard: So far, the results of the studies conducted with trained meditators indicate that they have the faculty to generate clean, powerful, well-defined states of mind, and this faculty is associated with some specific brain patterns. Mental training enables one to generate those states at will and to modulate their intensity, even when confronted with disturbing circumstances, such as strong positive or negative emotional stimuli. Thus, one acquires the faculty to maintain an overall emotional balance that favors inner strength and peace.

-----
Or can he just remember what he experienced in his deepest meditative states and brought the insights back to his everyday state of consciousness? After all, the same could be said about a drug user. When I used to do drugs, I used to have deep spiritual experiences of all kinds, and I would be able to bring the memories/insights back with me after I sobered up, giving me a new perspective with which to see the world from that point forward regardless of my state of consciousness.
It's not just a memory, it's an altered brain developed through practice:
Singer: It would be really interesting to look with neurobiological tools at whether you have the same shift of function that you observe in other cases where familiarization through learning and training leads to the automation of processes. In brain scans, one observes that different brain structures take over when skills that are initially acquired under the control of consciousness become automatic.
Ricard: That is what a study conducted by Julie Brefczynski and Antoine Lutz at Richard Davidson’s lab seems to indicate. Brefczynski and Lutz studied the brain activity of novice, relatively experienced, and very experienced meditators when they engage in focused attention. Different patterns of activity were observed depending on the practitioners’ level of experience.

-----
I wouldn't presume to know whether Buddhists can or can't experience the world in that awakened state all the time, even if one tells me he can. This is the crux of this thread. I don't know what they mean when they say things like that.
You can't know unless you try:
Ricard: It is the same with scientific knowledge. You first have to rely on the credible testimony of a number of scientists, but later you can train in the subject and verify the findings firsthand. This is quite similar to contemplative science. You first need to refine the telescope of your mind and the methods of investigations for years to find out for yourself what other contemplatives have found and all agreed on. The state of pure consciousness without content, which might seem puzzling at first sight, is something that all contemplatives have experienced. So it is not just some sort of Buddhist dogmatic theory. Anyone who takes the trouble to stabilize and clarify his or her mind will be able to experience it.


"Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk, an author, and the French interpreter for the Dalai Lama."
"Wolf Singer is the emeritus director of the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt."

Quotes are taken from this article:
https://www.theatlantic.com/internation ... ce/548120/


Yes, I've read similar studies myself. Note that the only difference between the drug user and the meditation practitioner is that the drug user needs an external mechanism to bring him into his altered state of consciousness whereas the meditation practitioner can do it from within. But that doesn't answer my question about whether the state of consciousness the meditation practitioner experiences is any less a delusion or hallucination than the drug user.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:IOW Gib looks at Buddhism and says, hey what are the guarantees Buddhism will do what it says and that it is a good thing.


I did take that back, saying guarantee was too strong a word and faith was a bit better. I don't have enough faith in Buddhism to make a decision to try meditation seriously.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:If you go back to the way I approached Gib, I asked him where he was now, suggested he follow his intuition and analysis and see what that told him and reevaluate later if he felt the urge. Further I was pressing him and people in general to notice that they have skin in the game, they have already got a lot of lifestyle heuristics in place and these likely have no guarantees and they may not be aware but these may or may not be working at all.


But what happens when we look at our own lives and notice that we have just as little guarantee that our own methods and practices work as other methods and practices? Is the logical thing to do to switch from our own methods and practices to other methods and practices? How many different methods and practices should we try? How many can we try all at once?

Or are you saying a lack of guarantee can't be the real reason we don't abandon our own methods and practices for others, that there must be another reason since we obviously don't abandon them? What do you think that is?

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Remember this is all in the context of Gib not wanting to commit to Buddhism and the way he framed his skepticism.


It's more than not wanting to commit, it's not knowing how to relate to Buddhism, how to regard it. If I could feel certain that Buddhism is just another of the world's religions, I could easily dismiss it the way I do other religions (and continue on my life's path the way I've always been doing), but I'm intrigued by this intuitive sense I have that there's something more to it, which keeps drawing me back to it and asking questions, wanting to know.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sat Oct 12, 2019 6:30 am

gib wrote:I did take that back, saying guarantee was too strong a word and faith was a bit better. I don't have enough faith in Buddhism to make a decision to try meditation seriously.
And I would guess that decision includes what it feels like to meditate. IOW if Buddhist practice was walking three times a week for 20 minutes through some woods and you liked that and there were woods nearby, you might say, hm, I'm not convinced this will bring me to some great state, but I like this so I'll give a try for a few months or until I don't want to. But since the process is not particularly appealing AND you lack faith, you find yourself not doing it. I think this is a perfectly valid way to decide things. Are we drawn to it? if there are unpleasant or seemingly hard aspects, do we have the motivation (which will include our faith and desperation as factors.)

