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Daniel Ingram on video talking about hardcore dharma

xabirxabir Veteran Veteran
edited May 2011 in Arts & Writings
Daniel Ingram on video talking about hardcore dharma
5/16/11 8:36 AM
Daniel Ingram talking about the hardcore (pragmatic) dharma movement on video:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Comments

  • Thanks for sharing xabir. I hadn't come across this guy or his book but it's interesting. I love a practical 'functional' approach to anything so I'm all ears!

    (just wish he wouldn't use the word 'like' in every sentence, but getting used to filtering it out while listening along :p )
  • xabirxabir Veteran Veteran
    edited May 2011
    If you haven't read his book, I highly recommend it to you.

    http://www.interactivebuddha.com/mctb.shtml
  • vinlynvinlyn Veteran Colorado...for now Veteran
    It's hard to find any neutral and balanced information about him. Do I understand that he has self-proclaimed that he has become enlightened?
  • hermitwinhermitwin Veteran Veteran
    yes
  • vinlynvinlyn Veteran Colorado...for now Veteran
    See, this kind of bothers me. People who are close to him can tell if he is a moral acting man and if he has good logic and if he is knowledgeable about the Dhamma. Why should I believe he is actually enlightened? Or does he say that just because it helps him sell books?
  • TakuanTakuan Veteran Veteran
    See, this kind of bothers me. People who are close to him can tell if he is a moral acting man and if he has good logic and if he is knowledgeable about the Dhamma. Why should I believe he is actually enlightened? Or does he say that just because it helps him sell books?
    In the introduction to his book "Mastering the Core Concepts of the Buddha", he calls himself an arhant. You're exactly right. We have no proof of his attainment other than his personal claims. There are, however, people who swear by his methods, but I'm still skeptical.
  • vinlynvinlyn Veteran Colorado...for now Veteran
    The reason this bothers me is that it seems too much like the fundamentalist Christian preacher who claims for himself the power of healing by touch. Most of us don't accept such self-proclamations.
  • Floating_AbuFloating_Abu Veteran Veteran
    Sounds like marketing talk and sure, he would appeal to those who don't know but thank goodness there is an off switch on the television.
  • Floating_AbuFloating_Abu Veteran Veteran
    In the introduction to his book "Mastering the Core Concepts of the Buddha", he calls himself an arhant.
    Perhaps the Buddha's words might be more relevant than --

    The Buddha addressed Subhuti, saying, "Bodhisattva-mahàsattvas should thus subdue their minds: ’Where there is every single sort of sentient being; whether egg-born, womb-born, water-born, or born of transformation; whether having form or formless; whether having thought or no thought; whether neither having thought nor no thought; I will cause all to enter the non-residual Nirvana, liberating them. Thus liberating the measureless, countless, and boundless sentient beings, in reality there are no sentient beings attaining that liberation.’ And why? Subhuti, if a bodhisattva has the image of a self, the image of a person, the image of beings, or the image of a soul; then he is not a bodhisattva .

    - Lord Buddha
    The Diamond Perfection of Wisdom Sutra


    And for the Theravadan leaning folks --

    Do not be a bodhisatta; do not be an arahant; do not be anything at all. If you are a bodhisatta, you will suffer; if you are an arahant, you will suffer; if you are anything at all, you will suffer.

    Best wishes,
    Abu
  • Bodha8Bodha8 Veteran Veteran
    Why should I believe he is actually enlightened?

    Why should you not?
  • vinlynvinlyn Veteran Colorado...for now Veteran
    Why should I believe he is actually enlightened?

    Why should you not?
    If I knew he was literally enlightened, I could put more faith in what he says.

  • SabreSabre Veteran Veteran
    edited May 2011
    Hardcore Buddhism... :rolleyes:

    In the time of the Buddha it already happened that people overestimated their attainments. From what he says I'm sure he is not an arahant, but that doesn't mean he's actually cheating us on purpose. Probably he is just mistaken. Maybe he hit stream entry although also that can also be doubted.

