Mohe Zhiguan Study Thread 摩訶止觀 Part 1

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jikai
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Re: Mohe Zhiguan Study Thread 摩訶止觀 Part 1

Post by jikai » Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:29 am

rory wrote:
Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:59 pm
Dear Rev. Jikai; thank you for all the work! you have put into the outlines. Please do not take my long silence for disinterest rather the material is complex and difficult...

This passage at the end is causing me some confusion:
The Middle is the perfect integration of the three principles, such that all is equally empty, all is conventionally existent, all is the middle."
p.18

As
Swanson talks about this and says:" As an ultimate reality that synthesizes and utterly transcends the two provisionally devised truths, Chih-i describes the middle as an unalloyed and singular truth" p.11 Vol.1

Swanson seems (to me) to be positing the Middle at the top of a hierarchy which subsumes both of the 'lower' truths, he talks of a 'singular transcendent middle' p. 11
gassho
Rory
Hi Rory,

No problem! And please don't take my lengthy delays in replying here to mean I don't value the input. I do indeed value the discussion, I just need to find the chance to get onto Dharmwheel! :twothumbsup:

In regards to your question, there is a great deal I could say here, but I'd like to keep that for our running commentary here. In short though, the passage you quote is Donner and Stevensons attempt to lay out the structure of the Three Truths, and some of the conceptual pitfalls that come with it. See lower on the same page where they comment: "Chih-i disabuses the middle of any hint of ontological integrity and characterizes it as utterly decentred. Thus in becomes a non-middle, an inconceivable (不可思議) middle that effaces itself in a simultaneous "identity with emptiness, identity with provisionality, and identity with the middle", where "any one [perspective] interfuses with all three, and the three, one".

Gassho,

Jikai.
"止觀明靜前代未聞"
(摩訶止觀)

"此妙法蓮花經者本地甚深之奧藏也"
( 法華玄義)

"觀心者空觀是般若假觀是解脫中觀是法身"
(法華文句)

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Re: Mohe Zhiguan Study Thread 摩訶止觀 Part 1

Post by jikai » Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:32 am

Hi all, Just a heads up that the new section of notes is up on the website. Enjoy!

http://tendaiaustralia.org.au/Mohe-Zhig ... l-摩訶止觀.php

Gassho,

Jikai
"止觀明靜前代未聞"
(摩訶止觀)

"此妙法蓮花經者本地甚深之奧藏也"
( 法華玄義)

"觀心者空觀是般若假觀是解脫中觀是法身"
(法華文句)

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Re: Mohe Zhiguan Study Thread 摩訶止觀 Part 1

Post by jikai » Mon Apr 02, 2018 5:19 am

Hi all, just found a silly error on my part in the pdf. Lapse of concentration perhaps. In the early part of the pdf, I wrote the following:

terms Phenomenal and Principle (事理) would take us far away from
the topics at hand. These terms pre-date Buddhism in China, and are quite essential to an
understanding of Chinese Thought. The usage of these terms is very much like the use of the term
tiyong (體用) or Essence/Substance and Function respectively. In its most basic usage, the former
term in both,
refers to the concrete reality of the world, while the latter term refers to the
underlying ‘principle of reality’, the genuine underlying truth of the matter. We might say that the
former is the concrete manifestation of the latter.


The part in bold represents my lapse in concentration. 體 and 理 refers to theunderlying ‘principle of reality’, the genuine underlying truth of the matter and 用 and 事 refers to the concrete reality of the world. Silly lapse on my part. Sorry everyone. I'll fix it up in the notes later.

