Archive for Spiritual Journey

Yoga With a Master: An Invitation

Journeys of the Spirit is an Australian spiritual travel company. I’ve featured posts before about director, Julie Baker and her staff: Chiara Muzzin, Sarah Gamble, Peter Bliss, Marj Argenta, Cathy Brown, Amanda Hobley, Phoebe Maroulis, and Sue Tredget. If you enjoy traveling to spiritual destinations in order to advance your own spiritual progress or just to relax in a safe, peaceful place, please check out this company: http://www.journeysofthespirit.co.au

Right now they have organized a yoga retreat for March 4 – 18. 2017 at Somertheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort. There are a few cottages left, they write. Here is a video that will introduce you to the master, called by his English name,  James.

The Journeys of the Spirit excursions are well planned, reasonable in price and journeys of a lifetime. Why not find out for yourself and take a leap into a wonderful world?

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5 Best Buddhist Monasteries in India

If you are given another chance to live your life again, how many of you think that you will do better than what you have done so far? Everyone will say yes, right? What if you are given a life to live in such a way that there is no dissatisfaction and disappointment? What if you live a life with no regrets? What if you know your full potential?

The answer to all these ‘what if’s?’ is Nirvana- the Endless happiness or the Eternal bliss.

One such man who answered all these ‘what if’s?’ and who walked on this holy land in the flesh and blood was the great ‘Gautama Buddha’. He preached a great religion called ‘Buddhism’ and has spread happiness all across the world. If you are on a quest to find the essence of Buddha’s teaching, if you want to see the unique Buddhist way of life, then you should search for the Buddhist monasteries.

Buddhist monasteries are the places where all the monks and nuns live in colonies. They cut themselves off from the external world, and they are in constant search of god. They live a simple life as preached by Buddha.

Every year, many tourists come to India to visit the Buddhist monasteries. If once you come to these monasteries, then you might be a different person when you leave.

1. Buddhist Monastery of Ki in Ki Village, India

Surrounded by mountains, accompanied by river waters, the Buddhist monastery of Ki, located in Ki village is one of the most visited Buddhist monasteries in India. This monastery stands as a lone warrior at an altitude of 4,166 m above the sea level in the Spiti Valley. The moment you see this monastery, your heart will be filled with a sense of peace, pleasure, harmony and above all divine happiness.

This monastery has a great reputation for bringing out the hidden feelings of spirituality in you. You will be mesmerized to see the beauty it presents to your eye. The architecture of this monastery is so outstanding that you can’t even blink to miss its beauty.

This monastery holds an important ground in Buddhist mythology. Dromton, who is regarded as a famous Buddhist teacher, is the founder of this magnificent monastery.  The monastery survived a massive earthquake in 1975 and till this day it stands strong.

2.   Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh

Photo by Giridhar Appaji Nag Y

Photo by Giridhar Appaji Nag Y

Tawang monastery in Arunachal Pradesh has been regarded as the largest Buddhist monastery in India. It has succeeded in attracting a large number of tourists with its unique architecture and religious importance. It was placed perfectly at 3300 meters high.

The founder, of this marvelous Buddhist’s wonder is, Merak Lama Lodre Gyatso and was founded in 1680 – 1681. This monastery maintained a close religious relationship with the Drepung monastery, Lhasa.

The Tawang River flows at the foot of the mountain on which the monastery is built, which makes the scenery of this monastery even more outstanding. It is three stories tall and is surrounded with a huge 925 feet long compound wall. Tawang Monastery hosts 65 residential buildings and contains a large library embedded with valuable old scriptures.

Generally, Buddhist monks live a simple life and they stay far from the extravagant life but they also celebrate a few festivals.  Torgya Festival celebrated in this monastery is the most colorful festival and worth watching.

3. Bodh Gaya, Bihar

Photo by Lyle Vincent

Photo by Lyle Vincent

Bodh Gaya is holy to Buddhists as Mecca is holy to Muslims. This is the birthplace of Buddhism. It is believed that this is the place where Buddha, founder of the Buddhism, obtained enlightenment. Undoubtedly, this pilgrimage place attracts more tourists than any other Buddhist place in India.