But what happens when we look at our own lives and notice that we have just as little guarantee that our own methods and practices work as other methods and practices? Is the logical thing to do to switch from our own methods and practices to other methods and practices?
No, I never argued that. But if the criterion we decide not to do something is: it has no guarantee, I think it is important to acknowledge that what we are doing already has no guarantee. So what is really making us not choose Buddhism. Well, probably, we don't want to sit and meditate, for example. Or perhaps the idea of no-self sounds unpleasant. I raise the issue because I think it leads to a more honest appraisal of why we choose and do not choose. And as I said above, I think those reasons are good ones. Why should I sit on a mat and meditate if I don't want to?

Or are you saying a lack of guarantee can't be the real reason we don't abandon our own methods and practices for others, that there must be another reason since we obviously don't abandon them? What do you think that is?
yes, more like that. But also I think it is a pure good to notice that we already have a system. I think that gives us a realistic focus. We can walk around making it seem like a rational decision, but I think it is an intuitive one. Reason can play some role, but when it comes down to it, likes, dislikes, impressions, feelings play a large part. I think it is good to accept, acknowledge and respect this. Maybe path Z is right for some people but not others. Maybe they lead to different ends. We are humans with feelings and desires and preferences. These leads us places. I think that's no only fine, but lovely. I am glad you don't force yourself to do something you are not convinced will help you that isn't really appealing to you (now). I mean, it is almost weird that that would be an issue. What lovely self-care. What a perfect way to determine your life path by including all of you in the decisions and evaluations.


It's more than not wanting to commit, it's not knowing how to relate to Buddhism, how to regard it. If I could feel certain that Buddhism is just another of the world's religions, I could easily dismiss it the way I do other religions (and continue on my life's path the way I've always been doing), but I'm intrigued by this intuitive sense I have that there's something more to it, which keeps drawing me back to it and asking questions, wanting to know.
[/quote][/quote]So, there's a draw and there's some not liking. I get that. It's not settled. Not enough to make you want to join. Not enough to make you say 'never'.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:28 pm

The Monk and the Philosopher by Jean-François Revel & Matthieu Ricard
Lachlan Dale explores some of the philosophical implications of Tibetan Buddhism. From Philosophy Now magazine

Karma versus Free Will

Take the issue of free will. While Ricard is happy to acknowledge that humans exist within an immense web of interdependence, and are subject to causation, he denies that physical laws drive the causative process, believing instead that karma – a universal moral governing-force deeply linked with a belief in reincarnation – is the ultimate driver.


For me of course it's always back again to the gap between what one believes about karma and how one is actually able to demonstrate that karma does in fact exist. How theologically, philosophically, scientifically -- experimentally, empirically -- would one go about determining it?

As for reincarnation, that doesn't suprise me. This is one of the fundamental beliefs embedded in almost all religions: "I" somehow continues on after death.

And to demonstrate this you merely have to believe it in turn. And, if you live a "good life", you come back as something desirable. What constitutes living the good life? Well, that too, revolves basically around whatever you have managed to think yourself into believing is a good behavior to choose. The part I ascribe to dasein. Dasein embedded in a world of conflicting goods. That doesn't change just because you are a Buddhist.

In other words, in this moral causal process, the universe ensures that your past deeds are paid back good for good and evil for evil, if not in this life, then in a future incarnation. The form of an individual’s rebirth depends on the karma they’ve accumulated over past lives. Depending on your balance of good deeds versus evil deeds, you may return as a human, animal, or insect.


Come on, how does the universe itself ensure this? Simple enough. You believe that it does. In this respect, Buddhism is just another rendition of more traditional religious narratives. It just seems more "exotic" to many in the West. Though again, as noted above, there are clearly aspects of the pursuit here that do benefit many well beyond merely in believing that it does.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Prismatic567 » Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:04 am

iambiguous wrote:Come on, how does the universe itself ensure this? Simple enough. You believe that it does. In this respect, Buddhism is just another rendition of more traditional religious narratives. It just seems more "exotic" to many in the West. Though again, as noted above, there are clearly aspects of the pursuit here that do benefit many well beyond merely in believing that it does.

