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Jesus never went to India

:roll_eyes:

In news that should probably be communicated entirely through emojis, Jesus never lived in India. He didn’t go there in the so-called “missing years”, nor did he go there after the crucifixion to die. Nor was he a Buddhist monk, nor was he schooled by Buddhist monks, nor was he familiar with or interested in any of the major themes of Buddhism. He was a Jewish prophet and teacher, who was born, lived, and died in Israel, teaching exclusively in the Jewish tradition.

The idea that he did live in India is a bit of pseudo-history that is propagated around the bullshit-o-sphere from time to time. It is based on:

  1. Vague similarities between certain themes in the Buddha’s and Jesus’ teachings.
  2. Certain local legends dating from much later.

The first of these is meaningless, as religions and philosophies were always sharing ideas, stories, and so on. We know that there was close contact between India and the west dating from a century or so after the Buddha’s death, so there is nothing surprising about some exchange of ideas. As I have mentioned previously, I think there are three parables in the Gospels that are derived from Buddhist sources. But this is just the normal give and take of ideas, and whether or not it is true is not very significant.

What we can say with certainty is that there is nothing in the Gospels, the letters of Paul, or any other early Christian documents that show any knowledge of any of the teachings that Buddha repeated again and again and again: the four noble truths, the eightfold noble path, the five aggregates, dependent origination, not-self, the six senses, the seven awakening factors, and on and on it goes. The entire content of early Buddhist teaching is absent from Christian texts. It is plainly impossible that any serious student of Buddhism should show no familiarity with any of the central teachings of the Dhamma.

The only reason this idea has been spread is because the ones doing the spreading have no understanding of Buddhism. They think that hearing a couple of ideas in the Gospels that echo some Dhammapada verses constitutes evidence of a serious Buddhist education. But the simple and general ethical ideas that are echoed like this are shared between Buddhism and most other Dhammic religions, and are never regarded by Buddhists as central to their religion. You can easily find just as many, or more, similarities with Socrates or Chuang Tzu—did they go to India, too?

The really significant thing here is that some central religious and ethical values, like the Golden Rule, and the importance of love and forgiveness, are widely shared across different regions, and are espoused by spiritual teachers with no connection. That is something truly momentous, and provides the basis for a shared ethic of love and compassion among all the world’s peoples. This should be emphasized as a spiritual and ethical truth, not drowned in a vat of bullshit.

The second “evidence”, the existence of various local legends, is equally meaningless. There are legends saying that the Buddha went to Sri Lanka, to Burma, to Thailand, to China, to Laos, and I assume, to every other Buddhist country. They’re all wrong: the Buddha never left the Ganges valley. The spread of legends of Jesus needs no further explanation.

The document supposedly found in a Tibetan monastery documenting the stay of a certain “Issa” has never, so far as I know, been subject to proper academic scrutiny. It is quite possible that Issa does refer to Jesus, or maybe it has nothing to do with him. But whatever it is, it not a historic document. Old manuscripts are full of fables and legends. Just because something is found in an old manuscript does not make it true.

Much of the persuasiveness of the idea stems from the apparently profound wisdom and equally profound devotion of the senior lamas who have always believed that Jesus lived in Kashmir—or so it would appear as it was filtered through a 19th century orientalist lens. Sorry to break the sad news to you, but Tibetan Buddhism is full of anti-historical nonsense and fantasy masquerading as fact. No doubt there were some excellent critical scholars and historians among Tibetan Buddhists. But they are not the ones telling these stories.

Accounts of this in the bullshit-o-sphere are in the typically breathless clickbait style, designed to fool people with no knowledge of facts. I won’t link to any, because I don’t want to increase their search rankings.

But they say things like:

When a great Buddhist, or Holy Man (i.e. Lama), dies, wise men consult the stars and other omens and set off — often on extraordinarily long journeys — to find the infant who is the reincarnation of the Lama.

