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Awakening - Why so rare?

EarthninjaEarthninja WandererWest Australia Veteran

Hi guys!

I'm coming to understand why awakening/enlightenment is so rare in people. This is from personal experience and living people today that I think I understand.
The reason I say I think is because I'm not 100% sure yet. :)

It seems to me that the reason we are stuck is because we believe in a separate person. (Ourselves) and that person is seeking enlightenment for whatever reason.

The issue I'm realising now is in fact that person doesn't exist. We believe it does. Hence why we suffer. The person is conditioned thoughts always foisted on us by our language. Because it starts at such a young age we truly believe me,myself and I exists.

Now even if we understand intellectually it doesn't help, it appears the brain? Or something needs to see there is no self. The your perception shifts.

The bind here is the imaginary person doesn't want to end it's existence out of fear. Also every attempt or intention is still the imaginary person.
"We" want enlightenment yet to achieve it we have to die. Who is prepared to do that?
People have fears such as becoming a robot etc... But it's all just ego trying to stay alive.

Here is an extract from a lady who added me on Facebook. I've been following her stuff.

"without thought there is no you to question
there is nothing an imaginary character can or cannot do to see that it is imaginary
all suggestions of methods or practices merely substantiate the illusion of separation
of self
which is the assumption that something can be done
can be known
....of personal autonomy

111HamsakaShoshinanatamanCinorjerlobsang
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Comments

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    It's rare because the conditions needed (to study etc other) are rare in themselves.

    Daozen
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @how very true, but there has to be a recognition. This recognition manifests differently with each being but that moment isn't gradual. But the slowly seeing through of the person can be, like a refining. But we need to be on the right path :)
    If we go about believing we are a person seeking freedom then this could happen for lifetimes. That's why I thought id share this.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited June 2015

    I think we are a person seeking freedom. That's honest. This is the goal. If there was no goal the practice would be less energized.

    http://www.budsas.org/ebud/word-of-buddha/wobgrad1.htm

    M. 29

    Hence, the purpose of the Holy Life does not consist in acquiring alms, honour, or fame, nor in gaining morality, concentration, or the eye of knowledge. That unshakable deliverance of the heart: that, indeed, is the object of the Holy Life, that is its essence, that is its goal.

    and another point to be made:

    The Silent Thinker

    'I am' is a vain thought; 'This am I' is a vain thought; 'I shall be' is a vain thought; 'I shall not be' is a vain thought. Vain thoughts are a sickness, an ulcer, a thorn. But after overcoming all vain thoughts, one is called 'a silent thinker'. And the thinker, the Silent One, does no more arise, no more pass away, no more tremble, no more desire. For there is nothing in him whereby he should arise again. And as he arises no more, how should he grow old again? And as he grows old no more how should he die again? And as he dies no more, how should he tremble? And as he trembles no more, how should he have desire'?

    lobster
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @Jeffrey I don't think study is necessary, maybe only at the beginning. But I guess it's also rare to be pointed to this path.

    I'm more referring to the millions of Buddhists who are not awake yet. For me it seems study can perpetrate the problem. :)

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    Honestly I think you might be deluded about how far along you are. I don't know this by means of any wisdom seeing that as a fact; I am just speculating. Try to read a Lam Rim text such as the Jewel Ornament of Liberation and see what the path actually is. This is probably only attractive if you fit with Tibetan Buddhism. But the whole path is explicitly laid out from Buddha nature to method to the paramitas to the Boddhisattva realizations all the way along the 10 Boddhisattva bhumis and to buddhahood.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    For every person who actually tries to answer your question. @Earthninga, I would in turn ask, "Oh, how many people have you actually known who were enlightened?" And with rare exceptions, there answer will be, "Well, nobody that I knew personally." So, again with rare exceptions, the answers you will receive here are pure speculation.

    lobsterEarthninja
  • 111111 Explorer

    from personal experience such as yourself, I have to agree with your speculation. The "Me, I, I am'' is the false ego, false sense of self. I have been contemplating why it is so apparently difficult to release from this false sense of self, and, speaking personally, which I think is the case for most others as well, is fear of pain. To truly release from ''me'', and in turn, the body, you would have to release from fearing the body getting hurt, or demolished. As well as release from fear of emotional pain. I think this is the big step to release from false self - to release from fear of pain that may come from being unattached to these existences.

    And really, for someone to say ''i think you are deluded as to how far along you are'', stems from uncertainty within themselves and/or jealousy. Be COMPASSIONATE in all endeavors, has the Buddha taught you nothing? Lol. I know you are not deluded because what you have just described is pretty much exactly what I have come to conclude, through deep philsophical speculation, and deep meditation. The challenge remains for us, and the devoted practitioner, to kill our selves. What a joy :) :) :D

    Earthninja
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    I don't see anything wrong with living life as an individual while knowing we are really all in this together.