The monastery in this holy place has a lot of religious as well as historic importance. The pilgrims who come here are in search of peace. So they practice prayer, study and meditate, as these practices, according to Buddha, are the ideal ways of living a purposeful life.

The Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya has been identified as a world heritage site by UNESCO. The monasteries present at this place are outstanding examples for the richness and yet simplicity of the Buddhist civilization back in the olden days. Every Buddhist aspires to travel to this sacred monastery in search of the true Buddhism.

4. Phugtal Gompa, Kargil, Jammu and Kashmir

Photo CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo CC BY-SA 3.0

This monastery is so surprisingly isolated that you can’t even find anything within the area except this monastery. The monks living in this monastery generally don’t get to see persons from the outer world. It can be reached on foot but it tests your courage and patience to reach this beloved destination, Phugtal Gompa Monastery.

This monastery has given place to many scholars and teachers. In the whole Jammu and Kashmir region, it alone holds the system of caves and even it is built around these caves. This has been the prime location of retreat, meditation, and study for many legendary scholars. Many pilgrims experience spiritual transformation at this place.

A large traditional Tibetan medical clinic appears here in this monastery. It is believed that the 16 Arhats (legendary followers of Buddha) settled first in this great monastery. Their images are painted beautifully on the walls.

5. Komik Lundup Tsemo Gompa, Spiti, Himachal Pradesh

This is yet another isolated monastery from the northern part of India. This monastery has a specialty that no other monasteries have in our country; it has a large Buddha statue in it. The statue appears as if a buddha is looking at all of us.

It is a major monastery of the Sakya sect of Buddhism. The walls of this place are painted red and many flags are planted in belief of Lord Buddha. Travelers and pilgrims who pass by this area never miss visiting this monastery. Local people believe that this monastery has divine nature and it keeps you away from all  dangers ahead on the journey. They believe that it safeguards you by the blessings of Lord Buddha.

Author Bio:

Rohit Agarwal is a blogger at Transindiatravels.com. He is also a blogger for several travel and tourism related websites on the internet. He possesses a great passion to explore the hidden feeling of nature and indeed he is chasing his dream and enriching us with his experiences. All photos in this presentation are freely available. Please contact Mr. Agarwal for more information and locations of these 5 Buddhist monasteries.

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Calling 12 Angels to Awakening Spirit Retreat Center

p1050426Have you heard of the retreat center in Arizona call Awakening Spirit? If you need peace and quiet to rest or practice meditation or yoga this is a great spot. According to their newsletter and website, there will be some changes this coming year.

Awakening Spirit has suspended all retreats until spring equinox, March 20th, to make space for 12 angels who answer this call for help and come to play a part in bringing love and light to countless broken hearts and wounded souls. “Calling 12 Angels” is seeking angel hearts to nurture emergent spiritual awakening.

What will you find there?  A tall ponderosa pine forest, herd of several dozen elk, half dozen white tail deer, and countless smaller creatures that include soaring hawks and migrating birds, small cabins complete with kitchens and stoves for heating and the good heart of Bodhi Heart himself. As it says on the website, ” Bodhi Heart lives on-site. He is happy to hold space and to also provide support whenever requested.”

Awakening Spirit is located 1 1/2 hours from Sedona and 2 1/2 hours from the Grand Canyon.

While the Winter Solstice is now passed, Bodhi is just starting to find his 12 angels, so e-mail to find out more details. Sorry I have no phone number for this group.

bodhiheart@gmail.com

http://www.awakeningspiritretreat.com/

 

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Visit the Northern Lights with Journeys of the Spirit

Hopefully you will be in time to join the Australian group, Journeys of the Spirit on their trip to Sweden and Finland to view the Northern Lights. According to their promotion, this October of 2016 will be a very strong time to see the lights. Want to know more about their trip? http://www.journeysofthespirit.com.au

Of course there are lights in Alaska as well and occasionally they extend down into Canada and the Yukon. According to the following video, there are also Southern Lights though for some reason not as bright or varied as the Northern Lights. If you have never seen them in the sky (TV or a video doesn’t count), by all means put it on your “to do” list.