This is supposed to be the origin of the story of the wise men. But it is a purely Tibetan custom that arose over a thousand years after the story of the three wise men. To see this as the origin for a story of a thousand years earlier is a wonderful encapsulation of the fact-free zone of this nonsense.

Articles are full of words like “confirms” or “discovery”, and confident assertions about specifics: Jesus “was loved by everyone”, he had “the intention of perfecting himself”, he was “forced to flee”—and on and on the river of bullshit flows. None of this has any foundation in reality.

Much of what they say is self-evident nonsense, like:

the document which tells the true story of a child named Jesus (i.e. Issa = “son of God”) born in the first century to a poor family in Israel. Jesus was referred to as “the son of God” by the Vedic scholars who tutored him in the sacred Buddhist texts

No, issa doesn’t mean “son of god”. And the Vedic scholars taught him the Buddhist texts! :joy:

The extravagance of this level of bullshit is very telling. It is a stupid filter. The idea is that anyone with a measure of common sense will roll their eyes and click away, and only the very dumbest will stay, and even share it with all their friends. Why? Because stupid people are more likely to click on stupid ads and buy stupid stuff. Welcome to the wonderful world of online marketing!

Many of these articles try to claim a degree of respectability by citing a BBC documentary by “experts”. (Hint: there are no experts, because no professional historian is wasting their time on this rubbish.) But what exactly does the BBC say about it? I’m not going to waste my time watching a “documentary”, and neither should you, but this article on BBC News about the so-called Jesus tomb in Kashmir is cited in support of the theory. What the article actually says is:

according to an eclectic combination of New Age Christians, unorthodox Muslims and fans of the Da Vinci Code, the grave contains the mortal remains of a candidate for the most important visitor of all time to India.

Officially, the tomb is the burial site of Youza Asaph, a medieval Muslim preacher

[Riaz, who lives above the shrine] is witheringly dismissive of the notion that Jesus was buried there.

“It’s a story spread by local shopkeepers, just because some crazy professor said it was Jesus’s tomb. They thought it would be good for business. Tourists would come, after all these years of violence.”

Professional historians tend to laugh out loud when you mention the notion that Jesus might have lived in Kashmir

And for those who scoff, remember that others have argued, just as implausibly, that Jesus came to Britain.

So this is one of the most respectable sources they can cite in their support. Just how stupid do they think you are?

Very. That is the answer. They think you are very stupid. Are you going to prove them right?

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[quote=“sujato, post:1, topic:5950”]
Jesus never lived in India.
[/quote]Thank you.[quote=“sujato, post:1, topic:5950”]
He didn’t go there in the so-called “missing years”, nor did he go there after the crucifixion to die. Nor was he a Buddhist monk, nor was he schooled by Buddhist monks, nor was he familiar with or interested in any of the major themes of Buddhism. He was a Jewish prophet and teacher, who was born, lived, and died in Israel, teaching exclusively in the Jewish tradition.
[/quote]Also, thank you, bhante. This post makes my morning.

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If anyone is interested, Jesus’s tomb is also in Japan (that is where he went during the “missing years”, obv). There is a local New Age religion dedicated to holding rituals to placate his spirit so that he doesn’t send storms. They even have esoteric Sanskrity-sounding mantras. I kid you not.

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as a former Catholic I have found this theory to be interesting since I first heard it. I don’t think it’s probable that the Jesus was a buddhist monk, however I think it is quite possible that he had some interactions with Buddhists. I don’t mean that he took refuge or even learned from the Buddhists, just that they were existing in the same time and general area.

In the great city of Alexandria in Egypt there is some archaeological evidence of Buddhists, and I think King Asoka sent missionaries to Egypt, so It’s probably possible that Jesus had some contact with Buddhists in Egypt.

it is also historically shown that people DID survive crucifixion if their friends got them down from the cross early enough, so that could account for the whole resurrection thing.