    There may be no separate "I" but without it, you won't be able to tie your shoes.

    Hamsaka
  • WalkerWalker Veteran
    edited June 2015

    Me, I, I Am.

    From a Western Judeo-Christian background, the last is the name the Almighty calls Himself. And apparently we're made in His image. Maybe that has something to do with it? It's ingrained in our world-view from infancy.

  • 111111 Explorer

    this is not in argument but to provide a different perspective, @ourself , without "i" we are capable of doing anything. Why must we identify as an individual personality, therefore attaching(attachment) to the task at hand? Existence itself has the capability of accomplishing anything, it is from existence itself that the "I" stems from. I wonder if you fear losing what you have come to identify with. Just a different perspective my friend, not intended for argument or saying you are wrong.

    Earthninja
  • WalkerWalker Veteran

    Especially for English speakers, what's the first verb we learn to conjugate? To be.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @111 I have no jealousy I feel. I said that to @Earthninja out of compassion because I sincerely hope to intend a good outcome. As far as my own insecurity I would say that I would freely admit that I am far from enlightenment! I think @Earthninja based on knowing me over the years knows on this forum knows that I wasn't taking shots at him/her. I was trying to be helpful and I still do urge (if TB is interest) read a Lam Rim text where Lam Rim means gradual path. I have been here 5 years with over 10000 posts. I have a good reputation not to be in it for conflict. I sincerely intended benefit for Earthninja.

    ShoshinEarthninjaTraveller
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @vinlyn said:
    For every person who actually tries to answer your question. Earthninga, I would in turn ask, "Oh, how many people have you actually known who were enlightened?" And with rare exceptions, there answer will be, "Well, nobody that I knew personally." So, again with rare exceptions, the answers you will receive here are pure speculation.

    Indeed. <3
    The experience 'I AM' or 'there is no independent self' some will be aware of. However that does not mean they are awake. Knowing non duality or an improved karmic base, is just part of a continuum.

    As one of the exceptions who has known those who are enlightened, not by reputation or implication but by direct Gnosis, I will confirm the rarity.

    There is no speculation in enlightenment. There are dreamers who may be pointing in the right direction, they are just as likely to be pointing at a delusion, a dream, a bubble.

    So I am quite happy to confirm my enlightenment, which incidentally is considered rare and unnecessary by the enlightened. It is certainly unfashionable amongst the experienced Buddhists ... ;)

    ... and now back to speculative and theoretical enlightenment ...

    EarthninjaTraveller
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @Jeffrey I know you mean well! :) you are coming from where you are seeing from.
    I think we all have our own path to follow, Tibetan Buddhism doesn't resonate with me. I'm following self inquiry/direct pointing so that's where I'm coming from.
    Only because this path has shattered some false beliefs so far in direct experience.
    I'm sure other schools work as well but each has to find what works, I wouldn't say one size fits all :) thank you though.

    @vinlyn you are very right in that regard, I guess I prefer to follow living enlightened beings. (I only "know" this because they all say the same things) they also have a nature about them, hard to describe. I follow their teachings via video links because I can't be with them in person yet. I truly believe they are awake. Their pointing has been true so far, I have to go on truths. Why do you follow teachers?

    @ourself there is a difference between knowing the truth and BEING the truth. What I'm realising is that we already are NOT individuals. We never were. The belief causes pain of separation and the pain of duality. Life already is living itself as @111 said.
    Somehow this false idea/ego came along and took ownership of actions, choices, thoughts. When inquired into there is just nothing. No entity anywhere. No sufferer.
    Just such strong belief.
    I would say it's better to know the truth, and THEN come back into the world of "you" and "me "

    @lobster very true, from my understanding is that once the I AM/No ego/no separate self becomes stable without ego arising again then the shift in perception happens. In the brain. The "person" has no control over this. But yes, I AM or no mind is not fully awake by any means. :)

    @111 thank you, mooji says that once the separate self is fully seen through then true compassion arises. Everything is the expression of that. But how hard is it to see through the strongest belief we have. Who we are.

    Thanks you all, I didn't want to bring this up because it's such a hard topic to discuss at all! Metta chris

    lobster111
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @lobster said:
    So I am quite happy to confirm my enlightenment...

    Ah Ah so now I know ....Only enlightened people can do both an "Awesome & Insightful" in the Reactions on the same post/comment... Ah you jammy enlightened Bastar Buddhist you....The puzzle's solved...

