New Longchenpa translations from Eric Fry-Miller

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Malcolm
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Re: New Longchenpa translations from Eric Fry-Miller

Post by Malcolm » Sun Jun 18, 2017 3:09 pm

Anonymous X wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
RikudouSennin wrote:Hmmm, so there are errors in the translations, bummer.
My copy of the Golden Garland seemed okay but then again I don't know the original language, so finding out about errors in the translation...glad my other order was refunded.
Translators are works in progress.
Malcolm, which Longchenpa translations float your boat?
They are all transitional, first attempts to translate a difficult subject by a difficult writer into English. Longchenpa' prose style is considered very elegant in Tibetan, but in English it has been generally rendered very turgidly so far. His verse translates into English somewhat more elegantly, but without considerable intellectual contrivance on the part of the translator, his verse, like most Tibetan verse, winds up being rendered very prosaically.

But as with all first attempts, there can be errors, sometimes important ones, like the calque for dharmadhātu, "basic space of phenomena;" or the use of "ineffability" for nonexistence (med pa), which was the result of a translator/editorial team imposing a top down interpretation on a text, rather than reading the text itself, and more importantly, the tradition as a whole. Sometimes inertia just sets in, where people just follow what people before them did out of lack of certainty, clear research, or laziness.

Some people want to translate everything into English, whereas I want to make some terms English, like dharmadhātu, dharmatā, etc. After all, no one translates the word "gaucamole" or "puttanesca" into English? They have become English words in their own right.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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dzogchungpa
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Re: New Longchenpa translations from Eric Fry-Miller

Post by dzogchungpa » Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:09 pm

Malcolm wrote:Some people want to translate everything into English, whereas I want to make some terms English, like dharmadhātu, dharmatā, etc. After all, no one translates the word "gaucamole" or "puttanesca" into English? They have become English words in their own right.
That's true, but it's not so hard to get a taste of guacamole or puttanesca and the same can not be said for dharmadhātu, dharmatā, etc. :smile:
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

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Malcolm
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Re: New Longchenpa translations from Eric Fry-Miller

Post by Malcolm » Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:20 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Some people want to translate everything into English, whereas I want to make some terms English, like dharmadhātu, dharmatā, etc. After all, no one translates the word "gaucamole" or "puttanesca" into English? They have become English words in their own right.
That's true, but it's not so hard to get a taste of guacamole or puttanesca and the same can not be said for dharmadhātu, dharmatā, etc. :smile:
I see, so it is easy to get a taste of the "the basic space of phenomena?"

And the use of awareness for rigpa is like giving someone salt and telling them it is sugar.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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dzogchungpa
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Re: New Longchenpa translations from Eric Fry-Miller

Post by dzogchungpa » Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:34 pm

Malcolm wrote:I see, so it is easy to get a taste of the "the basic space of phenomena?"
Well, at least it provides some food for thought. :smile:

Actually, I prefer that technical terms be left untranslated but if you have a somewhat general readership in mind it's problematic without extensive glossaries, contextualization etc. Some words would probably require short essays to explain. So, I can see both sides of the issue but I basically agree with you.
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

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Malcolm
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Re: New Longchenpa translations from Eric Fry-Miller

Post by Malcolm » Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:54 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:I see, so it is easy to get a taste of the "the basic space of phenomena?"
Well, at least it provides some food for thought. :smile:

Actually, I prefer that technical terms be left untranslated but if you have a somewhat general readership in mind it's problematic without extensive glossaries, contextualization etc. Some words would probably require short essays to explain. So, I can see both sides of the issue but I basically agree with you.

Dharma is like any science or area of specialized knowledge, it has some technical terms that must be learnt. And we do have dictionaries.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: New Longchenpa translations from Eric Fry-Miller

Post by Anonymous X » Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:59 pm

Malcolm wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Some people want to translate everything into English, whereas I want to make some terms English, like dharmadhātu, dharmatā, etc. After all, no one translates the word "gaucamole" or "puttanesca" into English? They have become English words in their own right.
That's true, but it's not so hard to get a taste of guacamole or puttanesca and the same can not be said for dharmadhātu, dharmatā, etc. :smile:
I see, so it is easy to get a taste of the "the basic space of phenomena?"

