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The Harmony of Emptiness and Dependent-Arising in the Middle Way Consequence School



(From: Presentation of Tenets)

Jang-gya


1717-1786

Gelukpa School

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From: Emptiness Yoga



The Tibetan Middle Way

Jeffrey Hopkins

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In-depth exposition of the methods for realizing the highest view of emptiness from the Prasangika Madhyamika school based on Jang-gya's renowned exposition of the major Buddhist tenets. The author takes pains to make the presentation approachable and experiential throughout.



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Sub-section titles are in the form: L#: […].

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L1: [CONTENTS] :L1



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L1: [CONTENTS] :L1

L1: [Preface] :L1

L1: [Technical Note] :L1

L1: [The Harmony of Emptiness and Dependent-Arising in the Middle Way Consequence School – Jang-gya] :L1

L2: [Definition of a Consequentialist] :L2

L4: [I. Definition of a consequentialist] :L4

L2: [Self ] :L2

L4: [II. Assertions of tenets] :L4

L5: [II.A. How to Settle the View of the Bases] :L5

L6: [II.A.1. What is negated in relation to what [THE OBJECT OF NEGATION] :L6

L2: [Purpose of Reasoning] :L2

L6: [II.A.2. Settling the selflessness that is the negative of the object of negation [THE EMPTINESS OF INHERENT EXISTENCE OF THE OBJECT OF NEGATION] :L6

L7: [II.A.2.a. An identification of the main reasonings refuting the object of negation] :L7

L8: [II.A.2.a.1) PURPOSE of refuting the object of negation [through reasonings] :L8

L8: [II.A.2.a.2) Identification of THE [FIVE] MAIN REASONINGS] :L8

L2: [Refuting a Self of Phenomena] :L2

L7: [II.A.2.b. How those reasonings refute the object of negation, the two selves] :L7

L8: [II.A.2.b.1) REASONINGS REFUTING A SELF OF PHENOMENA] :L8

L9: [a) Explaining the reasoning of THE DIAMOND FRAGMENTS (#1) refuting production of the four extreme types 225] :L9

L10: [1’ Refutation of Production from SELF] :L10

L10: [2’ Refutation of Production from OTHER] :L10

L10: [3’ Refutation of Production From BOTH SELF AND OTHER] :L10

L10: [4’ Refutation of CAUSELESS Production – NEITHER SELF OR OTHER] :L10

L9: [b) REFUTATION OF PRODUCTION OF THE FOUR ALTERNATIVES [about cause(s) and effect(s) (#5)] :L9

L9: [c) REASONING REFUTING PRODUCTION OF THE EXISTENT AND NON-EXISTENT [Is the effect existent, non-existent, both, neither? (#4)] :L9

L9: [d) REASONING REFUTING BEING ONE OR MANY ( )] :L9

L2: [Refuting a Self of Persons] :L2

L8: [II.A.2.b.2) REASONING REFUTING A SELF OF PERSONS] :L8

L9: [a) Ascertaining the self as not inherently existent] :L9

L10: [1’ Stating the Example [ANALYZING CHARIOT IN THE SEVEN WAYS (#2)] :L10

L10: [2’ Applying the Example to the Meaning [is the self the same or different than the five aggregates] :L10

L11: [a’ Refutation of Oneness / THE SAME] :L11

L11: [b’ Refutation of the Position That the Self and the Aggregates are DIFFERENT] :L11

L11: [c’ How THE REMAINING [OF THE SEVEN] POSITIONS are Refuted by These Reasonings] :L11

L9: [b) Showing that this [ascertainment of persons as not inherently existent] also establishes the mine as not inherently existent] :L9

L9: [c) How this reasoning is applied to other phenomena] :L9

L2: [Dependent-Arising] :L2

L8: [3) KING OF REASONINGS, THE REASON OF DEPENDENT-ARISING (#3), REFUTING A SELF OF BOTH PERSONS AND PHENOMENA] :L8

L9: [a) Actual explanation of dependent-arising] :L9

L9: [b) How the other reasonings derive from dependent-arising] :L9

L1: [Commentary by Hopkins] :L1

L2: [1 - Jang-gya's Biography] :L2

L3: [Famous Students] :L3

L3: [Jang-Gya's Writings] :L3

L2: [2 - Consequentialists] :L2

L4: [I. Definition of a consequentialist] :L4

L2: [3 - Self] :L2

L4: [II. Assertions of tenets] :L4

L5: [II.A. How to settle the view of the bases] :L5

L6: [II.A.1. What is negated in relation to what [THE OBJECT OF NEGATION] :L6

L2: [4 - False Appearance [Realizing the emptiness of a self is not enough; we also need to realize the emptiness of phenomena] :L2