    There are also people who claim to be enlightened who still talk about them being a soul or 'the observer of thoughts' or what not, but this is not what Buddhism teaches and from that you can conclude they aren't even stream winners but may have some 'lower insights' which they mistake to be enlightenment. This is not to judge anybody, but just to show people can fool themselves quite easily. I'd be weary of anybody claiming any attainments in public, but let's judge him on his words about the dharma instead.

    So far I've watched the first half hour. He seems quite dismissive of samadhi meditation, more insight and noting-practice focused. Be aware that might not be what the Buddha taught or at least that may not the right path for everybody.

    Might watch the rest later.

  • taiyakitaiyaki Veteran Veteran
    i believe he is. it's not even a belief really. everything he writes about reigns true with my own experience and with the experience of those who i know are "enlightened" or at best had "satori".

    so i have a lot of confidence in his teachings. they are extremely practical and straightforward.
    but i can understand your doubt. all you can do is test it out. if you don't want to then just ignore his existence.
  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran Veteran
    Funny. Eastern Gurus proclaim themselves Enlightened all the time, and their followers never question it, no matter how abusive or selfish the Guru's behavior.

    We Buddhists have a different way of dealing with enlightenment. A Buddhist proclaims himself Enlighteneed is faced with a "Catch-22". See, by proclaiming yourself enlightened, then you must not be. So how does one know if a person is enlightened? Because you won't be able to tell the difference, I guess. But if there's no difference, then how do you know someone is the real thing? Because they will be different. I love it! But then, a Guru always makes me want to start wacking him with my Zen stick every time I hear the word "Oneness" come out of his mouth.

    I wouldn't get too hung up on this guy saying he's an arahant or enlightened or whatever, without looking at the context of his teaching. He's certainly aware of the way Buddhists shy away from such self-proclamations and probably uses the statement for shock value. If his point is, we are all arahants, all enlightened but don't realize it yet, then it's the usual Zen style effort to get people to understand enlightenment is not something remarkable that only a few achieve. It's not even an achievement.

    But I haven't read his book and can't really understand what people are saying in these links. Got a slight hearing problem.
  • Hmm I watched a good chunk of the video. Its interesting for sure but at my 12min x 2 a day meditation rate Ill never get there.
  • Bodha8Bodha8 Veteran Veteran
    Hey Ric,

    Constant practice is no guarantee of enlightenment. And don't let anybody tell you that it is.
  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran Veteran
    Hey Ric,

    Constant practice is no guarantee of enlightenment. And don't let anybody tell you that it is.
    Meditate your entire life and all that's guaranteed is, you'll get really, really good at meditating.
  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran Veteran
    http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/dharma-wiki/-/wiki/Main/MCTB
    Hey, thanks for the link. I've already read the intro and so far, I'm intrigued enough to continue.

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    Hey Ric,

    Constant practice is no guarantee of enlightenment. And don't let anybody tell you that it is.

    It is if you do it for 20,000 kalpas.
    :D
  • hermitwinhermitwin Veteran Veteran
    Can someone explain to me how daniel ingram's
    message is different from other buddhist teachings?
    Looks pretty similar to me.
  • Lazy_eyeLazy_eye Veteran Veteran
    edited May 2011
    I read his book (well, most of it anyway) last year. Part of it is a fairly straightforward explanation of samatha, jhana and vipassana stages, and part of it is an attack on "insight meditation" and other Western approaches which he finds to be wishy-washy.

    FWIW, I found it insightful at times and at other times showy and self-aggrandizing.

    What's different and controversial has to do with how he defines the goals of practice. It's pretty clear that what he means by "arahant" is not what the Buddha of the Pali Canon meant.

    What's less clear is why he insists on using the term, and in general why he wants to retain the conceptual shell of classical Theravada Buddhism while offering something that is, in the end, quite different.
  • hermitwinhermitwin Veteran Veteran
    ' It's pretty clear that what he means by "arahant" is not what the Buddha of the Pali Canon meant. '
    what does he mean then?
  • xabirxabir Veteran Veteran
    edited May 2011
    My advice is put aside his claims and go for the essence and practical advice of what he has to offer.