Do you enjoy hearing about spiritual places? Be sure to check out the other posts and the article tab, Mystical/Spiritual Tours and Retreats on the MysticFare.com home page. Know of great places to visit? Please contact us at: contact@mysticfare.com and we will be glad to check them out.

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Top 7 Vipassana Retreat Centers in India

The Vipassana Meditation

Vipassana, “to see things as they really are”, is an age-old way of meditation that deeply involves purification from physical and mental ills by learning through self-observation and thus, engage concentrated restraint on the form and working of one’s physical aspect and how it links with one’s mental health. Over a course of 10 days, one learns to embrace and live in a transformation of self, which brings about a healthy balance in the mind and body.

Vipassana was actually re-discovered by Gautama Buddha nearly 2500 years ago. It is derived from Theravada Buddhism, which is one of the three primary schools in Buddhism, the other two being Mahayana and Vijayana. Taught as a universal remedy for all aches and tribulations, Vipassanna meditation has been passed down an unbroken link of teachers who do not engage in commercial profit but, rather, teach this way of living for free. The present teacher is Mr. S.N. Goenka. This art of meditation is supported by the many people who take part in it and later, leave donations with the good will of passing on the benefits of this ancient code of life.

 

Various Locations

In India alone, there are 73 locations that offer Vipassana mediation as taught by S.N. Goenka. Scattered liberally all over the nation and world, a handful of these various Dhamma meditation centers are revealed below.

  1. Dhamma Bodhi, Bodh Gaya, Bihar

The Bodh Gaya International Vipassana Meditation Center is located in Bodh Gaya, in the state of Bihar towards eastern India. This “Enlightenment of Dhamma” center couldn’t hold a better name signifying its importance. Bodh Gaya holds immense significance for Buddhists as this is the place believed to be the actual site where Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, attained enlightenment, or Bodhimandala, under the widely renowned Bodhi tree which was Gautama Buddha’s site for intense meditation. This is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Being the site of Buddhism’s birth, Bodh Gaya holds a colossal meaning for Buddhists. Holding up to 80 students in every 10-day course, the months from November to February receive the biggest influx of learners.

  1. Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri, Maharashtra

    dhamma-giri

    Photo by Piyushshelare, CC BY-SA 3.0

The largest western state of India, Maharashtra has 25 centers for Vipassana meditation, the largest and most famous of which is the Dhamma Giri in Igatpuri. The meditation courses are held twice a month as this site attracts huge influx of learners. Dhamma Giri, “Hill of Dhamma”, gave out its first course to the public in 1976.

 

 

  1. Dhamma Pattana, Gorai Village, Mumbai, Maharashtra

Dhamma Pattana Vipassana meditation center is one of India’s newest centers, located in Mumbai. What makes it different from other Dhamma retreat centers is that it focuses on people involved in business and other high end vocations. Infusing the classic 10-day retreat along with teachings for applying the same principles to the strains and stresses of the business world, Dhamma Pattana (“Port of Dhamma”) has a relatively modern set up too, which includes Western amenities.

  1. Dhamma Sikhara, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh

This “Peak of Dhamma” is cozily situated in the Dhauladar range in the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Serene, quiet and nestled in a beautiful forest of deodar and cedar trees, the Dhamma Sikhara holds its 10-day Dhamma meditation course from the months of April to November. The course is conducted at intervals of fourteen days.

  1. Dhamma Paphulla, Bangalore, Karnataka

    Photo by Miran Rijavec, CC BY 2.0

    Photo by Miran Rijavec, CC BY 2.0

Set in a humble location, the Dhamma Paphulla, “Cheerfulness of Truth” is located 30 kms away from Bangalore, the capital of the southern state Karnataka in India. Placed on a sprawling expanse of rustic beauty, the Dhamma Paphulla conducts courses once or twice in a month. The accommodations meet basic needs and provide for a comfortable stay with attached bathrooms and hot water facilities. In addition, the location enjoys a comfortable climate all year round and is easily accessible by city buses.