    (I knew that you would spill the beans if put under pressure) :)

    EarthninjapegembaraWalkerTraveller
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    I guess my worry is that in my next life I might not have the conditions to even be able to study. So how sure am I that I already have it right? Or am I just resigned to letting next life be as it is perhaps call it suchness? Maybe that's not a bad idea but I am just trying to keep in mind that in a future life I might not have this chance that I have right now.

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @Hamsaka I think you are onto something. That it already is here, we just need to wipe the sleep from our eyes. I think it's safer to see things from that perspective than to look for an event of enlightenment. Although I understand that perception does change, there is a moment of clear seeing without mind. This often passes and gets eclipsed by the ever talking egoic mind. But never the less it is here. We just believe the words in our heads.

    lobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Earthninja I'd prefer the gradual awakening my self :D

    On a more serious note, what @how said about a gradual process, which seems to be the more (dare I say) practical way to go...Just imagine the years of conditioning and the neuropathways building thought/behaviour patterns all having to be untangled and to an extent re-wired... Over-intellectualising things just creates more problems -entanglement ...

    From what I gather many members here speak of a somewhat 'gradual' change in their perception, ie starting to see more and more things in a different light as they venture along the path ...

    Walker
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @Shoshin that's fair enough, some people have spontaneous awakenings that are like fireworks but others a more gradual awakening. Slowly wiping the sleep away.
    But how do you know if you are waking up or just justifying the egos existence?
    For me it seems the root of the tree is the ego. Cut the root and the tree falls down.
    But putting yourself on the chopping block is not fun.
    I don't doubt that people can meditate and slowly refine consciousness and somehow a shift occurs.
    For me it seems it works better to just look!
    Who is that us saying these things?
    Can I control thoughts? No.
    Am I aware of thoughts before they arise? No
    Can the one who "thinks" be found? Anywhere?!

    The only problem with this is it appears the ego doesn't want to be looked at like this. :)

    Shoshin
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @111;

    You wonder if I am afraid to see that I am not an individual?

    Do you know that's one of the first things a Buddhist has to come to grips with?

    No matter how hard you try you cannot run away from individuality, sorry.

    Does that mean you have to attach to the mistaken view of separation?

    No.

    It's called the Middle Way for a reason.

    Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron and H.H. The Dalai Lama would be decent candidates for the realization of non-self but they don't dress the same way, talk the same way or act the same way. Individuals all three and all three a reflection of non-self.

    No contradiction there.

    The realization of non-self is still just the beginning of wisdom.

    I just noticed my post could be seen as a perhaps angry response so please know that is not the case and see slight amusement instead.

    Earthninja111
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited June 2015

    I'm with @Hamsaka on this one and don't think awakening is as rare as we mistakenly believe.

    Now staying awake... That's the rarity, I'd wager.

    But if you think you're awakened because you see there is no you then you're still dreaming.

    Jmo

    HamsakaWalkerEarthninja111
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    @ourself said:

    Now staying awake... That's the rarity, I'd wager.

    That is what I was trying to say, only in about ten thousand words :D

    WalkerEarthninja
  • 0student00student0 Explorer

    On a similar note, maybe personal enlightenment isn't actually necessary. To expect to be enlightened, isn't that the ego talking?

    I guess everyone, whether they're aware of it or not, are on a path towards enlightenment.

    David
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @ourself said:

    But if you think you're awakened because you see there is no you then you're still dreaming.

    Jmo

    If you truly see there is no you, then there's nobody to be awake. How can no you "think" they are awakened. :) just thoughts arising.

    That's the difference. It has to be your reality. Not just a belief or theory.

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @ourself

    Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron and H.H. The Dalai Lama would be decent candidates for the realization of non-self but they don't dress the same way, talk the same way or act the same way. Individuals all three and all three a reflection of non-self.

    Why would you say that ? Do you think that realising not self implies that personality gets destroyed?

    Life is exactly as it was before, there is still enjoyment of coffee but it is seen that there isn't an I enjoying coffee. Life is already not self whether we choose to believe it or not. Seeing through it just makes everything less personal. But for me it comes in waves. Intense stories still suck "me" in haha.
    I agree that it has to be gradual and seeing no self is not awakening but it appears to be an important step. For me atleast :)

    111Davidpegembara
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited June 2015

    I'm just pointing to the fact that a process can not be pointed at but it is unfolding regardless.

    Nouns are funny labels especially proper nouns. We are action and not static, unchanging "things".

    When drinking coffee, we train ourselves that there is only the coffee. That doesn't mean we are not really there but that in the moment to truly appreciate the coffee, there is no distinction.

