What it means to be a ngakpa

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Kunga Lhadzom
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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Kunga Lhadzom » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:08 pm

Can you be a ngakpa naturally ?
Without pursuing it ?
much like an artist with inborn talents that need development .
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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:17 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:59 pm
Not every conversation is about you, Grigoris.
Oh gee, really? :roll: I refer to myself since I am theoretically, a Wesern Ngakpa (whatever that means, since it seems there is more than one interpretation of this) and thus my situation is probably quite similar to that of other Western Ngakpa (including yourself, whether you like the label or not). Does the fact that you cannot make money or gain fame from the rituals negatively influence your practice? Is that what you are trying to rationalise?
You asked me a question about why demand for the marketable skills of a Ngakpa were relevant in a general conversation about what it means to be a Ngakpa.
Well, actually, I did't ask you that. You gave a relevant response to Matthew and then started on a largely irrelevant aside. I am replying to the later.
One of those contexts is what it means to be a Ngakpa in Tibet. And in Tibet, Ngakpas employ their skills for $$$. That market does not exist in the West and it probably never will.
It is the third time you have said this. I have pointed out a number of times why "the market" is irrelevant and you have not come up with any intelligent replies so far, except to keep repeating the same tired point.
Grigoris, you are projecting again.
No. I have seen you do this a number of times in a number of threads, a little too often for it to just be me.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Josef
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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Josef » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:19 pm

Kunga Lhadzom wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:08 pm
Can you be a ngakpa naturally ?
Without pursuing it ?
much like an artist with inborn talents that need development .
Sure, once you have received the empowerments etc. it is up to you how you manifest your activity.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.

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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:21 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:47 pm
Trying soo hard not to show that Aro g'Ter pic ............ desperately not wanting to show it..........damn, failed again!
You really believe that every weterner practicing in a Ngakpa lineage has the same motivation as the Aro gTer cult? Really? Is that the feeling you got from taking part in the teachings by LOTR?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Josef » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:25 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:21 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:47 pm
Trying soo hard not to show that Aro g'Ter pic ............ desperately not wanting to show it..........damn, failed again!
You really believe that every weterner practicing in a Ngakpa lineage has the same motivation as the Aro gTer cult? Really? Is that the feeling you got from taking part in the teachings by LOTR?
I didnt get that impression from Mantrik's post.
It's quite clear (in my opinion at least) that there are many well-intentioned and scrupulous ngakpa practitioners from "western" backgrounds.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.

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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Mantrik » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:35 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:21 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:47 pm
Trying soo hard not to show that Aro g'Ter pic ............ desperately not wanting to show it..........damn, failed again!
You really believe that every weterner practicing in a Ngakpa lineage has the same motivation as the Aro gTer cult? Really? Is that the feeling you got from taking part in the teachings by LOTR?

Uh.....no. Just showing an example of the ludicrous end of the spectrum relating to those addicted to dressing up and LARP. They also have a six foot phurba so I'm clearly envious of their dedication to practice. (My post followed Cone's about status and dress. )

You really think I was trying to cite them as typical of all Western Ngakpas, especially those following LOTR? How bizarre.

If you don't mind me saying so, you are responding to people on this thread as if you have a huge chip on your shoulder about your recent Ngakpa ordination - nobody is saying you are dressing up for fun or should be giving up work and selling pujas on the street. You are taking every remark as if you are the target. I did try to defuse that earlier on but you had a sense of humour fail by the look of it. Chill. ;)
Last edited by Mantrik on Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Malcolm » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:36 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:17 pm
Well, actually, I did't ask you that. You gave a relevant response to Matthew and then started on a largely irrelevant aside.
Personally, I think the socio-economic dimensions of the Ngakpa tradition are very relevant to any discussion of what it means to be a Ngakpa. Why? This in fact is one of the main reasons why every monastery wants to have a Tulku. No Tulku, no patrons. No patrons, no money. No money, no food.

My guru, Kunzang Dechen Lingpa, thoroughly trained his students in India to become proficient in ritual arts so that they could make a living, understanding that compared to the local Gelug monastery (which gets all the big donations and support from the CTA), his monasteries would struggle economically unless they were able to offer services useful to the local people. In many monasteries in India, for example, they have menus for how much this rite costs, how much that one costs, and so on. So yes, the market plays an important role in religious services, and those services are subject to the laws of supply and demand. Why do you think it costs millions of dollars to host HHDL, whereas to host your teacher it costs merely a few grand? Put simply, HHDL is in much greater demand than your teacher, my teacher, etc.