  1. Dhamma Puri, Machmara, Tripura

The first Dhamma center to be established in north-eastern India, the Dhamma Puri or, “Town of Dhamma” is a quaint location in the state of Tripura. Easily accessible by most means of transport, this Vipassana meditation center is 150 kms away from Agartala, the state capital and is very peaceful and idyllic.

  1. Dhamma Garh, Chhattisgarh

This “Fort of Dhamma” is found 120 kms away from Raipur, the state capital of Chhattisgarh. It was started in 2011 and can accommodate 18 male and 10 female students.

Vipassanna meditation reconstructs one’s outlook on life and how one interacts within internal and external surroundings. With dedicated practice, one can find the positive alternations to turn life around. Tranquility and confidence flow through one’s being and the wave of goodness passes on and on.

 

Author Bio

Himanshu is an enthusiast of living life to the fullest. He enjoys good food, positive experiences and goes for things that fuel his lively outlook on the world. He is an aficionado of Vipassana meditation and has taken multiple 10-day retreats. He writes on his website PearlsIndiaTour.com and keeps the various facets of his life in gentle balance with its teachings.

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Hey. How About High Tea Online with Aussies Amanda and Julie?

Feel like pampering yourself for an hour or so?
Join Amanda and Julie for High Tea !
Saturday 25th June
at 11am
Join Amanda & Julie for a delicious High Tea & experience some of the gifts of Kerala.
We will be sharing yummy morsels that are unique to Amanda’s upcoming Kerala retreat at the end of September.
Contact them now, as this free event is going to book out very fast!
Phone or SMS Julie 0427 716 766  Amanda 0405 344 149
or email spirit@iinet.net.au

Journeys of the Spirit227bfc37-e86e-44e7-8eae-9fc49e2e4c04

Phone / SMS / Viber / WhatsApp:
In Australia: 0427 766 716   International +61 427 766 716
Email: spirit@iinet.net.au  Skype: julie.baker.journeys
You don’t have to be in Australia to join them. Pass it on and see you there.
Vicki Starfire
MysticFare.com
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A Truly Mystical Place: Bhutan

Most of us have heard about the small kingdom of Bhutan located near Nepal and India. A few people know that it is expensive to go there and a bit difficult to obtain a visa. But did you know that there is a great Australian tour company, Journeys of the Spirit, that takes care of all that for you? Here is the best part: you can go there this fall because there are a few spaces left. Check this out soon before they are gone. The dates are October 24 – November 6, 2015.

More about Bhutan – here’s what one past participant had to say.

From the most warm and generous people, to the endless mountain tops peaked in the clear and crisp air, to the sound of the bells chiming with every round of a spinning prayer wheel, to the gorgeous echoes of nuns singing peacefully in the monasteries and to the young children’s playful smiles and innocent giggles… my desires were to take in every blissful moment ~ and I did so gently and effortlessly.

 

Bhutan is a bit like the proverbial Shangri-la, that fictional place in the novel, Lost Horizon, that captured everything we want to see in paradise – happy, friendly people, little poverty, beautiful scenery and an isolated place that somehow keeps it from being destroyed by commercialism, invasions and exploitation. Is Bhutan truly like this? Why not explore it yourself and then let us know.

Here’s what this trip will involve. Guide, Peter Bliss (yes, his real name!) will weave  “Qi Gong, Tai Chi and Mindfulness to your daily happenings”. Then there are the hikes, the talks and the markets. Want to know more? http://www.journeysofthespirit.com.au

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Spiritual Networks – Community Online

Magic Lotus flower

Magic Lotus flower

Do you know about the, website, Spiritual Networks? It’s been operating for 5 years and has collected a large following. If you are interested in spiritual matters please check out this website and community. They say it is the largest spiritual social network. Certainly that would be true online. Here is what the website posts on the “about us” page.

7 Things You Should Know About Spiritual Networks

1. Founded in June 2010, Spiritual Networks connects more than 1,000,000 people from around the world on Facebook and Twitter.

2. Spiritual Networks is a free site that generates at least 2,500,000 page views and 250,000 daily unique visitors every single month.