To get the best of Buddhism one should side step the religious elements associated with it. I don't think Guatama intended for his philosophy to be straight-jacketed into any religious doctrines and and beliefs.

Note my point again on Buddhism-proper;

Buddha's 4NT-8FP -A Life Problem Solving Technique
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=187395&p=2516029&hilit=Problem+solving#p2516029

'To get Buddhism', one need to cut through its forms to understand its fundamentals, i.e.
Buddha's 4NT-8FP -A Life Problem Solving Technique

The fundamental of Buddhism is basic like a doctor's approach in diagnosing a patient's medical problems.
In the case of Buddhism, it a self-diagnostic technique to deal with one's existential issues and its related sufferings.

Unfortunately for you, when you have passed age 55-60 the above technique will not be effective if one start after that age barrier. This is because effective Buddhism proper require flexible neurons that can be rewired for efficiency.
After 55-60 the normal person's there the active neurons has atrophized too far and the majority of whatever active neurons remaining are naturally weakened.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:20 am

Prismatic567 wrote:The fundamental of Buddhism is basic like a doctor's approach in diagnosing a patient's medical problems.
But unlike most doctor's diagnoses, it consider normal, healthy processes - like desires, the expression of emotion and the free movement of the body - pathological. You can see this directly in the texts, but also in the practices of even those buddhist groups that have no religious overtones. Emotional expression, desire and passionate movement are all pathologized.
Unfortunately for you, when you have passed age 55-60 the above technique will not be effective if one start after that age barrier. This is because effective Buddhism proper require flexible neurons that can be rewired for efficiency.
After 55-60 the normal person's there the active neurons has atrophized too far and the majority of whatever active neurons remaining are naturally weakened.
Well, who knows what the vague 'effective Buddhism proper' means to Prismatic, but meditation, for example, has all sorts of effects regardless of age, and in people much older than 60. So even if P believes that whatever older people experience with meditation is not the full monty, it is both misleading and actually showing a lack of Buddhist compassion to say the above.


Further, many modern people, especially in the West, think that Buddhism is not a value-laden culturally toned belief system. But it is. It has judgments about how one should live, what healthy is, what the roots of problems are, which parts of the brain should be in charge and which suppressed, what is wrong with being a social mammal, how expressive one should be. And while its view on desire are not like the moral judgments in Abrahamic religions, it is still a cultural bias, and one that contains old biases against, one could say, the limbic system.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:46 pm

iambiguous wrote:Come on, how does the universe itself ensure this? Simple enough. You believe that it does. In this respect, Buddhism is just another rendition of more traditional religious narratives. It just seems more "exotic" to many in the West. Though again, as noted above, there are clearly aspects of the pursuit here that do benefit many well beyond merely in believing that it does.


Prismatic567 wrote: To get the best of Buddhism one should side step the religious elements associated with it. I don't think Guatama intended for his philosophy to be straight-jacketed into any religious doctrines and beliefs.


That was my point. Strip Buddhism of karma and reincarnation and other basically religious elements and it clearly benefits many -- allowing them to attain and then sustain what for them is a greater sense of mental and emotional equilibrium and equanimity.

Prismatic567 wrote: The fundamental of Buddhism is basic like a doctor's approach in diagnosing a patient's medical problems.
In the case of Buddhism, it a self-diagnostic technique to deal with one's existential issues and its related sufferings.


And more power to those who use it to accomplish such things. My own interest in religion however revolves more around the relationship between the behaviors that one chooses on this side of the grave [given their religious beliefs] and how this is connected in their head to what they imagine their fate to be on the other side.

In other words, the part where one religious narrative comes into contact with another in a world teeming with conflicting goods. And the part where one by one all of us die.

Also, the way in which one's religious beliefs are embedded more in the manner in which I construe the meaning of dasein in my signature threads. Rather than in one sitting down, examining all of the religious/spiritual narratives out there and, using the tools of philosophy, choosing the one that seems most rational. Or in rejecting religion altogether.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Prismatic567 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:18 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
Prismatic567 wrote:The fundamental of Buddhism is basic like a doctor's approach in diagnosing a patient's medical problems.
But unlike most doctor's diagnoses, it consider normal, healthy processes - like desires, the expression of emotion and the free movement of the body - pathological. You can see this directly in the texts, but also in the practices of even those buddhist groups that have no religious overtones. Emotional expression, desire and passionate movement are all pathologized.