L2: [5 - Own Thing [ -- the emptiness of what ?] :L2

L2: [6 – Validity -- Emptiness means not inherently existing, not completely non-existing either] :L2

L2: [7 - Withdrawal Is Not Sufficient] :L2

L2: [8 - Reasoned Refutation] :L2

L6: [II.A.2. Settling the selflessness that is the negative of the object of negation] :L6

L7: [II.A.2.a. An identification of the main reasonings refuting the object of negation] :L7

L8: [II.A.2.a.1) PURPOSE of refuting the object of negation] :L8

L2: [9 - The Main Reasonings] :L2

L8: [II.A.2.a.2) Identification of THE [FIVE] MAIN REASONINGS] :L8

L2: [10 - Can Something Give Birth to Itself?] :L2

L7: [II.A.2.b. How those reasonings refute the objects of negation, the two selves] :L7

L8: [II.A.2.b.1) Reasonings refuting a SELF OF PHENOMENA] :L8

L9: [a) Explaining the reasoning of THE DIAMOND FRAGMENTS (#1) refuting production of the four extreme types] :L9

L10: [0’ Showing that there are only four possibilities to cover using the Consequentialist method – to show that they all lead to absurd consequences and thus cannot be true] :L10

L10: [1’ Refutation of production FROM SELF [cause & effect being the same] :L10

L2: [11 - Does a Plant Grow?] :L2

L10: [2’ Refutation of production FROM OTHER [cause & effect being different] :L10

L10: [3’ Refutation of production FROM BOTH SELF AND OTHER] :L10

L10: [4’ Refutation of CAUSELESS production – FROM NEITHER SELF OR OTHER] :L10

L10: [Conclusion: Emptiness of production and existence] :L10

L10: [Without falling into nihilism] :L10

L2: [12 - Inducing Realization] :L2

L3: [Comments on the refutation of production] :L3

L3: [The Reasoning [only showing that things do not exist the way they appear] :L3

L5: [On the advantage of the Sevenfold Reasoning compared to the other reasonings: ] :L5

L5: [This is not just an abstract reasoning; it has to be seen in things in front of us] :L5

L5: [From conceptual understanding to direct cognition of emptiness] :L5

L5: [The Four Noble Truths and the true refuge] :L5

L5: [Watching not to fall into nothingness, reifying emptiness] :L5

L2: [13 - Other Reasonings] :L2

L9: [b) REFUTATION OF PRODUCTION OF THE FOUR ALTERNATIVES [about cause and effect ( #5)] :L9

L9: [c) REASONING REFUTING PRODUCTION OF THE EXISTENT AND NON-EXISTENT [Is the effect existent, non-existent, both, neither? (#4)] :L9

L9: [d) REASONING OF THE LACK OF BEING ONE OR MANY (part of reasoning #2)] :L9

L2: [14 - The Sevenfold Reasoning: Background] :L2

L8: [II.A.2.b.2) Reasoning for ascertaining the SELFLESSNESS OF PERSONS] :L8

L9: [a) Ascertaining the self as not inherently existent] :L9

L10: [Nagarjuna’s fivefold reasoning] :L10

L10: [Nagarjuna’s fivefold reasoning can be reduced to “sameness or difference”] :L10

L10: [The Sutra’s 4 x 5 fold reasoning] :L10

L10: [The benefits of Chandrakirti’s sevenfold reasoning: adding two more negations having the same meaning as sameness] :L10

L10: [The nine steps of Chandrakirti’s sevenfold reasoning] :L10

L2: [15 - The Example: A Chariot] :L2

L10: [The sevenfold reasoning] :L10

L11: [1’ Stating the example [ANALYZING CHARIOT IN THE SEVEN WAYS - #2] :L11

L12: [First, SAMENESS] :L12

L12: [Second, DIFFERENCE] :L12

L12: [Third & fourth, the chariot depends on the parts, the parts depends on the chariot] :L12