Gassho,

Jikai.
"止觀明靜前代未聞"
(摩訶止觀)

"此妙法蓮花經者本地甚深之奧藏也"
( 法華玄義)

"觀心者空觀是般若假觀是解脫中觀是法身"
(法華文句)

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Re: Mohe Zhiguan Study Thread 摩訶止觀 Part 1

Post by jikai » Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:47 am

jikai wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 5:19 am
Hi all, just found a silly error on my part in the pdf. Lapse of concentration perhaps. In the early part of the pdf, I wrote the following:

terms Phenomenal and Principle (事理) would take us far away from
the topics at hand. These terms pre-date Buddhism in China, and are quite essential to an
understanding of Chinese Thought. The usage of these terms is very much like the use of the term
tiyong (體用) or Essence/Substance and Function respectively. In its most basic usage, the former
term in both,
refers to the concrete reality of the world, while the latter term refers to the
underlying ‘principle of reality’, the genuine underlying truth of the matter. We might say that the
former is the concrete manifestation of the latter.


The part in bold represents my lapse in concentration. 體 and 理 refers to theunderlying ‘principle of reality’, the genuine underlying truth of the matter and 用 and 事 refers to the concrete reality of the world. Silly lapse on my part. Sorry everyone. I'll fix it up in the notes later.

Gassho,

Jikai.
PDF has bow been updated and corrected
"止觀明靜前代未聞"
(摩訶止觀)

"此妙法蓮花經者本地甚深之奧藏也"
( 法華玄義)

"觀心者空觀是般若假觀是解脫中觀是法身"
(法華文句)

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Re: Mohe Zhiguan Study Thread 摩訶止觀 Part 1

Post by Seishin » Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:45 am

I'm still plowing through my copy of the Maka Shikan so I'm a little bit behind, but catching up. So I may be quiet for a little while just yet. A million thanks to Rev Jikai Sensei for taking the time to do this for us. It is invaluable to all of us, not just us English speaking Tendai folk. Thank you :bow: :bow: :bow:

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Re: Mohe Zhiguan Study Thread 摩訶止觀 Part 1

Post by Queequeg » Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:55 pm

Rev. Jikai,
Took me a while to get to and the through the latest notes. Steep curve! Looking forward to the hard stuff! LOL
Thank you!
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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Re: Mohe Zhiguan Study Thread 摩訶止觀 Part 1

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Thu May 03, 2018 9:14 pm

Finally got around to buying the three volumes.

A simple question or two about Chih-i's birth, where he appeared to have "double pupils". What exactly does that portend?

Is it an odd physical feature or symbolic of seeing deeper with wisdom or clairvoyance or...??
There is a deity within us who breathes that divine fire by which we are animated. -- Ovid

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Re: Mohe Zhiguan Study Thread 摩訶止觀 Part 1

Post by Coëmgenu » Thu May 03, 2018 9:20 pm

Nicholas Weeks wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 9:14 pm
Finally got around to buying the three volumes.

A simple question or two about Chih-i's birth, where he appeared to have "double pupils". What exactly does that portend?

Is it an odd physical feature or symbolic of seeing deeper with wisdom or clairvoyance or...??
This might be vaguely interesting and relevant to you.

It is an article designed to hype up the latest "The Mummy" reboot by trying to get people interested in it. Pure saṃsāra.

It happens to touch on what you speak of, though.

https://www.inverse.com/article/24739-t ... -ahmanet-p

It seems in the West that it is mostly associated with witchcraft.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.

吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

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Re: Mohe Zhiguan Study Thread 摩訶止觀 Part 1

Post by Coëmgenu » Thu May 03, 2018 9:22 pm

I'm an albino with red hair, though. Lots of traditions say the same business about me.

Odd attributes will attract odd descriptors.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.

吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

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Re: Mohe Zhiguan Study Thread 摩訶止觀 Part 1

Post by Queequeg » Fri May 04, 2018 3:44 pm

IIRC, Lao Tzu was said to have been born an old man... some speculate this means he was albino...

BTW, speaking of Lao Tzu, its pretty neat that this fella was a librarian for his day job.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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Re: Mohe Zhiguan Study Thread 摩訶止觀 Part 1

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Fri May 04, 2018 5:45 pm

Thanks Queequeg for your speculations and eye physiology report. With the latter I am familiar.