3. Join 1000s of authors, chakra healers, light workers, psychic mediums, tarot readers and yoga enthusiasts on Spiritual Networks.

4. Spiritual Networks allows you to create profiles, share photos, submit blogs and watch videos from a laptop, tablet or smart phone.

5. Spiritual Networks is an inclusive community organization that welcomes every color, culture, religious and spiritual persuasion.

6. Spiritual Networks privacy policy specifically states that we will never sell, share or trade your personal information for profit.

7. For more information on Spiritual Networks, we encourage you to visit Contact Us or better yet, Sign Up now for free!

As well as the blog with photos and events described, there is of course also a Facebook and Twitter page. It’s sort of a Linkedin for spiritually-minded people. Want to know more? I suggest the directory site, All Things Spiritual  http://www.allspiritual.com/

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Top 5 Spiritual Places in India

Here is a guest post from someone living and traveling in India. This is not a tour group, but the information he describes can be useful if you are adventurous and want to see these paces on your own. I like the fact that he has chosen holy places from all religions.

Sacred and religious places are doorways for spiritual attainment. While spirituality is awakening of the soul, religions and religious dwellings make the process easy. If you too were looking for an awakening, India would be the best place to start with. India is a cornucopia of cultural richness. Not only does the nation boast of varied cultures and religions co-existing but also of the magnificent structures that these religions have fashioned.

Spiritual places in India cannot be confined to a number; every monument, every place has a significance of its own. Here are five spiritual places in India that should be a part of your itinerary.

1. Haridwar

 

Photo by Paul, shared thru Creative Commons

Photo by Paul, shared thru Creative Commons

Photo by -.-Paul-.-, CC BY-ND 2.0

While the name literally means “Gateway of God”, Haridwar translates as the mecca of Hindus. With holy river Ganga adorning the city, it is considered to be one of the holiest and oldest city in India. The temple is nestled amidst the foothills of enormous Himalayas in Uttarkhand. The pious Ganga enters North India from this very place. Go here to join the evening ritual of lighting lamps and floating them in Ganges. Kumbha Mela is the most happening festival in Haridwar that attracts over millions to the city. It happens only once in twelve years and is a rare sight of divinity and worship.

2. Bodh Gaya

Bodha Gaya

Photo by Andrew Moore, CC BY-SA 2.0

Bodh Gaya is the place where the revered Buddha attained enlightenment could also be the one where you achieved yours. Buddhists across the world flock this place to witness Mahabodhi temple and the Bodhi tree. It is also celebrated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The two flight of stairs, considered as stairs to heaven will take you to the platform and from there to the inner sanctum of the temple. The best sight is to rest by the Bodhi tree and to gaze at the wondrous vajrasana – diamond throne or navel of the earth.

3. Amritsar

Amritsar

Photo by Arian Zwegers, CC BY 2.0

Amritsar or ‘pool of nectar‘ is the spiritual capital of Sikhs. The city itself was founded by Guru Ram Das, the fourth guru of Sikhs. The city’s name was given by the waterbody that surrounds the exquisite Golden Temple. The golden dome sparkling in dim light at night is a sight to witness. Harmandir Sahib (the true name of golden temple) has four doors that invites people from all walks of life and over one lakh people visit the temple daily.

4. Goa

Goa

Photo by Basheer Olakara, CC BY 2.0

Goa being the capital of churches in India is definitely a hot spot for spiritual awakening. The most famous church here is Basilica of Bom Jesus i.e. Infant Jesus. It carries the mortal remains of blessed St. Francis Xavier. The body of the saint who died in 1552 is still preserved here in a well decorated casket and is open to public only once in ten years. While the preserved body itself is a miracle, the architecture completes the beauty and spirituality of this place.

5. Ajmer

Ajmer

Photo by Shahnoor Habib Munmun, CC BY 3.0

The city of Ajmer is a very important place to both Muslims and the Hindus. It is a prominent pilgrimage centre after Mecca for Muslims all over the world. Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti’s Dargah receives people from all over the world answering to their wishes and prayers. The shrine is visited by Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs as a sign of communal peace. It holds some magic that people across all faiths come here seeking Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti’s blessings. The entire place lights up during the festival of Urs. During this festival there are qawwali programmes, where singers sing praises of the saint. The music is so mesmerizing and enthralling that it leaves its audience spell bound.