    But of course I do not think non-self means giving up the notion of existence or individuality. We exist in conjunction along with everything else. Infinite and uniques aspects of the very same process.

    That's my whole point. "I" is just a label but try making sense without it.

    Duality is a handy labeling tool, not a prison.

    @Earthninja, the reason I bring that up is because non-self and emptiness, if misunderstood, could lead to a nihilistic view.

    I do not mean to single you out at all because if one can see the logic in compassion then they cannot be nihilistic and I can tell you can.

  • 111111 Explorer

    nihilism is believling nothing in the wrld has real existence / among other definitions. What Earthninja is saying is not that nothing is important, or has existence, but that existence itself is what is most important. When "I" say "I" , it is the mind. The mind labels itself because it solidifies its personal existence. Of course we are individuals, we are individual bodies, individual minds, and that will never change. But to call these who we are is a mistake. In deep or even common meditation, the mind is silent, the body is still, and yet we fully exist within existence without making claim to it.

    DavidEarthninja
  • 111111 Explorer

    quite a touchy subject

    Earthninja
  • 111111 Explorer

    @0student0 said:

    I guess everyone, whether they're aware of it or not, are on a path towards enlightenment.

    I came to this conclusion a few days ago. I see that although it isn't rare, it isn't common for one to be striving for ''enlightenment'' or god's grace. I believe that once a soul enters the path, they will not fail, be it in this lifetime or in 100 after this. Does anyone agree? Disagree? :)

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @111;

    I do agree with what you're saying, don't get me wrong and I dig what @Earthninja means as well.

    I am only really adding to it by saying it isn't a bad thing. As long as we know the mountains are no longer mountains, they can go back to being mountains.

    I don't know... It's like by seeing a glimpse of the absolute we can better play the role of the subjective or conventional.

    I see the process almost like more of an expansion of self rather than an annihilation of self (even as I know the self is just a convention).

  • @ourself said: I see the process almost like more of an expansion of self rather than an annihilation of self (even as I know the self is just a convention).

    An interesting view. Or maybe going "beyond" the self, going beyond limited self-view, a more spacious way of being?

    David
  • @ourself said: Now staying awake... That's the rarity, I'd wager.

    I think there probably comes a tipping point where you can "free-wheel" and it's natural to be fully mindful.

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    I am optimistic that that's the case @SpinyNorman.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Spontaneous and gradual is partly the same.
    I could pinpoint an exact time and a gradual deepening afterwards.

    Before is maybe of most interest. You have to do what is required. This means changing the basis of your assumptions:

    • We assume there is something to add.
    • We assume there is something to remove.

    We hope there is no change, stability and common sense required.
    Well no one here of course ...

    In fact many of the descriptions are spot on.
    It is like waking up. It is ah ha . . . but I always knew that. In fact so obvious you spend a while not believing (that in a sense is the deepening).

    Eventually it becomes irrelevant.

    how
  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    Developing the Noble Eightfold Path leads to true awakening.

  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    Awakening is not rare!

    It is awakening!

    Nothing more required...

    Enjoy!

    ...\lol/...

  • PöljäPöljä Veteran

    I cannot imagine any other real awakening than learning to live in peace with myself and the others. Is my soul, ego, self something unique and special? It's as unique and special as my bones, blood cells, liver, intestines.

    Earthninja
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @Earthninja said:
    Who is that us saying these things?
    Can I control thoughts? No.
    Am I aware of thoughts before they arise? No
    Can the one who "thinks" be found? Anywhere?!

    @Earthninja the following is how "I" on a conventional level see things ( without having to re-invent the wheel I've used some quotes that best describe personal understanding)

    1) It's the aspects of karma in action on different levels "The Five Aggregates"

    " It's not so much that we have a self , it's that we do selfing.
    The self has no inherent, unconditional absolute existence apart from the network of causes it arises from, in, and as!"

    2) Thoughts can be manipulated by Awareness's development

    "Awareness is fundamentally non-conceptual before thinking splits experience into subject and object. It is 'Empty' and so can contain everything, including 'thought'. It is Boundless. And amazingly, it is intrinsically 'Knowing' !"

    3) The ego ("I") is part and parcel of the thought pattern's entanglement package.

    4) Amongst the karmic package of the continuous change.(The Five Aggregates) so no you're right, it can't really be singled out.

    "There was a young [wo]man who said though it seems I know that I know-What I would like to see is the "I" that knows "me" when I know that I know that I know !"