What I was hoping to hear about was the Tien-tai tradition on 'double pupils', not modern responses.
There is a deity within us who breathes that divine fire by which we are animated. -- Ovid

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Re: Mohe Zhiguan Study Thread 摩訶止觀 Part 1

Post by Queequeg » Fri May 04, 2018 5:51 pm

Hi Nicholas, sorry about the off topic speculation.

I think we need to wait for Jikai to chime in.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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Re: Mohe Zhiguan Study Thread 摩訶止觀 Part 1

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Sun May 06, 2018 1:26 am

Just discovered that in volume three Swanson did his own translation of the small Chih-kuan that Dharmamitra (and several others) did. However Bhikshu Dharmamitra used the Taisho version, while Swanson used the critical edition of Sekiguchi.
There is a deity within us who breathes that divine fire by which we are animated. -- Ovid

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Re: Mohe Zhiguan Study Thread 摩訶止觀 Part 1

Post by jikai » Mon May 07, 2018 10:00 am

Nicholas Weeks wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 5:45 pm
Thanks Queequeg for your speculations and eye physiology report. With the latter I am familiar.

What I was hoping to hear about was the Tien-tai tradition on 'double pupils', not modern responses.
Hi all,

Just a quick heads up to say that I will be uploading the next lot of notes soon. I will most likely divide the next section into two as it ballooned in size, above my expectations. So hopefully in the next few days.

In regards to your question Nicholas, this is a decidedly Chinese particularity rather than a specifically Tiantai one. 'Double Pupils' are one of the auspicious signs given in the Chinese Book of Histories 史集 to Sage Kings. It is find in a number of other classics as well of course. In general it implies site or insight which others do not posses, but in Zhiyi's case it does a few other things as well. Rather than simply drawing a parallel with the Sage Kings of old, these same Sage Kings came to be seen as almost parallel to Cakravartin, and so to give Zhiyi double-pupils is to call him a Dharma King. So it acts very much in the same way as the mahapurusa or Marks of a Great Person.

We have to remember that in the years after Zhiyi's death, there was substantial criticism of Buddhism levelled by Confucians in particular. This ranged from fairly simply complaints about monastacism being the antithesis of Confucian 'relations' - Confucians hold that the correct application of intimate human relationships such as between husband and wife, father and son, etc leads to macro-harmony between subjects and ruler etc. Buddhist Monastacism was a direct affront to such systems because it severed such relations. One must conclude that the Chinese term 出家 or 'Home/Family Leaver' caused considerable displeasure for example. The point being that Chinese Buddhists were especially eager to prove themselves worthy not just in the eyes of Buddhists and the tradition, but in the eyes of Confucians, and to a much lesser extent Daoists. Not sure if that answers your question, but its the best I can do off the top of my head.

Some of the stories in Zhiyi's biographies are really cool. There is a story that his works were well-famed in India. Saicho mentions the story in his works too. We might doubt the historical veracity of this story now perhaps. But Saicho's use of it probably explains how the story arose. Saicho mentions it in one of his debates with Tokuitsu, the famous Hosso/Faxiang法相/ East Asian Yogacara. He points out that Zhiyi "shook India from a distance"; that is without having to travel there, he had admirers. The point is to stand this example of Zhiyi up against Xuanzang, founder of the Faxiang School, who had to travel to India to be of any consequence there. It is a fascinating read. If I recall correctly it says that Indian Monks visiting Mt Wutai asked Chinese Monks to translate Tiantai texts for them into Sanskrit.

Other stories suggest that Zhiyi taught Jizang (founder of Sanron/Sanlun/三論/ East Asian Madhyamaka about the Lotus Sutra. This one is perhaps less far-fetched but one could easily think of motivation for embellishing their relationship. The curious fact that Jizang's Fahua Xuanlun mirrors Zhiyi's Fahua Xuanyi in many places for one. :jawdrop:


Gassho,

Jikai
"止觀明靜前代未聞"
(摩訶止觀)

"此妙法蓮花經者本地甚深之奧藏也"
( 法華玄義)

"觀心者空觀是般若假觀是解脫中觀是法身"
(法華文句)

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Re: Mohe Zhiguan Study Thread 摩訶止觀 Part 1

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Mon May 07, 2018 6:57 pm

Many thanks Jikai, your response is clarifying!