When KDL came to the USA to do Healing Chod tours, he made it explicitly clear he was here in this country (USA) to raise money from people to support his monastery projects, which required capital he was unable to raise in India. Of course, he never turned anyone away from these events, but on the other hand, he was clear he was here to raise money. If no one showed up with money for the events, he would have gone home — and he said as much to the people who came. So, there was some demand for his services and he happily supplied them.

I understand this to be part of the wider context of the socio-economic role monasteries and so on have played for Tibetans for generations. And quite frankly, Ngakpas in Tibetan society were not just doing rites for this and that reason out of the kindness of their hearts. They expected to be paid for their services. We should understand this. You may be offended by treating the socio-economic facts of Buddhism in this way, but I live in the real world, where supply and demand is a constant issue.

Buddhism arose from the merchant class in India, among people who were very interested in making profits and generally contributed to the Sangha to generate merit so they would be more prosperous. Why? Because in sūtra after sūtra the Buddha encouraged lay people to a) generate profits through trade so that b) they could support the Sangha, and c) so that they could live happier lives.
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:53 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:41 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:35 pm
Uh.....no. Just showing an example of the ludicrous end of the spectrum relating to those addicted to dressing up and LARP. They also have a six foot phurba so I'm clearly envious of their dedication to practice.
Phurba envy? :smile:
You really think I was trying to cite them as typical of all Western Ngakpas, especially those following LOTR? How bizarre.
No. That is why I asked.
If you don't mind me saying so, you are responding to people on this thread as if you have a huge chip on your shoulder about your recent Ngakpa ordination - nobody is saying you are dressing up for fun or should be giving up work and selling pujas on the street. You are taking every remark as if you are the target. Chill. ;)
No, this is not the case. It may seem this way, since I am the only one here "defending" western Ngakpa practices and practitioners. If you read one of my previous comments you will see that I took a bit of a stab at the "dreariness" of our practices. ;)

My point the whole time is this idea that somehow the practices have to cater to a market. Nobody has responded to my points above refuting this idea, instead preferring to rely on logic fallacies.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:43 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:36 pm
We should understand this.
I understand this, I just believe it is not relevant to the Western context and should not be the primary reasoning/motivation behind us practicing in Ngkapa lineages (or not). The same reasoning could be applied to monastic traditions in the West too, since there is not really a solid financial basis for their survival too.

So what does that leave us with then?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by conebeckham » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:46 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:08 pm
conebeckham wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:10 pm
All this concern and interest in clothing, status, title, is misdirection.
So you believe that all people involved or interested in Ngakpa practice are in it coz it's sexy??? That is a strange conclusion to come to. I cannot really see what is sexy about three hour pujas mumbled in an incomprehensible language whilst dinging a bell now and then.

I remember the first time I went to receive teachings from LOTR. We were invited to do a sang to remove obstacles for a local benefactor. We spent hours sitting around a smouldering fire dinging bells.

Once we finished and we were leaving the site (it was in the center of Prague) a procession of ISKCON devotees was on the street for Ratha Yatra. There was loud cheerful Indian music. Food being handed out. Young dancing girls in traditional garb. People laughing and chanting and singing and playing instruments. Rinpoche's wife grabbed me by the hand and dragged me into the crowd, getting stuck into the party atmosphere.

At some point in time I turned to see Rinpoche and shouted out to him: Now THIS is a religious practice, not like us boring bastards coughing with smoke filled eyes, dinging tingsha and mumbling mantra! :smile:
I do not believe it is "sexy," nor do I know why others may wish to identify as Ngakpas. I would hope, however, that Ngakpas would comprehend the language they were using, to some degree at least. Mostly, we are aspiring ngakpas. That doesn't mean we shouldn't take it seriously. In fact, I think most don't take it seriously enough. But maybe that's just my projection.

Also, it should be obvious to anyone interested in Ngakpa culture that our society does not support the "market" that existed in Tibetan societies, by and large. It is a fact, though, that Ngakpas were part of the marketplace. I suppose it's a good thing, in some sense, that there is no cultural support for "Ngakpas" right now--it keeps the fraudulent away to a degree.
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Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Mantrik » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:46 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:41 pm

My point the whole time is this idea that somehow the practices have to cater to a market. Nobody has responded to my points above refuting this idea, instead preferring to rely on logic fallacies.
Where did anyone assert 'the practices' have to cater to a market?

I read Malcolm's comments as meaning that to some extent a Ngakpa had to earn a living through offering relevant services to a market, not that this was the whole of their practice.
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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:48 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:46 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:41 pm

My point the whole time is this idea that somehow the practices have to cater to a market. Nobody has responded to my points above refuting this idea, instead preferring to rely on logic fallacies.
Where did anyone assert 'the practices' have to cater to a market?