    I myself would say that he has not attained Arhantship by the Buddha's definition of it. He based his criteria of arhatship on the commentaries (for example, attaining nirodha samapatti = anagami, etc, which is not stated in the suttas). The definitions in the commentary texts can be very different from the Buddha's definition. Also, his definition of Arhatship is closer to Sotapanna by the classic definition of the suttas. By his own forum admission his 'Anagami' (and likewise Arhat) is closer to Buddha's definition of Sotapanna by the fetter model.

    His view of enlightenment and what is possible is still changing as his practice, experience and insights evolve. (he now sees, for example, that overcoming afflictive emotions is possible, though he didn't update the book nor his website about it, those in DhO would know)
  • xabirxabir Veteran Veteran
    Hardcore Buddhism... :rolleyes:

    In the time of the Buddha it already happened that people overestimated their attainments. From what he says I'm sure he is not an arahant, but that doesn't mean he's actually cheating us on purpose. Probably he is just mistaken. Maybe he hit stream entry although also that can also be doubted.

    There are also people who claim to be enlightened who still talk about them being a soul or 'the observer of thoughts' or what not, but this is not what Buddhism teaches and from that you can conclude they aren't even stream winners but may have some 'lower insights' which they mistake to be enlightenment. This is not to judge anybody, but just to show people can fool themselves quite easily. I'd be weary of anybody claiming any attainments in public, but let's judge him on his words about the dharma instead.

    So far I've watched the first half hour. He seems quite dismissive of samadhi meditation, more insight and noting-practice focused. Be aware that might not be what the Buddha taught or at least that may not the right path for everybody.

    Might watch the rest later.

    Agree with almost everything you said.

    Just a note... though he does not focus too much on shamatha, he speaks from experience the 8 jhanas.

  • RicRic
    edited May 2011
    What always strikes me as I watch things like this is , "Are they moving further/closer to reality?". It reminds me a bit of a bunch of drug users in a room getting high and sharing their experiences.

    I have a feeling they are moving further away from reality. I dont doubt that if you meditate for 20 hours for five days youll have interesting experiences. If you fast for long enough you will also have interesting experiences. I just think you form mental delusions because of the situation and it has nothing to do with reality. It is just another forced perception.

    Many of you would be surprised at how similar drug induced trips can be and I dont ascribe that to being closer to reality but to the fact that it alters the brain in a similar manner.
  • LesCLesC Veteran Bermuda Veteran
    Why should I believe he is actually enlightened?

    Why should you not?
    If I knew he was literally enlightened, I could put more faith in what he says.

    Did the Buddha not say "believe nothing unless you check it out and it agrees with your common sense"?

    So check it out!

  • vinlynvinlyn Veteran Colorado...for now Veteran
    I don't think that's what Buddha said at all. Why do you have quotes around that?
  • LesCLesC Veteran Bermuda Veteran
    Because I was paraphrasing... and he did say that (or words to that effect) do you need me to find it for you??
  • LesCLesC Veteran Bermuda Veteran
    Here ya go...

    “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”

    :)
  • SabreSabre Veteran Veteran
    edited May 2011


    Agree with almost everything you said.

    Just a note... though he does not focus too much on shamatha, he speaks from experience the 8 jhanas.

    Yes, but his description is incorrect and his latest jhana is in fact not the even real first jhana. He speaks about bodily feelings, decision making etc in jhana which is just impossible in jhana. From this I can already say he is not an arahant and seriously doubt he is just reading what he likes to read and fits it to his experience.

    But nevertheless he seems a good guy with the right intentions and people seem to like his teachings, so whatever. People may get something out of it. If anything he is open about the fact insights can shake your world for a while and he gives people hope insight is actually possible.

    However I'd say don't get caught up in attainments and stages of insight because doing this 1. encourages craving and 2. easily makes you think you achieved something you actually didn't.
  • shanyinshanyin Novice Yogin Sault Ontario Veteran
    I just read a couple posts and I took notice a while ago that people on this forum tend to be extremely skeptical about people claiming to be 'enlightened'.

    Didn't some of Buddha's disciples become stream enterers just by hearing the Dharma?