Nope! you got is wrong.
Buddhism-proper do not regard desires and emotions as pathological.
Yes, there are many Buddhists and monks who are ascetics and escapists from modern living, but the Buddha did not advocate such practices. The Buddha was an ascetic for many years and discovered that asceticism is the wrong path when he achieved "enlightenment."

One point is there are many variations in the texts and practices of Buddhism since 2500 years ago but the majority do not get to what is the intended Buddhism-proper.
In practice, it was impossible for Buddhism-proper to be implemented during Buddha's time and even thereafter. This is the reason why Buddhism-proper had been compromised to adapt to whatever he current conditions were.
Buddhism-proper do not advocate the praying to statues with joss-sticks and offering in big temples, but it has to compromise what suit the lay-believers in their current state.

Thus to understand Buddhism-proper one has to research in all the texts and practices done to date to extract the essence of Buddhism. I have done that and abstracted one aspect of it it as a diagnostic technique.

Buddhism-proper do not suppress desires and emotions but rather pinned and focus on the ignorance of what are the main purpose of desires and emotions to facilitate survival. This is why 'Right-View' of the Noble 8 fold path need to be invoked.
When one is ignorant of what desires are for and how dangerous they can be when reiterated, the person become a slave to his desires which lead to clingingness, attachments where non-fulfillment of them lead to sufferings.

Greek Philosophy was influenced by Buddhism, thus like the Stoic and this is reflected in Aristotle on Anger [an example to desires and emotions];

    Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but
    to be angry with the right person and
    to the right degree and
    at the right time and
    for the right purpose, and
    in the right way
    - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy.
    -Aristotle.

The above same is expected by Buddhism-proper which does not suppress "anger" but a Buddhist need to develop skillful actions to be able to perform the above.

Unfortunately for you, when you have passed age 55-60 the above technique will not be effective if one start after that age barrier. This is because effective Buddhism proper require flexible neurons that can be rewired for efficiency.
After 55-60 the normal person's there the active neurons has atrophized too far and the majority of whatever active neurons remaining are naturally weakened.

Well, who knows what the vague 'effective Buddhism proper' means to Prismatic, but meditation, for example, has all sorts of effects regardless of age, and in people much older than 60. So even if P believes that whatever older people experience with meditation is not the full monty, it is both misleading and actually showing a lack of Buddhist compassion to say the above.

Further, many modern people, especially in the West, think that Buddhism is not a value-laden culturally toned belief system. But it is. It has judgments about how one should live, what healthy is, what the roots of problems are, which parts of the brain should be in charge and which suppressed, what is wrong with being a social mammal, how expressive one should be. And while its view on desire are not like the moral judgments in Abrahamic religions, it is still a cultural bias, and one that contains old biases against, one could say, the limbic system.

There are two main types of meditation in Buddhism-proper, i.e. Samartha [concentration] and Vispassana [mindfulness].
It may be possible for the older person to benefit in some ways from Samartha but they are unlikely to be efficient with mindfulness exercises that need to rewire the neuron appropriately, i.e. not easy to teach old dogs new tricks.

Re to get to Buddhism-proper it is necessary to get rid of the cultural bias.
Initially a new Buddhist will be exposed to its unavoidable cultural elements, but by continuing to apply the diagnostic technique effectively one will be able to wean off the cultural elements and stick to pure Buddhism-proper.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Prismatic567 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:23 am

iambiguous wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Come on, how does the universe itself ensure this? Simple enough. You believe that it does. In this respect, Buddhism is just another rendition of more traditional religious narratives. It just seems more "exotic" to many in the West. Though again, as noted above, there are clearly aspects of the pursuit here that do benefit many well beyond merely in believing that it does.


Prismatic567 wrote: To get the best of Buddhism one should side step the religious elements associated with it. I don't think Guatama intended for his philosophy to be straight-jacketed into any religious doctrines and beliefs.


That was my point. Strip Buddhism of karma and reincarnation and other basically religious elements and it clearly benefits many -- allowing them to attain and then sustain what for them is a greater sense of mental and emotional equilibrium and equanimity.

Prismatic567 wrote: The fundamental of Buddhism is basic like a doctor's approach in diagnosing a patient's medical problems.
In the case of Buddhism, it a self-diagnostic technique to deal with one's existential issues and its related sufferings.