And the use of awareness for rigpa is like giving someone salt and telling them it is sugar.
You make good points about the words. I would think that among the Tibetans, they would arrive at a word or phrase that most teachers could agree describes a term like rigpa. What is ChNN's choice of translation now? Has it changed for him over the years as his English improved?

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Malcolm
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Re: New Longchenpa translations from Eric Fry-Miller

Post by Malcolm » Sun Jun 18, 2017 5:17 pm

Anonymous X wrote: What is ChNN's choice of translation now?
He gives two glosses, depending on context. One is "instant presence." This is more in reference to the state discovered in direct introduction.

The second is "knowledge of your primordial state [ye thog gzhi]." This is more global use of the term, when the term rigpa is used for the actual essence of Dzogchen.

His translators just generally phoneticize the term as rigpa these days, or use instant presence with rigpa in brackets. And his translators also understand that rang rig is not "self-knowing," but rather "one's knowledge."
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Malcolm
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Re: New Longchenpa translations from Eric Fry-Miller

Post by Malcolm » Sun Jun 18, 2017 5:23 pm

Anonymous X wrote: You make good points about the words. I would think that among the Tibetans, they would arrive at a word or phrase that most teachers could agree describes a term like rigpa.
Actually, these definitions are quite clearly made in Tibetan texts.

All that remains is for Westerners to stop conditioning Tibetan Lamas with mistranslations from their own naive misunderstandings of Dzogchen texts so that we can have good reliable translations of them based on native definitions of words. For example, with respect to the term dhātu, the actual Tibetan explanation is that a dhātu (dbyings) is a 'byung gnas," a source, hearkening back to the original Sanskrit meaning of dhātu as a "mine."

We must keep in mind that some of the most influential Dzogchen translations where made at a time when not only did the translators not understand Tibetan very well, let alone Dzogchen, but that the Tibetan Lamas involved knew almost no English.

This is not to fault anyone, but merely to point out that Dzogchen translation is still in its infancy. But when one talks about translations, people get all mad because they invest a lot in what they thought they understood through translations they like.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: New Longchenpa translations from Eric Fry-Miller

Post by Anonymous X » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:52 am

Malcolm wrote:
Anonymous X wrote: What is ChNN's choice of translation now?
He gives two glosses, depending on context. One is "instant presence." This is more in reference to the state discovered in direct introduction.

The second is "knowledge of your primordial state [ye thog gzhi]." This is more global use of the term, when the term rigpa is used for the actual essence of Dzogchen.

His translators just generally phoneticize the term as rigpa these days, or use instant presence with rigpa in brackets. And his translators also understand that rang rig is not "self-knowing," but rather "one's knowledge."
How do you see the difference in description from what I've wrote of Zongmi's use of 'Knowing-Seeing' as the substance of ones' nature? Is there a difference? Zongmi's Chan, like Dzogchen, is not sutric in its application, although reference to particular sutras are used to 'legitimize' the realization. My question is in the spirit of understanding, not in any kind of debate of better or worse.

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Re: New Longchenpa translations from Eric Fry-Miller

Post by Anonymous X » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:59 am

Malcolm wrote:
Anonymous X wrote: You make good points about the words. I would think that among the Tibetans, they would arrive at a word or phrase that most teachers could agree describes a term like rigpa.
Actually, these definitions are quite clearly made in Tibetan texts.

All that remains is for Westerners to stop conditioning Tibetan Lamas with mistranslations from their own naive misunderstandings of Dzogchen texts so that we can have good reliable translations of them based on native definitions of words. For example, with respect to the term dhātu, the actual Tibetan explanation is that a dhātu (dbyings) is a 'byung gnas," a source, hearkening back to the original Sanskrit meaning of dhātu as a "mine."

We must keep in mind that some of the most influential Dzogchen translations where made at a time when not only did the translators not understand Tibetan very well, let alone Dzogchen, but that the Tibetan Lamas involved knew almost no English.

This is not to fault anyone, but merely to point out that Dzogchen translation is still in its infancy. But when one talks about translations, people get all mad because they invest a lot in what they thought they understood through translations they like.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it would stand to reason that the actual experience of instant presence would be apparent to anyone who has had it. The problem might arise if that person described it in a way to someone else who used a different word or phrase to describe the same thing. Add a third person using yet another word or phrase and it becomes confusing to a listener who has not had it and it could be perplexing to someone who has had it, too.