L12: [Fifth, possession] :L12

L12: [Sixth, the mere collection of its parts] :L12

L12: [Seventh, the shape of its parts] :L12

L12: [Realizing emptiness without falling into nihilism] :L12

L2: [16 - Bringing the Reasoning to Life] :L2

L3: [Comments] :L3

L3: [Being Unfindable and Yet Being Validly Established] :L3

L3: [Determining the Entailment] :L3

L2: [17 - I as a Basis of Emptiness] :L2

L11: [2’ Applying the example to the meaning [is the self the same or different than the five aggregates] :L11

L12: [a’ Refutation of Oneness [THE SAME] :L12

L12: [b’ Refutation of the position that the self and the aggregates are DIFFERENT] :L12

L12: [c’ How THE REMAINING [OF THE SEVEN] POSITIONS are refuted by these reasonings] :L12

L3: [Comments] :L3

L2: [18 - Compatibility of Emptiness and Nominal Existence] :L2

L2: [19 - Extending the Realization] :L2

L9: [b) Showing that this [ascertainment of persons as not inherently existent] also establishes the mine as not inherently existent] :L9

L9: [c) How this reasoning is applied to other phenomena] :L9

L2: [20 - Dependent-Arising] :L2

L8: [II.A.2.b.3) THE KING OF REASONINGS, THE REASON OF DEPENDENT-ARISING (#3)] :L8

L9: [a) Actual explanation of dependent-arising] :L9

L2: [21 - The Centrality of Dependent-Arising] :L2

L9: [b) How the other reasonings derive from dependent-arising] :L9

L1: [Outline of Jang-gya's Text] :L1

L1: [Notes] :L1

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L1: [Preface] :L1



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In 1973, when I was finishing my doctoral dissertation, Meditation on Emptiness, 1 also was meeting with a small number of fellow graduate students in the University of Wisconsin Buddhist Studies program to give commentary on a similar text on emptiness. My intent was to open up the topic — to make it accessible — both by supplying necessary doctrinal points and by making suggestions on how to enter into this world-view in a personal, confrontational sense. Although alive to culture-bound dimensions of religious teachings, I by no means consider that all religious teachings are so culture bound that they have no applicability to persons of another culture. Rather, I hold that religious and philosophical teachings must be confronted in a personal way, within knowledge of a culture, gradually constructing the world-view of a system and allowing it to resonate with one's inner being. I hope, therefore, that when I present perspectives of Tibetan Buddhists, no one will make the mistake of thinking that I am putting these forward as necessarily the preferable world-view.

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Fascinated and challenged by Tibetan Buddhist teachings, I try in this book to bring the doctrine of emptiness down from the clouds of abstract discourse to everyday relevance. This relevance, however, is by no means easy to absorb; rather, the system takes meaning within an extensive, intricate, highly developed architecture of religious doctrine and practice. Thus, the book not only speaks to nitty-gritty problems but also simultaneously stimulates the grand metaphysical imagination, the latter for me being reminiscent of a story of an imaginary land. My studies with the tantric abbot Ngawang Lekden and several other lamas have molded the style of my presentation of this imaginary land of metaphysical insight; he could tell any story, whether historical or philosophical, as if he knew every detail from intimate experience. Thus, some sections of my commentary may sound as if I am speaking from profound realization, standing at the gates of the city of emptiness beckoning the reader to enter. Actually, as should be clear from the more mundane examples found in my commentary, I am an enthusiastic story-teller who has struggled to bring what many pass off as abstract prattle down to a level of personal relevance.



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To do this, I take much that is presented in the system for granted and thus do not probe claims of historical accuracy, etc. The focus, therefore, is on intimate encounter with a world-view that questions the basic appearance of objects — their appearance as if they exist in their own right — and thus challenges emotions built on the presumed correct appearance of persons and other objects. It is at once a beautiful vision and a harrowing emotional challenge.