    Just wondering, should people be very skeptical about that kind of thing?
  • SabreSabre Veteran Veteran
    Of course one should be skeptical. Following a teacher without checking them out first can be dangerous because they might teach practices that don't get you anywhere. This causes followers of Hindu gurus to walk on fire for example ;) or doing meditative practices that are worthless. So checking their words vs your experiences and the words of the Buddha is essential.
  • SabreSabre Veteran Veteran
    edited May 2011
    I've watched the second video.. tbh it gives me more doubt about him but more important, it explains exactly why I am no supporter of vipassana practice. All this fear and dark stuff he is talking about.. with some skills in samatha and metta meditation (which are actually mutually supportive and not that different as some think) you could handle all this so easily and it will most likely not even come up at all while still giving insights.

    So watch out guys/gals who are interested in this kind of practice.. The Buddha told JOY AND LOVE are the results of the path, not disturbed mental states. You don't need a screwed up period to get to the nice stages. You can also pick the fruits without having to eat the rotten ones.

    Now whatever road you want to go is up to you, but these are just my 2 cents. No need to go hardcore.


    This guy also has something to say about it:

  • taiyakitaiyaki Veteran Veteran
    if you sincerely meditate, you will weep and have some negative emotions arise.
    meditation brings up everything and it all comes down to your willingness to deal with the good and bad. whether it is being blissed out or you dealing with a horrible memory. the point is to not pull or push.

    but everyone has different experiences in meditation. in the beginning i had lots of fear and anxiety while meditating. there really was no cause that i could find. but after just being with that fear/anxiety it all just dissipated.

    in meditation we deal with the whole human experience, rather than just the positive states. i would even assert that the negative states are worth going into because you learn so much from them. nothing has power over you when you accept and allow it into your space.
  • vinlynvinlyn Veteran Colorado...for now Veteran
    Here ya go...

    “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”

    :)
    That is not what the Kalama Sutta says.

  • SabreSabre Veteran Veteran
    edited May 2011
    if you sincerely meditate, you will weep and have some negative emotions arise.
    meditation brings up everything and it all comes down to your willingness to deal with the good and bad. whether it is being blissed out or you dealing with a horrible memory. the point is to not pull or push.

    but everyone has different experiences in meditation. in the beginning i had lots of fear and anxiety while meditating. there really was no cause that i could find. but after just being with that fear/anxiety it all just dissipated.

    in meditation we deal with the whole human experience, rather than just the positive states. i would even assert that the negative states are worth going into because you learn so much from them. nothing has power over you when you accept and allow it into your space.
    Of course, hard times are unavoidable and deep insight can make you cry like a baby. However what Daniel teaches seems like some crappy states of mind as a result of vipassana (insight) meditation can last for weeks, months or even years. What I say is if you have skills in samatha and loving kindness instead of just shear vipassana practice, you can go through these episodes much faster and easier or make them so minor it seems like you even skip them altogether.

    For example fear arises and grows only when you are not in the present moment. You can't have fear outside of the present moment in my experience, because fear is always towards what's going to happen in the future. With samatha (concentration) skills you can easily access the present moment even if there is big fear and as a result it will just disappear. And his 10th stage of not wanting to meditate so badly can be simply wiped away with loving kindness. No need to clench your teeth sit it out and wait for it to pass as he seems to explain it, you can handle it actively if you know what you are doing.

    That's why I am no fan of this 1 sided approach and I don't believe the Buddha ever taught this way.
  • taiyakitaiyaki Veteran Veteran
    edited May 2011
    well i suppose he speaks to a certain demographic.
    the buddha also taught different things based on the audience.

    what daniel teaches is based on his experiences or by experiences by people he is referencing.
    i've been on: http://www.dharmaoverground.org and have been listening to various other dharma teachers for the past two years. there is a concept called the dark night of the soul which is quite common amongst stream-enterers.

    lol all i can really say is that daniel ingram knows his shit. not only does he know his shit, he presents it in a no-bs, straight forward manner that is extremely practical.

    i am saying this out of the confidence i have in my experience with buddhism and spirituality as a whole. now it is easy to dismiss him because he doesn't conform to "traditional" notions of what the "path" is but if you can be open minded you can find some benefit to his teachings. if not, then find something else that works for you.