As for the life of this bodhisattva, any generally accepted traditions about who he was in any of his rebirths?

No support for this notion, but his depth & comprehensiveness in presenting buddhadharma, reminds one of Je Tsongkhapa.
There is a deity within us who breathes that divine fire by which we are animated. -- Ovid

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Re: Mohe Zhiguan Study Thread 摩訶止觀 Part 1

Post by Queequeg » Mon May 07, 2018 7:34 pm

jikai wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 10:00 am
There is a story that his works were well-famed in India.
IIRC this is referred to in the Fahuazhuanyi - Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra and attributed to one of Zhiyi's direct disciples. I vaguely recall that Indian scholars wanted translations of Zhiyi's works at that time - is this the same story that you relate about the Indian monks at Wutaishan? How is that claim FHHI evaluated by scholars?
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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Re: Mohe Zhiguan Study Thread 摩訶止觀 Part 1

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Tue May 15, 2018 6:01 pm

Both Donner-Stevenson & Swanson agree that the heart or distilled essence of this text, and I suppose of Tien-tai itself, is this paragraph. Swanson's version is on pp 99-101, but here is the D-S version from 1993, pp 112-14:
Perfect and Sudden Calming and Contemplation

[1c23] The perfect and sudden calming and contemplation from the very beginning takes ultimate reality (shih-hsiang) as its object. No matter what the object of contemplation might be, it is seen to be identical to the middle. There is here nothing that is not true reality (chen-shih). When one fixes [the mind] on the dharmadhātu [as object] and unifies one's mindfulness with the dharmadhātu [as it is], then there is not a single sight nor smell that is not the middle way. The same goes for the realm of self, the realm of Buddha, and the realm of living beings. Since all aggregates (skandha) and sense-accesses (āyatana) [of body and mind] are thusness, there is no suffering to be cast away. Since nescience and the afflictions are themselves identical with enlightenment (bodhi), there is no origin of suffering to be eradicated. Since the two extreme views are the middle way and false views are the right view, there is no path to be cultivated. Since samsāra is identical with nirvāna, there is no cessation to be achieved. Because of the [intrinsic] inexistence of suffering and its origin, the mundane does not exist; because of the inexistence of the path and cessation, the supramundane does not exist. A single, unalloyed reality (shih-hsiang) is all there is --- no entities whatever exist outside of it. That all entities are by nature quiescent (chi) is called "calming" (chih); that, though quiescent, this nature is ever luminous (chao), is called "contemplation" (kuan). Though a verbal distinction is made between earlier and later stages of practice, there is ultimately no duality, no distinction between them. This is what is called the "perfect and sudden calming and contemplation."
Several profound themes for meditation here in this pith teaching.
There is a deity within us who breathes that divine fire by which we are animated. -- Ovid

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Re: Mohe Zhiguan Study Thread 摩訶止觀 Part 1

Post by Queequeg » Thu May 17, 2018 3:43 pm

Nicholas Weeks wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 6:01 pm
Both Donner-Stevenson & Swanson agree that the heart or distilled essence of this text, and I suppose of Tien-tai itself, is this paragraph. Swanson's version is on pp 99-101, but here is the D-S version from 1993, pp 112-14:
Perfect and Sudden Calming and Contemplation