These cities hold magic, they carry peace and enlightenment that washes over you while you visit them and will leave you coming back for more. These places are also examples of how religion is not the only factor for spiritual awakening. They call out to people from all walks of life, from all around the world to come and experience energy, peace and love. They are like a reflection of “God is present everywhere and in everyone”

Author Bio:

Rohit is an avid traveler and blogger at http://transindiatravels.com. His passion for exploring has taken him to places all around the world. Accounts of his travel experiences often act as a guide to other travel enthusiasts.

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Spiritual Awakening and Then What?

195826,1300648308,2It is a fact that an increasing number of people are now experiencing various forms of spiritual awakening today. This is not the stories of the Bible or other religious accounts from long ago. This is happening right now. If any one wants proof of this, try typing in the words, “spiritual awakening” into Google and see how many accounts come up. While the experiences differ with each person who goes through this process (some people report multiple experiences, many of them different each time), there are some common threads. In fact, there is even a Wikipedia account for “spiritual awakening”. Here are some of the common features of this  and the related terms, near death experiences, mystical experiences, enlightenment, liberation or being born again. These experiences seem to be independent of religious or cultural backgrounds. Numinous – something that invokes both fear and attraction due to the power and immensity of the experience. Ecstacy – the experience brings great pleasure and feeling of strong love. Sometimes this experience is described with an accompanying stron sexual urge. Enthusiasm and excitement – everything seems positive, happy and uplifting. Mystical – there seems to be no boundaries between one soul and another. Some experience flying, lightness, unusual abilities like walking on water or hot coals without bodily harm, trance states or out of body experiences.

Spiritual awakening — A spiritual awakening usually involves a realization or opening to a sacred dimension of reality and may or may not be a religious experience. Often a spiritual awakening has lasting effects upon one’s life. The term “spiritual awakening” may be used to refer to any of a wide range of experiences including being born again,near-death experiences, and mystical experiences such as liberation and enlightenment. Click here to read more.

OK. Now someone (maybe you or me) has experienced spiritual awakening. There are many reports about the difficulties of integrating this state or realization back into the realities of everyday life. It might be nice to feel at one with the universe, but it doesn’t pay the bills or clean the house. Here are some possible issues people have report that have to be integrated. Rick NurrieStearns in his article, “Kundalini and Spiritual Awakening” reports the difficulty of focusing on the task of driving or doing his computer writing. He would find himself focused on the cracks in the road, not the oncoming cars, for example. He also soon learned not to share his experiences with many people who wanted to label him as insane. Bruce Davis in his article, “Life After Spiritual Awakening”

Where most everyone agrees is that those who have been touched by a spiritual awakening (no matter how real or imagined) find little support and guidance to sort things out. The popular media to be “fair and balanced” takes an agnostic approach to nearly everything spiritual. Education, medicine, and even most churches are firmly grounded in the rational world meaning one’s personal experience of some other realm is suspect.

He went on to describe how different the concept of time is in this space. With time vastly expanding, meeting Earthly deadlines seemed irrelevant, unimportant. Some people experience seeing loved ones who have passed over or feeling at one with friends who are like family. You can see how attached people can get to these pleasant, emotional experiences. Unfortunately there is the realization that no one can stay in this realm permanently which sometimes leads the person to become depressed or even want to end life. It seems that there’s going to be a calling for a new breed of counsellors to help  these people cope, particularly due to the fact that some of these “openings” to a new awareness can come on accidentally or are at least unplanned. Is there an increase of these experiences or is the atmosphere just more open to hearing about them now? It’s unclear which it is, but my own belief is that we are actually evolving as a human race to a higher species, more capable of universal love, more caring and certainly less likely to be violent or cruel. It is my hope time will prove me correct. To live in a world with peace for all, environmental improvement and governments truly for the people is everyone’s dream.

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