  • SabreSabre Veteran Veteran
    edited May 2011
    " there is a concept called the dark night of the soul which is quite common amongst stream-enterers. "

    Yes, of course. Stream entry will turn your world around because you finally see and have no choice to embrace no-self fully. One can imagine how this will change your world. But as Ajahn Sujato also says, amongst some traditions stream entry is not well understood and 'passed out' way to soon.

    But my main point is, he teaches all kinds of horrible stuff happens BEFORE stream entry and those will just repeat again and again if you don't hit stream entry.. Well, moments of "darkness" can be easily overcome or made very unimportant with the right practice of calmness because from calm comes joy and fearlessness.

    I'm not saying all this to attack the guy personally. Obviously he loves the dhamma and although I don't agree on a lot of things he says I think the way he tries to get his message across totally for free is to be respected. I just disagree on the methods and interpretation. Not because I'm not open minded, just because of personal experience of the undeniable benefits of calm and metta meditation.
  • taiyakitaiyaki Veteran Veteran
    i do agree metta mediation and emphasis on the heart are the quickest ways to enlightenment/awakening.

    the slowest way is from the head.

    Lol i get what you're saying.
  • I had a question on an area he mentions in video 2...

    He talks about the fourth stage on the flipchart beside him called ‘Arising and Passing away’ being (paraphrasing) “...the dropping of applied and sustained effort...now the natural unfolding of phenomenon shows itself to you...” and he describes examples of how he has seen this manifest physically in others (and I guess himself) like bodily shaking, tingling, sexual energy, lucid dreaming etc. And he mentions this being 2nd stage Jhana.

    I haven’t studied the Jhanas yet (have Beyond Mindfulness but only just started reading) and I was wondering is this stuff he’s talking about, this Arising and Passing Away and how people experience it, a recognised stage in dhamma/meditation practice or his own theory? I haven't finished watching all the videos (doing it in chunks) so maybe he covers it in more detail later, but still interested in others views to get some perspective. Thanks!
  • xabirxabir Veteran Veteran
    edited May 2011
    I had a question on an area he mentions in video 2...

    He talks about the fourth stage on the flipchart beside him called ‘Arising and Passing away’ being (paraphrasing) “...the dropping of applied and sustained effort...now the natural unfolding of phenomenon shows itself to you...” and he describes examples of how he has seen this manifest physically in others (and I guess himself) like bodily shaking, tingling, sexual energy, lucid dreaming etc. And he mentions this being 2nd stage Jhana.

    I haven’t studied the Jhanas yet (have Beyond Mindfulness but only just started reading) and I was wondering is this stuff he’s talking about, this Arising and Passing Away and how people experience it, a recognised stage in dhamma/meditation practice or his own theory? I haven't finished watching all the videos (doing it in chunks) so maybe he covers it in more detail later, but still interested in others views to get some perspective. Thanks!
    Daniel is talking about Vipassana jhanas.

    Bhante Gunaratana in Beyond Mindfulness is talking about Shamatha jhanas.

    It's different so don't get it mixed up...

    Yes it is a recognised stage, also known as the 4th nana (insight knowledge)
  • xabirxabir Veteran Veteran
    edited May 2011
    I've watched the second video.. tbh it gives me more doubt about him but more important, it explains exactly why I am no supporter of vipassana practice. All this fear and dark stuff he is talking about.. with some skills in samatha and metta meditation (which are actually mutually supportive and not that different as some think) you could handle all this so easily and it will most likely not even come up at all while still giving insights.

    So watch out guys/gals who are interested in this kind of practice.. The Buddha told JOY AND LOVE are the results of the path, not disturbed mental states. You don't need a screwed up period to get to the nice stages. You can also pick the fruits without having to eat the rotten ones.

    Now whatever road you want to go is up to you, but these are just my 2 cents. No need to go hardcore.


    This guy also has something to say about it:

    Actually whatever he taught is in accordance to the teachings of various Vipassana teachers (all kinds of Vipassana teachers, Mahasi, Goenka, etc, all teach this) and the teachings of the Visudhimagga commentary... including dark night and stuff. (the term is coined by Daniel but the experience is similar to the Dukkha Nanas or insight into unsatisfactoriness)

    That said I do know that it is not the only path.
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran Veteran
    Here is Sariputta's path through the sutta jhanas versus "dry insight".