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The two threads of my commentary on the Tibetan text — once scattered pieces of background information setting the scene have been explained in the first several chapters — are to draw the reader into playful but serious consideration of the implications of emptiness and to consider typical objections, sometimes seemingly bizarre but quite understandable such as "You're not trying to say that I wouldn't feel it if someone cut off my ear, are you?" I hope that the approach — externalized as advice to others on how to probe the meaning of the doctrine of emptiness but actually a reminder of my own attempts to internalize these doctrines — is of use to those who consider religion and philosophy as something more than abstract formalism or idle speculation.



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The lectures were edited into book form by Professor Joe B. Wilson of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. After his laborious and painstaking work, I again edited the text twice, adding an initial chapter on the biography of jang-gya, the author of the Tibetan text that serves as the basis for commentary and adding footnotes. Without Joe Wilson's attention, the work never would have been brought to completion.

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The book could not have been attempted without the kind teaching that I have received on an almost day to day basis from many Tibetan lamas over the last twenty-three years. Close dialogue with them has brought these doctrines, which otherwise would have seem to be mere public stances, to life.



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I would like to thank Dr. Elizabeth S. Napper for making copious editorial suggestions and both Gareth Sparham and Guy M. Newland for typing several chapters. As usual, Professor Richard B. Martin of Alderman Library at the University of Virginia has been of immense bibliographical assistance.

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Charlottesville, Virginia -- Jeffrey Hopkins



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L1: [Technical Note] :L1



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The names of Tibetan authors and orders are given in "essay phonetics" for the sake of easy pronunciation; for a discussion of the system used, see the Technical Note at the beginning of Meditation on Emptiness, pp. 19-22. The marks for high tones are given in only the first chapter and the notes. Transliteration of Tibetan in parentheses and in the glossary is done in accordance with a system devised by Turrell Wylie; see "A Standard System of Tibetan Transcription", Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 22, 1959, pp. 261-7. For the names of Indian scholars and systems used in the body of the text, ch, sh, and sh are used instead of the more usual c, s, and s for the sake of easy pronunciation by non-specialists.

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In the translation portion, with the first occurrence of each title, the Tibetan and, if appropriate, Sanskrit are given in a note. The full Tibetan and Sanskrit titles are to be found in the bibliography, which is arranged alphabetically according to the English titles of sutras and tantras and according to the authors of other works. Often Jang-gya refers only to the title or the author of a work, whereas both are given in translation to obviate the need for checking back and forth. Jang-gya's text, without commentary, is given in a separate section in the back of the book; six chapter headings have been added to facilitate understanding. In order to aid in finding the material in the Tibetan text corresponding to the translation, an outline of Jang-gya's text is given at the beginning of the translation section with corresponding page numbers in the commentary, translation, and Tibetan text, and a list of page numbers going from the Tibetan to the English is provided in an appendix. For a glossary of English, Sanskrit, and Tibetan terms, see Meditation on Emptiness, pp. 737-753.



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The footnotes often identify where corresponding topics are discussed in Meditation on Emptiness for those who want more elaboration.

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L1: [The Harmony of Emptiness and Dependent-Arising in the Middle Way Consequence School – Jang-gya] :L1



L2: [Definition of a Consequentialist] :L2

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Brief expression of the system of the glorious middle way consequence school, supreme summit of all schools of tenets, bearing the subduer's own system



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[The explanation of the Consequence School] is in two parts:

-- definition and

-- assertions of tenets.

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¢(i.e. Note: Santaraksita's syllogism about the true nature of phenomena is accepted by Prasangika and Svatantrika alike; it is the nature of the reflection that they dispute.)



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L4: [I. Definition of a consequentialist] :L4

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The means of positing, or definition of, A CONSEQUENTIALIST IS:



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~ a Proponent of the Middle Way School who asserts that it is not necessary to establish the modes of a reason from the viewpoint of the common appearance of the subject [of a debate] to non-mistaken valid cognitions of both disputants through the force of an objective mode of subsistence of things, but rather that an inferential consciousness cognizing selflessness is generated by a reason which has the three modes and which, leading only from the other party's assertions, is approved by that very other party.

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Furthermore, in that way Chandrakirti's Clear Words106 gives, together with [showing its] correctness, the reason why a thesis is proven by a reason approved by the other party and why autonomous [syllogisms] should not be asserted:



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~ With regard to an inference for one's own purpose, [even you say that] just what is established for oneself is weightier at all [times], not what is established for both [oneself and an opponent, for in an inference for one's own purpose there is no opponent]. Therefore, expression of the definitions of logic [as they are renowned in the systems of the Autonomists and below]107 is not needed because the Buddhas help beings — trainees who do not know suchness — with reasoning as it is renowned to those [beings].