[1c23] The perfect and sudden calming and contemplation from the very beginning takes ultimate reality (shih-hsiang) as its object. No matter what the object of contemplation might be, it is seen to be identical to the middle. There is here nothing that is not true reality (chen-shih). When one fixes [the mind] on the dharmadhātu [as object] and unifies one's mindfulness with the dharmadhātu [as it is], then there is not a single sight nor smell that is not the middle way. The same goes for the realm of self, the realm of Buddha, and the realm of living beings. Since all aggregates (skandha) and sense-accesses (āyatana) [of body and mind] are thusness, there is no suffering to be cast away. Since nescience and the afflictions are themselves identical with enlightenment (bodhi), there is no origin of suffering to be eradicated. Since the two extreme views are the middle way and false views are the right view, there is no path to be cultivated. Since samsāra is identical with nirvāna, there is no cessation to be achieved. Because of the [intrinsic] inexistence of suffering and its origin, the mundane does not exist; because of the inexistence of the path and cessation, the supramundane does not exist. A single, unalloyed reality (shih-hsiang) is all there is --- no entities whatever exist outside of it. That all entities are by nature quiescent (chi) is called "calming" (chih); that, though quiescent, this nature is ever luminous (chao), is called "contemplation" (kuan). Though a verbal distinction is made between earlier and later stages of practice, there is ultimately no duality, no distinction between them. This is what is called the "perfect and sudden calming and contemplation."
Several profound themes for meditation here in this pith teaching.
:applause:

I think it can rightly be said that the rest of the MHCK is an expansion and explanation of this.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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Re: Mohe Zhiguan Study Thread 摩訶止觀 Part 1

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri May 18, 2018 12:35 am

Queequeg wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 3:43 pm
Nicholas Weeks wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 6:01 pm
Both Donner-Stevenson & Swanson agree that the heart or distilled essence of this text, and I suppose of Tien-tai itself, is this paragraph. Swanson's version is on pp 99-101, but here is the D-S version from 1993, pp 112-14:
Perfect and Sudden Calming and Contemplation

[1c23] The perfect and sudden calming and contemplation from the very beginning takes ultimate reality (shih-hsiang) as its object. No matter what the object of contemplation might be, it is seen to be identical to the middle. There is here nothing that is not true reality (chen-shih). When one fixes [the mind] on the dharmadhātu [as object] and unifies one's mindfulness with the dharmadhātu [as it is], then there is not a single sight nor smell that is not the middle way. The same goes for the realm of self, the realm of Buddha, and the realm of living beings. Since all aggregates (skandha) and sense-accesses (āyatana) [of body and mind] are thusness, there is no suffering to be cast away. Since nescience and the afflictions are themselves identical with enlightenment (bodhi), there is no origin of suffering to be eradicated. Since the two extreme views are the middle way and false views are the right view, there is no path to be cultivated. Since samsāra is identical with nirvāna, there is no cessation to be achieved. Because of the [intrinsic] inexistence of suffering and its origin, the mundane does not exist; because of the inexistence of the path and cessation, the supramundane does not exist. A single, unalloyed reality (shih-hsiang) is all there is --- no entities whatever exist outside of it. That all entities are by nature quiescent (chi) is called "calming" (chih); that, though quiescent, this nature is ever luminous (chao), is called "contemplation" (kuan). Though a verbal distinction is made between earlier and later stages of practice, there is ultimately no duality, no distinction between them. This is what is called the "perfect and sudden calming and contemplation."
Several profound themes for meditation here in this pith teaching.
:applause:

I think it can rightly be said that the rest of the MHCK is an expansion and explanation of this.
The union of mind and dharmatā. This seems to be the common motive linking the various sects and movements of Buddhism.

My current signature is from " The Flower Plucked and the Faint Smile", an apocryphal Chinese text from the Zen tradition.

It mentions a special dispensation outside of scriptures.

Ironically, I think it is this same fundamentally wordless transmission that is at the heart of the Lotus Sūtra when it speaks of "this sūtra".
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.

吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

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Re: Mohe Zhiguan Study Thread 摩訶止觀 Part 1

Post by Queequeg » Fri May 18, 2018 1:19 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 12:35 am
The union of mind and dharmatā. This seems to be the common motive linking the various sects and movements of Buddhism.
This may warrant its own thread.

This may be the most 'religious' idea in Buddhism, and certainly some forms of Mahayana. It's comparable to Einstein's theory of relativity - E=mc2. Here the assertion is matter=mind.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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