And more power to those who use it to accomplish such things. My own interest in religion however revolves more around the relationship between the behaviors that one chooses on this side of the grave [given their religious beliefs] and how this is connected in their head to what they imagine their fate to be on the other side.

In other words, the part where one religious narrative comes into contact with another in a world teeming with conflicting goods. And the part where one by one all of us die.

Also, the way in which one's religious beliefs are embedded more in the manner in which I construe the meaning of dasein in my signature threads. Rather than in one sitting down, examining all of the religious/spiritual narratives out there and, using the tools of philosophy, choosing the one that seems most rational. Or in rejecting religion altogether.

If one were to adopt Buddhism-proper as a diagnostic tool to understand one's own issues and resolves them according, then all the problems you listed above will be minimized.

Unfortunately for you, due to age, will be difficult for you to start now.
Thus you have to do the best you can by whatever means or be stuck in that deep hole you have dug for yourself.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:56 am

Prismatic567 wrote:Nope! you got is wrong.
Guess again.
Buddhism-proper do not regard desires and emotions as pathological.
What's the second noble truth?

Yes, there are many Buddhists and monks who are ascetics and escapists from modern living, but the Buddha did not advocate such practices. The Buddha was an ascetic for many years and discovered that asceticism is the wrong path when he achieved "enlightenment."
I didn't say anything about asceticism and escapism. Please don't just assume you know more about Buddhism than anyone you disagree with. The issue I am talking about are not part of the formats and cultures of some Buddhist groups, they are endemic.

One point is there are many variations in the texts and practices of Buddhism since 2500 years ago but the majority do not get to what is the intended Buddhism-proper.
In practice, it was impossible for Buddhism-proper to be implemented during Buddha's time and even thereafter. This is the reason why Buddhism-proper had been compromised to adapt to whatever he current conditions were.
So, you know not only what was possible then, but what the real message of Buddhism is, despite being further way from the source then they were back then.

Buddhism-proper do not advocate the praying to statues with joss-sticks and offering in big temples, but it has to compromise what suit the lay-believers in their current state.
I didn't say anything about the praying to statues.

Buddhism-proper do not suppress desires and emotions but rather pinned and focus on the ignorance of what are the main purpose of desires and emotions to facilitate survival. This is why 'Right-View' of the Noble 8 fold path need to be invoked.
When one is ignorant of what desires are for and how dangerous they can be when reiterated, the person become a slave to his desires which lead to clingingness, attachments where non-fulfillment of them lead to sufferings.
Buddhism proper. Seriously, who are you to say what Buddhism proper is. I am going by both the texts we have and the practices in both the East and the West in a wide variety of contexts.
Greek Philosophy was influenced by Buddhism, thus like the Stoic and this is reflected in Aristotle on Anger [an example to desires and emotions];

    Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but
    to be angry with the right person and
    to the right degree and
    at the right time and
    for the right purpose, and
    in the right way
    - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy.
    -Aristotle.


The above same is expected by Buddhism-proper which does not suppress "anger" but a Buddhist need to develop skillful actions to be able to perform the above.
Of course that will end up suppressing anger. You just gave anger a gauntlet of criteria to get through before it gets expressed. And by the time we are adults we have learned to suppress emotions, so of course they will be clunky and not perfect and disconnected sometimes from the rational parts of our brains/knowledge. But that heuristic or the heuristics that would come out of Aristotles little ditty, will add layers to suppression already present and reinforce judgments of emotions. And what he says is pretty much current folk psychology held, for example, by most middle class academics, amongst others.
There are two main types of meditation in Buddhism-proper, i.e. Samartha [concentration] and Vispassana [mindfulness].
It may be possible for the older person to benefit in some ways from Samartha but they are unlikely to be efficient with mindfulness exercises that need to rewire the neuron appropriately, i.e. not easy to teach old dogs new tricks.
Yeah, again, please stop assuming you know more about Buddhism. Second, no, you are just simply wrong. Mindfulness has been shown via scientific reseach to have all sorts of positive effects on people older than 60. You don't know what you are talking about and it was not a kind thing to say the Iamb. And on some level I think that was part of the point of telling him. I mean, what other point would there be?
Re to get to Buddhism-proper it is necessary to get rid of the cultural bias.
Initially a new Buddhist will be exposed to its unavoidable cultural elements, but by continuing to apply the diagnostic technique effectively one will be able to wean off the cultural elements and stick to pure Buddhism-proper.
Buddhism has, in its core form, judgments of desires and emotions. It is in the texts and it is not a coincidence that every single manifestation of the practices in communities leads to subcultures where emotions and desires are judged and expression of emotions with any passion is judged negatively. It is also not a coincidence that the temperments of Buddhists in the West has as its signature people who present themselves, as much as they can, as rational, logical, even-keel, in-control personalities and have values that include low expression of emotion, judgments of passion and 'indulging' in desires.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:18 am