I read Malcolm's comments as meaning that to some extent a Ngakpa had to earn a living through offering relevant services to a market, not that this was the whole of their practice.
;) viewtopic.php?f=49&t=27612&start=60#p429912
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:50 pm

Now you'll have to excuse me while I go ding some non-marketable bells, mumble some incomprehensible nonsense and burn some foul smelling incense guaranteed to scare away even the most devout (and loaded) follower of the BuddhaDharma! :smile:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Malcolm » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:53 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:43 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:36 pm
We should understand this.
I understand this, I just believe it is not relevant to the Western context and should not be the primary reasoning/motivation behind us practicing in Ngkapa lineages (or not). The same reasoning could be applied to monastic traditions in the West too, since there is not really a solid financial basis for their survival too.

So what does that leave us with then?
It leaves us with Western Ngakpa hobbyists who have the means and time to pursue their hobby because we live in a more prosperous part of the world than my guru did. And so the economics are less pressing.
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Mantrik » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:56 pm

Personally, I believe there is a huge market in the West for pujas, blessing, divination and many of the services a Ngakpa may offer. It's just that others are offering them.

One of the strongest brands at the moment is Westernised 'Shamanism' - they'll do you a sweat lodge, rabbit entrail divination, bless your gemstones, give you Reiki whilst in trance, certificate you as a Shaman, sell you robes and retrieve your soul - all for just £500 and all in a weekend!

Ngakpas are missing out badly. :sage:

Cone's right - damn good job most Ngakpas aren't part of that spiritual gravy train, but there are a few who dress up and sell their wares to the saviour seekers.
Last edited by Mantrik on Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
http://www.khyung.com

Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:58 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:53 pm
It leaves is with Western Ngakpa hobbyists who have the means and time to pursue their hobby because we live in a more prosperous part of the world than my guru did. And so the economics are less pressing.
The implication being that somebody that does something as a hobby, is not as serious as one that does it for money/professionally? Or am I projecting again?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Mantrik » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:00 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:48 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:46 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:41 pm

My point the whole time is this idea that somehow the practices have to cater to a market. Nobody has responded to my points above refuting this idea, instead preferring to rely on logic fallacies.
Where did anyone assert 'the practices' have to cater to a market?

I read Malcolm's comments as meaning that to some extent a Ngakpa had to earn a living through offering relevant services to a market, not that this was the whole of their practice.
;) viewtopic.php?f=49&t=27612&start=60#p429912
Nope. I interpret the role Malcolm described as needing to earn money in the marketplace, not that their whole role, 'the practices', was that.
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Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Malcolm » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:01 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:58 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:53 pm
It leaves is [sic] with Western Ngakpa hobbyists who have the means and time to pursue their hobby because we live in a more prosperous part of the world than my guru did. And so the economics are less pressing.
The implication being that somebody that does something as a hobby, is not as serious as one that does it for money/professionally? Or am I projecting again?
It leaves us with that fact that we do not need to learn rituals to keep from starving in the streets.
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: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Malcolm » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:02 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:56 pm
Personally, I believe there is a huge market for pujas, blessing, divination and many of the services a Ngakpa may offer. It's just that others are offering them.

One of the strongest brands at the moment is Westernised 'Shamanism' - they'll do you a sweat lodge, rabbit entrail divination, bless your gemstones, give you Reiki whilst in trance, certificate you as a Shaman, sell you robes and retrieve your soul - all for just £500 and all in a weekend!

Ngakpas are missing out badly. :sage:

Cone's right - damn good job most Ngakpas aren't part of that spiritual gravy train, but there are a few who dress up and sell their wares to the saviour seekers.
That's cheap, in Sedona AZ that weekend would cost anywhere from $5000 to $10,000 US, room, meals, and airfare not included.
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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Josef
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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Josef » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:16 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:02 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:56 pm
Personally, I believe there is a huge market for pujas, blessing, divination and many of the services a Ngakpa may offer. It's just that others are offering them.

One of the strongest brands at the moment is Westernised 'Shamanism' - they'll do you a sweat lodge, rabbit entrail divination, bless your gemstones, give you Reiki whilst in trance, certificate you as a Shaman, sell you robes and retrieve your soul - all for just £500 and all in a weekend!

Ngakpas are missing out badly. :sage:

Cone's right - damn good job most Ngakpas aren't part of that spiritual gravy train, but there are a few who dress up and sell their wares to the saviour seekers.
That's cheap, in Sedona AZ that weekend would cost anywhere from $5000 to $10,000 US, room, meals, and airfare not included.
One could make bank as a ngakpa in Sedona, as long as it was all an act.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.

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