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Re: New Longchenpa translations from Eric Fry-Miller

Post by Malcolm » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:43 pm

Anonymous X wrote: Correct me if I'm wrong, but it would stand to reason that the actual experience of instant presence would be apparent to anyone who has had it. The problem might arise if that person described it in a way to someone else who used a different word or phrase to describe the same thing. Add a third person using yet another word or phrase and it becomes confusing to a listener who has not had it and it could be perplexing to someone who has had it, too.

We all experience "instant presence" all the time. The reason we have no confidence in this is that we have not been clearly introduced to it. When one is clearly introduced to it, the words do not matter very much.

Rongzom Pandita stated that the words of Dzogchen are very simple, but their meaning is profound. It seems the hardest task in the world for Dzogchen translators to put these texts into simple language. Much of this is Herbert Guenther's fault. Thus we wind up with absurd neologisms like "ground-presencing" which mean absolutely nothing in English.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: New Longchenpa translations from Eric Fry-Miller

Post by Crazywisdom » Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:16 pm

If you want to practice these texts, always better to go to an empowerment for the text and get the text and transmission from the lama, when the translator is sitting right there. You will feel it is special and you will have special experiences associated with it. Just purchasing a book from some translator you don't know, with no lama is a recipe for losing out on the whole deal. For Khandro Nyingthig you want to look into the Bhutanese lamas. It is huge there and these guys are world wide too. And it is true there are little details in KN not present in VM that can make a huge difference in practice. So it's worth learning it.
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The criticisms of others are like wrathful mantras. Fast purification. Welcome it. -can’t remember who

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Re: New Longchenpa translations from Eric Fry-Miller

Post by dzogchungpa » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:28 pm

Malcolm wrote:Rongzom Pandita stated that the words of Dzogchen are very simple, but their meaning is profound. It seems the hardest task in the world for Dzogchen translators to put these texts into simple language. Much of this is Herbert Guenther's fault. Thus we wind up with absurd neologisms like "ground-presencing" which mean absolutely nothing in English.
Well, I'm not sure what you mean by 'absurd' here but if you leave terms untranslated they are essentially neologisms that mean nothing in English, so I don't really see what your objection is.
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

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Re: New Longchenpa translations from Eric Fry-Miller

Post by Malcolm » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:42 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Rongzom Pandita stated that the words of Dzogchen are very simple, but their meaning is profound. It seems the hardest task in the world for Dzogchen translators to put these texts into simple language. Much of this is Herbert Guenther's fault. Thus we wind up with absurd neologisms like "ground-presencing" which mean absolutely nothing in English.
Well, I'm not sure what you mean by 'absurd' here but if you leave terms untranslated they are essentially neologisms that mean nothing in English so I don't see really see what your objection is.

My objection is to absurd neologisms, not to neologisms in general. No one knows what "ground-presencing" means since it is not English at all. "Presence" is a noun. There is no verb "to presence" in English.

By contrast, a few simple Buddhist technical terms kept in Sanskrit (and a couple in Tibetan such as khregs chod and thod rgal) will keep translations much cleaner and neater.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: New Longchenpa translations from Eric Fry-Miller

Post by Anonymous X » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:00 pm

Malcolm wrote: We all experience "instant presence" all the time. The reason we have no confidence in this is that we have not been clearly introduced to it. When one is clearly introduced to it, the words do not matter very much.
I disagree with you that all of us experience 'instant presence' all the time. It is like saying we are already enlightened, but you just don't know it. On some level, it may be true, but on a practical level, an aware level, the experience of 'instant presence' is unforgettable and not limited to Dzogchen lineage. It is true that it is helpful to have a teacher who can guide you, but it isn't always the case that someone does have access in this sense yet their discovery of it is their own. I mentioned to you once that my first reading of Longchenpa put me directly into this state of 'instant presence'. It was not the first time for me, as this has been going on since I was a young man. I could attribute it to the teacher that I associated with for most of my life, but he did not teach anything like this, yet lived it himself, 24/7. I do like the fact the reading Dzogchen teachings like your own teacher's, ChNN, and the old worthies, have made an even deeper impression and have allowed me to deepen and 'integrate' more of this presence in my life. For me, there is no doubt that this is the case. What my teacher represented was everything that the pith teachings of Dzogchen talk about, yet not a word was ever mentioned about presence or awareness, or Buddhism. I have met many others who have never heard of Dzogchen that also experience what you describe as direct introduction and the discovery of instant presence. If you just dismiss this as our imagination, you will dismiss the whole teaching of Tathagatagarbha which is the inherent birthright of all sentient beings. I do hope you can open up a bit further to see this as I do think you are very committed to this teaching.