I mean, seriously, Prismatic, you started a thread elsewhere hoping for a future where we could suppress the neurons in the brain that cause anxiety - as if there weren't good reasons for us, we social mammals - to evolve emotional patterns via neuronal structures. The judgments of emotions, and ones that fit well with Buddhism, run through your posts from the beginning. That you look forward to the elimination of certain emotions via technological intervention is just the tip of the iceberg, but a telling tip. Your prioritization of equanimity, your admiration for the Stoics, and also admiration for Buddhism, all fit together with particular cultural and psychological values.

So yes, winter will always affect the mood of many, but the most effective approach is to cultivate one's state of equanimity to modulate one's mood regardless of the external or internal situation.


IOW responding with the emotional reactions we do have and allowing them to express would be wrong. Modulate does sound a lot nicer than suppress, but it is a form of suppression.

Now these judgments of emotion are widely held in most cultures and subcultures, so it is not just you and yours. But it is cultural, it is based on values and tempermental comforts and discomforts. It is hardly pure science.

It has to do with some people's tastes, and fears and judgments.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Prismatic567 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:48 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
Prismatic567 wrote:Nope! you got it wrong.
Guess again.
Buddhism-proper do not regard desires and emotions as pathological.
What's the second noble truth?

Yes, there are many Buddhists and monks who are ascetics and escapists from modern living, but the Buddha did not advocate such practices. The Buddha was an ascetic for many years and discovered that asceticism is the wrong path when he achieved "enlightenment."
I didn't say anything about asceticism and escapism. Please don't just assume you know more about Buddhism than anyone you disagree with. The issue I am talking about are not part of the formats and cultures of some Buddhist groups, they are endemic.

One point is there are many variations in the texts and practices of Buddhism since 2500 years ago but the majority do not get to what is the intended Buddhism-proper.
In practice, it was impossible for Buddhism-proper to be implemented during Buddha's time and even thereafter. This is the reason why Buddhism-proper had been compromised to adapt to whatever he current conditions were.
So, you know not only what was possible then, but what the real message of Buddhism is, despite being further way from the source then they were back then.

Buddhism-proper do not advocate the praying to statues with joss-sticks and offering in big temples, but it has to compromise what suit the lay-believers in their current state.
I didn't say anything about the praying to statues.

Buddhism-proper do not suppress desires and emotions but rather pinned and focus on the ignorance of what are the main purpose of desires and emotions to facilitate survival. This is why 'Right-View' of the Noble 8 fold path need to be invoked.
When one is ignorant of what desires are for and how dangerous they can be when reiterated, the person become a slave to his desires which lead to clingingness, attachments where non-fulfillment of them lead to sufferings.
Buddhism proper. Seriously, who are you to say what Buddhism proper is. I am going by both the texts we have and the practices in both the East and the West in a wide variety of contexts.
Greek Philosophy was influenced by Buddhism, thus like the Stoic and this is reflected in Aristotle on Anger [an example to desires and emotions];

    Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but
    to be angry with the right person and
    to the right degree and
    at the right time and
    for the right purpose, and
    in the right way
    - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy.
    -Aristotle.