    Alan Watts

    "Awakening - Why so rare?"
    @Earthninja it's possible the reason as to why this is so, is pure and simple 'Ignorance' as in sentient beings not knowing anything different, ignorance is bliss..Karmically we are in a rut and karma will eventually (in how many life times is any body's guess) help free us...But I could well be wrong (I never really trusted "I" and nor should you...If awareness is not around take all what "I" say with a pinch of salt ) :)

    EarthninjalobsterTraveller
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    Awareness - a concept

    Dharma - a concept

    Thoughts - just thoughts

    Ego - another thought among many thoughts!

    Karma - a package of thoughts, that mean nothing really! other than the actions that may be thought about 'you doing, being or happening'

    If you want to quote ALAN WATTS - then I AM GOD and SO ARE YOU... well done... we've achieved everything, and as equals, we continue ad nauseously in the void we have created...

    END of CONVERSATION... And that is it really, isn't it? On and ON and ON.. NO NO NO, I hear you say...

    It appears that there can be nothing other than we are the final fantasy of a conscious reality, where we are nothing other than the conscious reality, that concludes and consciously realises itself as nothing more than the mental patterns that play out in a void whereby unusual and unpredictable forms come and go, and yet we come to hold certain patterns of behaviour dear and worth holding onto, even though we cannot actually hold onto them, that have no definite purpose other than to play out eternally in their unpredictable forms.

    SO what is this thread really about....

    Awakening?

    Do you really want to wake up to this as your point of existence?

    As someone who always sees failures in particular points of view, I believe that ALAN WATTS philosophy misses the point completely in its descriptive aspect and that is the right view is there should be NO ATTACHMENT TO A PARTICULAR POINT OF VIEW? Especially this one ...\lol/...

    Shoshin
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @ourself said:
    111;

    I do agree with what you're saying, don't get me wrong and I dig what Earthninja means as well.

    I am only really adding to it by saying it isn't a bad thing. As long as we know the mountains are no longer mountains, they can go back to being mountains.

    I don't know... It's like by seeing a glimpse of the absolute we can better play the role of the subjective or conventional.

    I see where you are coming from, but I feel you are intellectualising it. If you know the mountains are not mountains as an intellectual understanding , all those years of conditioned reactions are still there. You still suffer.

    If you SEE directly, that there is in fact no self at all. Where is suffering? There can not be suffering if it doesn't land on anything?
    Only at this point can you go back to the world of mountains as mountains.

    Seeing no self is a direct experience, it is not an intellectual understanding. It's as if the mind has to be pointed out in black and white. There literally is no you anywhere! It's in this DIRECT seeing, that intense fears arise, etc... If you

    You - "The one who thinks, the one who chooses, the one who doesn't like XYZ, the one who suffers"

    If you fully fully realise there is no self. Then suffering is over. Life is on autopilot.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @anataman
    Alan Watts is just the ( effing ) finger that points to the moon,( the ineffable ) if my gaze did not venture pass the finger, I would miss a glimpse of the beautiful rays of moonlight "Bluejeans & Moonbeams"

    anataman
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @Earthninja;

    I don't think that is the case. I have yet to see the idea that there is nobody to suffer actually ease suffering in anybody.

    It sounds new agey...

    If it works for you then I am happy for you but I've yet to see it work in anyone else is all.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Just a reminder that liberation unleashed have a forum with guides to take you into a realisation of 'no-self'. This is a minor point but can be very important for some to experience. B)
    http://liberationunleashed.com/

    Earthninja
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    I think what @Earthninja is saying is (in a roundabout way) "Pain might be inevitable but suffering is optional" after the non experience of anatta .... But I could well be wrong :)

    Earthninja
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @Shoshin;

    You could be right but it seems to me like he's saying there is no pain if we can see there is nobody feeling it.

    It's more of a dissociation than an understanding in my view.

    Shoshin
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @ourself no I'm saying that pain is there. Maybe unpleasant thoughts can be there.

    But once no self is seen, then they have no bite anymore. No landing place. :) the really strong pain or emotions still have that pull of identity but it gets less and less.
    It truly is the most liberating thing, have "someone" say a nasty thing at "you" and it have no landing place. Just words in space.

    I'm bad with words guys, please please just follow lobsters link and check those guys out. They guide you in a one on one environment to see no self via email. No teachings, beliefs, meditations necessary. You just need to look! :)

    Hamsaka
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @lobster said:
    Just a reminder that liberation unleashed have a forum with guides to take you into a realisation of 'no-self'. This is a minor point but can be very important for some to experience. B)
    http://liberationunleashed.com/

    Is there a self back guarantee @lobster ? :)

    Jokes aside....it's somewhat ironic when one thinks about it (in the conventional sense) the self wanting the non experience of the paradox of no-self.... :)

    "I" am at a loss......but that's a good thing :)

    Earthninjaanataman
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