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Re: New Longchenpa translations from Eric Fry-Miller

Post by Malcolm » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:20 pm

Anonymous X wrote:
Malcolm wrote: We all experience "instant presence" all the time. The reason we have no confidence in this is that we have not been clearly introduced to it. When one is clearly introduced to it, the words do not matter very much.
I disagree with you that all of us experience 'instant presence' all the time. It is like saying we are already enlightened, but you just don't know it. On some level, it may be true, but on a practical level, an aware level, the experience of 'instant presence' is unforgettable and not limited to Dzogchen lineage.
We all experience moments of unfabricated consciousness at all times, but those moments are contaminated by cognitions. This is what is known in Dzogchen parlance as "unripened rigpa."

Unless our experience is confirmed by an experienced teacher, we, on our own, have no way of validating whether what we think we are experiencing is conceptual blather or moments of unfabricated consciousness.

As far as other lineages go, I don't practice them and I cannot comment on people's experience.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: New Longchenpa translations from Eric Fry-Miller

Post by dzogchungpa » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:42 pm

Malcolm wrote:My objection is to absurd neologisms, not to neologisms in general. No one knows what "ground-presencing" means since it is not English at all. "Presence" is a noun. There is no verb "to presence" in English.
As you know very well, it is quite common for nouns to become verbs in English, see: https://oupeltglobalblog.com/tag/nouns-used-as-verbs/.

In this case I believe 'presencing' originally comes from English translations of Heidegger's 'anwesen'. I would be surprised if Guenther does not explain his choice in detail somewhere, but I don't have time to look it up right now. You might find it absurd, but that is just a matter of taste IMO.
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

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Malcolm
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Re: New Longchenpa translations from Eric Fry-Miller

Post by Malcolm » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:54 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
In this case I believe 'presencing' originally comes from English translations of Heidegger's 'anwesen'.
Even worse. There is no use in mixing up Dzogchen language with the jargon of Western Philosophers.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: New Longchenpa translations from Eric Fry-Miller

Post by udawa » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:30 pm

Malcolm wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Rongzom Pandita stated that the words of Dzogchen are very simple, but their meaning is profound. It seems the hardest task in the world for Dzogchen translators to put these texts into simple language. Much of this is Herbert Guenther's fault. Thus we wind up with absurd neologisms like "ground-presencing" which mean absolutely nothing in English.
Well, I'm not sure what you mean by 'absurd' here but if you leave terms untranslated they are essentially neologisms that mean nothing in English so I don't see really see what your objection is.

My objection is to absurd neologisms, not to neologisms in general. No one knows what "ground-presencing" means since it is not English at all. "Presence" is a noun. There is no verb "to presence" in English.

By contrast, a few simple Buddhist technical terms kept in Sanskrit (and a couple in Tibetan such as khregs chod and thod rgal) will keep translations much cleaner and neater.
Yup. And it also means we immediately know what we are talking about rather than having to work out what the original term might be in each individual translation.
Edwards: You are a philosopher. Dr Johnson: I have tried too in my time to be a philosopher; but, I don't know how, cheerfulness was always breaking in.

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Re: New Longchenpa translations from Eric Fry-Miller

Post by Lingpupa » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:39 am

Malcolm wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
In this case I believe 'presencing' originally comes from English translations of Heidegger's 'anwesen'.
Even worse. There is no use in mixing up Dzogchen language with the jargon of Western Philosophers.
I agree with my whole heart!
But I reply because, although it is quite a few years since I read any significant amount of Guenther's work, I recall that one of the great difficulties was that he threw terminology from the phenomenological/existentialist tradition exemplified by Heidegger into his translations without explanation, almost as if to imply that the terminology had a clear, obvious, and usable meaning, or as if to imply that it was necessary to have studied that continental philosophical thinking before being able to engage properly with Buddhism. Perhaps, in this case, he did explain it, but I would be surprised.
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