The above same is expected by Buddhism-proper which does not suppress "anger" but a Buddhist need to develop skillful actions to be able to perform the above.
Of course that will end up suppressing anger. You just gave anger a gauntlet of criteria to get through before it gets expressed. And by the time we are adults we have learned to suppress emotions, so of course they will be clunky and not perfect and disconnected sometimes from the rational parts of our brains/knowledge. But that heuristic or the heuristics that would come out of Aristotles little ditty, will add layers to suppression already present and reinforce judgments of emotions. And what he says is pretty much current folk psychology held, for example, by most middle class academics, amongst others.
There are two main types of meditation in Buddhism-proper, i.e. Samartha [concentration] and Vispassana [mindfulness].
It may be possible for the older person to benefit in some ways from Samartha but they are unlikely to be efficient with mindfulness exercises that need to rewire the neuron appropriately, i.e. not easy to teach old dogs new tricks.
Yeah, again, please stop assuming you know more about Buddhism. Second, no, you are just simply wrong. Mindfulness has been shown via scientific reseach to have all sorts of positive effects on people older than 60. You don't know what you are talking about and it was not a kind thing to say the Iamb. And on some level I think that was part of the point of telling him. I mean, what other point would there be?
Re to get to Buddhism-proper it is necessary to get rid of the cultural bias.
Initially a new Buddhist will be exposed to its unavoidable cultural elements, but by continuing to apply the diagnostic technique effectively one will be able to wean off the cultural elements and stick to pure Buddhism-proper.
Buddhism has, in its core form, judgments of desires and emotions. It is in the texts and it is not a coincidence that every single manifestation of the practices in communities leads to subcultures where emotions and desires are judged and expression of emotions with any passion is judged negatively. It is also not a coincidence that the temperments of Buddhists in the West has as its signature people who present themselves, as much as they can, as rational, logical, even-keel, in-control personalities and have values that include low expression of emotion, judgments of passion and 'indulging' in desires.

The 2nd Noble Truth is the 'Truth of the Cause of Sufferings.'
In this we have to be very careful with the translated terms 'truth', cause and sufferings in relation to its original intended meaning.

I don't claim to know the most, but I know more than the average Buddhist and researchers in Buddhism.

'Suppress' I meant total elimination.
Modulation is like putting a dam across a forceful river when the flow of the river can be controlled to the expected results.

It is possible for those above 60 to do the acts of samartha and vispassana but the results for vispassana will not be efficient. I have read this from Buddhist scholars. However the phrase 'cannot teach old dogs new tricks' is very realistic in terms of the state of neurons i.e. reduced elasticity in older people.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:57 pm

Prismatic567 wrote:If one were to adopt Buddhism-proper as a diagnostic tool to understand one's own issues and resolves them according, then all the problems you listed above will be minimized.


Okay, but how is this applicable to my own interest in religion? How [among the young] would "adopting Buddhism-proper as a diagnostic tool" have any significant use value or exchange value in confronting conflicting goods on this side of the grave? However one construes their fate on the other side of it.

With regard to any particular individual, I can see where Buddhism might be beneficial. Or in a small cloistered community. But the more an individual Buddhist interacts with others in the manner in which most of us do in this modern world, the more likely that wants and needs will come into conflict. And, to the extent that they do, claiming to be "enlightened" will only go so far among those who are not Buddhists.

And sooner of later the interactions will get around to the part where we are dead and gone. And here the Buddhists are in the same boat with all the rest of us: filling the gap between what they believe about the afterlife and what they are able to actually demonstrate is true.

The part where, in my view, it is the believing itself that counts most of all. Religion as either a political opiate of the people for some or a comforting and consoling psychological defense mechanism for others.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Fanman » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:09 pm

So, to effectively dehumanise human-beings is the right path to making them better human-beings? Emotional castration? In my experience, people are like water in a jug, we move in whichever direction the jug is moved by the forces around it. If we can maintain a good, sturdy disposition when forces are pulling and pushing us in different directions then brilliant I guess, but I don't believe, as a human-being, that that should be the expectation or perhaps even the goal? Is it right to always act like everything is okay? Or if I'm happy emotionally, to not show it?

Managing our emotions and instincts is a good thing which people are generally capable of, but complete suppression of our nature (emotions) seems wrong to me on so many levels. Like feeding a predatory animal vegetables for half of it's life, then releasing it into the wild - expecting it to hunt, kill prey and chill with the other predators – after hacking it's nature.

In life, no matter how “modulated” we perceive ourselves to be, if something hits us hard enough, were going to react with an emotional response. To do so is not wrong, its human. There have been times in all of our lives when we've suffered, and times when things have been great. If the aim of buddhism is to eliminate suffering, what's the point if the emotions you need to enjoy that suffering free life are completely suppressed?
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:15 pm

Prismatic567 wrote:The 2nd Noble Truth is the 'Truth of the Cause of Sufferings.'
In this we have to be very careful with the translated terms 'truth', cause and sufferings in relation to its original intended meaning.
The original intended meaning has to do with desire/thirst (literal translation)/clinging to anything. That this causes suffering and we must eliminate it.