    "Furthermore, with the complete transcending of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, Sariputta entered & remained in the cessation of feeling & perception. Seeing with discernment, his fermentations were totally ended. He emerged mindfully from that attainment. On emerging mindfully from that attainment, he regarded the past qualities that had ceased & changed: 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is no further escape,' and pursuing it there really wasn't for him.

    "If a person, rightly saying it of anyone, were to say, 'He has attained mastery & perfection in noble virtue... noble concentration... noble discernment... noble release,' he would be rightly saying it of Sariputta if he were to say: 'He has attained mastery & perfection in noble virtue... noble concentration... noble discernment... noble release.'

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.111.than.html#fnt-4
  • SabreSabre Veteran Veteran
    edited May 2011
    Actually whatever he taught is in accordance to the teachings of various Vipassana teachers (all kinds of Vipassana teachers, Mahasi, Goenka, etc, all teach this) and the teachings of the Visudhimagga commentary... including dark night and stuff. (the term is coined by Daniel but the experience is similar to the Dukkha Nanas or insight into unsatisfactoriness)

    That said I do know that it is not the only path.
    I know it is taught like this in the Mahasi/vipassana tradition. But what many people say doesn't automatically mean it is right.

    Anyway, as I said I'm not taking it personal on Daniel. :) But when I watched the video and saw all his fear and restlessness stages etc. I just had to say this can be avoided or at least worked on. For me the Buddha's path is a path of peace and contentment, not something to be called 'hardcore'.
  • DhammaDhatuDhammaDhatu Veteran Veteran
    edited May 2011
    He speaks about decision making in jhana which is just impossible in jhana.
    MN 111, quoted by Pegembara above, refuted Ajahn Brahm's view here, which you have recited

    :)
  • DhammaDhatuDhammaDhatu Veteran Veteran
    edited May 2011
    All this fear and dark stuff he is talking about.. with some skills in samatha and metta meditation (which are actually mutually supportive and not that different as some think) you could handle all this so easily and it will most likely not even come up at all while still giving insights.
    How do you know? Have you ever entered & dwelt in the spiritual path in true aloneness, not being entertained & love vibed by your beloved gurus?

    :-/
  • DhammaDhatuDhammaDhatu Veteran Veteran
    edited May 2011
    he describes examples of how he has seen this manifest physically in others (and I guess himself) like bodily shaking, tingling, sexual energy, lucid dreaming etc. And he mentions this being 2nd stage Jhana.
    hi

    This is not the 2nd jhana. If he actually said this then he is just reading words in a book and labelling his experience by it. The 2nd jhana is completely still & serene (with 100% pervasive expansive bliss).

    Regards :)

  • Floating_AbuFloating_Abu Veteran Veteran
    edited May 2011
    I just read a couple posts and I took notice a while ago that people on this forum tend to be extremely skeptical about people claiming to be 'enlightened'.

    Didn't some of Buddha's disciples become stream enterers just by hearing the Dharma?

    Just wondering, should people be very skeptical about that kind of thing?
    FYI (and FWIW) I did not respond to his 'claim' (I look based on what the person is saying in terms of practice content and a genuine understanding)

    I don't believe he is 'realised' and it is regrettable he tries to hang his hat on Buddhism or lead people to believe that what he says is in line with the highest Buddhist philosophies.

    I also read excerpts of his writing before posting again. It sounds like a mishmash of Buddhist concepts and ideas he has picked up in various books and traditions. It also looks far from helpful, and potentially, but at least I hope not - may even be unhelpful for those who actually read it and take it seriously.

    What an idiot really.
  • SabreSabre Veteran Veteran
    edited May 2011
    All this fear and dark stuff he is talking about.. with some skills in samatha and metta meditation (which are actually mutually supportive and not that different as some think) you could handle all this so easily and it will most likely not even come up at all while still giving insights.
    How do you know? Have you ever entered & dwelt in the spiritual path in true aloneness, not being entertained & love vibed by your beloved gurus?

    :-/
    No, in fact I'm always surrounded by guru's everywhere I go. I can't even go to the toilet without them. It's starting to become quite annoying to be honest.

    :rolleyes:
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