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Chandrakirti also indicates this with a worldly example; his Clear Words says:109



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~ It is just by a reason established for oneself, not by one established for the other [disputant], since such is seen in the world. In the world, sometimes [one party] prevails and [the other] is defeated by the word of a judge whom both take to be valid and sometimes by just one's own word, but victory or defeat is not by the other's word. Just as it is in the world, so it is also in logic because only the conventions of the world are appropriate in treatises of logic.

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Positing the import of [being] a Consequentialist in that way is the flawless thought of [Chandrakirti's] text.



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Tsong Khapa’s Great Exposition of the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (Lam-Rim-Chen-Mo) says:

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~ Proving a thesis with a reason that is established for both parties with valid cognitions such as were explained previously is called an autonomous reason.



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~ One who proves a thesis not that way, but through the three aspects [of a reason] approved by the other party is posited as a Consequentialist. It is very clear that this [explanation of the meaning of being a Consequentialist] is the thought of the master [Chandrakirti].

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In that case, a Consequentialist may also be defined as a Proponent of the Middle Way School who, without accepting autonomy, asserts that an inferring consciousness cognizing an absence of true existence is generated merely through what is approved by the other [party]. Moreover, it is suitable to give THE DEFINITION OF A CONSEQUENTIALIST AS: A PROPONENT OF THE MIDDLE WAY SCHOOL WHO DOES NOT ACCEPT, EVEN CONVENTIONALLY, PHENOMENA THAT ARE ESTABLISHED BY WAY OF THEIR OWN CHARACTER.



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Furthermore, the final root of the Consequentialists' many uncommon ways of positing the two truths is this non-assertion of establishment of objects by way of their own character even conventionally.

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Chandrakirti's Auto-commentary on the "Supplement to (Nagarjuna's) 'Treatise on the Middle Way' "110 says:123



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~ May scholars ascertain that, in terms of the doctrine of emptiness, the system which appears in this [treatise] — set out together with objections and answers to any [other] system — does not exist in other treatises.

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He is saying that his own [Consequence School] system is not shared with commentaries by other Proponents of the Middle Way School [such as those by Autonomists, including Bhavaviveka].



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In explaining the meaning of that passage, the Foremost Great Being [Tsong Khapa] says in his Essence of the Good Explanations (Essence of True Eloquence):124

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~ In the [Consequentialists'] own system, phenomena that are established by way of their own character are not asserted even conventionally, whereas those [Proponents of True Existence] only posit [all phenomena] in the context of that [establishment of objects by way of their own character].



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Earlier Tibetan scholars also used the term "Thoroughly Non-Abiding Proponents of the Middle Way School" [for the Consequentialists]. This appears to be based on a statement in the master Shura's [i.e., Ashvaghosha's] Essay on the Stages of Cultivating the Ultimate Mind of Enlightenment:126

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~ Through synonyms such as emptiness, [suchness, final reality] and so forth,



~ Limitless examples such as likeness with a magician's illusions, [dreams, mirages] and so forth

~ And the skillful means of a variety of vehicles,

~ [Buddha] characterized the meaning of the middle way not abiding [in any gross or subtle extremes].

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Moreover, in reports of statements by the Foremost Elder [Atisha] this convention [of calling Consequentialists "Thoroughly Non-Abiding Proponents of the Middle Way School"] occurs, and it also does not appear that the Foremost Father [Tsong Khapa] and his spiritual sons [Gyel-tsap and Kay-drup]127 refuted it. Although there are a couple [of scholars] who say that Shura's text was not written by the master Shura, such is exhausted as a mere thesis without proof. It appears that all the great chariots [i.e., path-blazing leaders] of the snowy land [Tibet] as well as all of our own [Gelugpa] scholars and adepts who appeared over the years accepted it as valid.



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A description of different internal divisions in the Middle Way Consequence School, like those in the Autonomy School, does not appear in other texts, and neither is there seen an explanation of divisions of the Consequence School by the Foremost Father and his spiritual sons. [Hence, there are no significant subschools within the Consequence School.]



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