You just threw a social mammal out the window. The practices of Buddhism include the disidentification with emotions (and yes, also thoughts) and the severing of emotion to expression process. You 'accept' them, but must witness them. The flow to expression is dammed as you say. Though it is even more than this. You keep still and silent, in the practices, regardless of pain or emotion. You are training to not express emotions. Yes, outside of meditation, you may express emotions, but the training includes precisely the severing of feeling of emotion to expression processes. That is what you are learning to do, training yourself to do. And this is why anywhere the doctrines of Buddhism go, you will find suppression of emotions and judgments of emotions.

People think of texts as true in and of themselves. But texts do things. And what those texts do to humans, is to train them to suppress emotions. And those who are drawn to it want to do that. And if they want to do it, they should. However it should be presented as a value-free scientific process. It is a value laden one, one with heavy judgments of the limbic system and its expression physically. What a text does, tells what a text is. And then the text itself contains these judgments as do the practices.

I don't claim to know the most, but I know more than the average Buddhist and researchers in Buddhism.
Could be true. But your responses have relayed some fairly basic stuff as if I and others need the small lectures.

'Suppress' I meant total elimination.
That is not what suppress means in relation to emotions.

It is possible for those above 60 to do the acts of samartha and vispassana but the results for vispassana will not be efficient. I have read this from Buddhist scholars.
And yet nevertheless scientific research shows that significant changes can take place pretty much regardless of age.

However the phrase 'cannot teach old dogs new tricks' is very realistic in terms of the state of neurons i.e. reduced elasticity in older people.
There have been people over 60 who have had stokes and damaged large portions of their brains and from their used other portions of their brains to learn, again, in new neural pathways, how to speak, eat, walk and other incredibly complicated skills. Yes, it is harder to learn new things when one is older, but the brains still show incredible neuroplasticity. It's not all or nothing, as that old cliche about dogs would lead one (or Iamb if he took it seriously) to believe.
Last edited by Karpel Tunnel on Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:22 pm

But the more an individual Buddhist interacts with others in the manner in which most of us do in this modern world, the more likely that wants and needs will come into conflict. And, to the extent that they do, claiming to be "enlightened" will only go so far among those who are not Buddhists.
The enlightened Buddhist will be better able to deal with not getting what he wants or needs, better able to deal with getting it, better able to judge when to continue a conflict, better able to judge when to disengage, better able to judge when to surrender ... etc.

That's wisdom. That's what philosophies and religions are about.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:29 pm

Fanman wrote:So, to effectively dehumanise human-beings is the right path to making them better human-beings?
Precisely and accurately summing up the judgments in Buddhism (and of course many other belief systems)

Emotional castration? In my experience, people are like water in a jug, we move in whichever direction the jug is moved by the forces around it. If we can maintain a good, sturdy disposition when forces are pulling and pushing us in different directions then brilliant I guess, but I don't believe, as a human-being, that that should be the expectation or perhaps even the goal? Is it right to always act like everything is okay? Or if I'm happy emotionally, to not show it?
Buddhism tends not to judge happiness as much as sadness, anger and fear, but if you were expressive, and/or desired the things that made you happy, that's a problem in Buddhism.

Managing our emotions and instincts is a good thing which people are generally capable of, but complete suppression of our nature (emotions) seems wrong to me on so many levels. Like feeding a predatory animal vegetables for half of it's life, then releasing it into the wild - expecting it to hunt, kill prey and chill with the other predators – after hacking it's nature.

In life, no matter how “modulated” we perceive ourselves to be, if something hits us hard enough, were going to react with an emotional response. To do so is not wrong, its human. There have been times in all of our lives when we've suffered, and times when things have been great. If the aim of buddhism is to eliminate suffering, what's the point if the emotions you need to enjoy that suffering free life are completely suppressed?
Most of us, by the time we have reached adulthood, have already been trained to suppress emotions and judge them and their expression. Then people are told that Buddhism is a scientific, value free approach to healing themselves. So, the new types of suppressive practices get lopped on top of suppressive practices and cognitive processes people have already learned in school, from parents, from societal judgments, from films and so on.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby gib » Tue Oct 15, 2019 2:19 am

Why does Buddhism require the suppression of emotion? From what I've been told, the care-free, light-hearted, at-peace state of mind of the enlightened practitioner comes from realizing that life is illusory. They say it's like realizing that you're in a dream, and that nothing that happens therein matters because it's not real. In that case, if one were having a nightmare, for example, and then realized it was just a dream, one would no longer experience any fear; one would sigh a breath of relief and maybe even laugh at the nightmare. <-- That's very different from trying to suppress the fear... the fear simply vanishes.
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