So I think this is a cause of people connecting “possibilities” into a grand narrative, for what purpose I’m not quite sure.

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[quote=“Bhikkhu_Jayasara, post:4, topic:5950”]
some interactions with Buddhists.
[/quote]This strikes me as potentially reasonable, bhante, but what strikes me as even more reasonable, is that Jesus of Nazareth, as a historical figure, may have encountered wisdom traditions from diverse geographies at nearby metropolitan centres, such as Antioch, with its significant population of Hellenized Jews. It is possible that proverbs, teachings, and perspectives may have filtered into Judaism from these other traditions via cultural contact at one of these metropolitan hot-spots, but this is hardly the same as going to India, and it is hardly the same as Jesus being formally or informally trained in any “specific Buddhist (or “general Dharmic”)” methodologies, as pointed out by others more eloquently that I have.

To what you say here, Venerable:[quote=“Bhikkhu_Jayasara, post:4, topic:5950”]
In the great city of Alexandria in Egypt there is some archaeological evidence of Buddhists, and I think King Asoka sent missionaries to Egypt, so It’s probably possible that Jesus had some contact with Buddhists in Egypt.
[/quote]If you are interested in religious history, I would recommend reading up on the Elephantine Jews. Heterodox Jewish esotericism flourished in Egypt, the location of the Nag Hammadi library of Gnostic literature. Many others have pointed out certain similarities Gnosticism seems to have with Indian traditions, although this (IMO) is also generally overstated.[quote=“Bhikkhu_Jayasara, post:4, topic:5950”]
it is also historically shown that people DID survive crucifixion if their friends got them down from the cross early enough, so that could account for the whole resurrection thing.
[/quote]There is quite a lot of heterodox Christian literature that in some way problematizes dominant orthodox narratives concerning the resurrection and the crucifixion. I believe the Gospel of Judas from ~2-400AD (a Coptic (Egyptian) text similar to those from the Nag Hammadi, but discovered near Beni Masar, Egypt) has Judas in place of Jesus on the cross at the end (there being some kind of bait-and-switch towards the end of the Passion narrative). Similarly, the Muslims inherited a (Gnostic, by some’s occasionally controversial reckonings) recension of the Jesus story that has him never being crucified, and ascending into Heaven bodily to live eternally.

That being said, the Romans strike me as people who were rather good at their job of making sure Jewish insurgents were dead.

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[quote=“sujato, post:1, topic:5950”]
And the Vedic scholars taught him the Buddhist texts!
[/quote]But bhante, obviously this is the case, if you will forgive my reproach, I mean it only in the spirit of true inquiry and learning.

Everyone knows that the Buddha was an avatar of Viṣṇu and taught Advaita Vedānta in addition to various colourful idiosyncratic adaptions of Vedic thought recorded in numerous folk literatures, tangential here but I suppose worth a passing mention, stemming back to the first century.

With this in mind, it is easy to see how these Vedic scholars easily taught the Jesus the Buddha’s teaching of non-duality with God. Jesus, who incidentally is also an avatar of Viṣṇu (isn’t it serendipitous when things work out?), could have easily bilocated to India, as that is no doubt one of the numerous ṛddhi he had mastered.

:penguin:

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What? Never in India? Next you’ll be telling me he was never in America, either. Joseph Smith will be angry.

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But look here! Its a documentary that is definitely not a complete distraction and waste of time*!

*probably a waste of time.

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Ajahn Brahm has a view.

These Buddhist teachings are often absent from some Buddhist traditions because they are simply expressed in more simple terms. For example:

  • Teachings that emphasise abandoning craving & attachment accord with the Noble Truths, even though the Noble Truths may explicitly not be mentioned.

  • A notable term & theme in both the Gospels & Paul is the term “the world” (“loka”) and being “unworldly” or “beyond the word” (“lokuttara”).

  • Celibacy and mendicantism.

  • The salient theme is the depiction of god as The Father (Brahma) who is all light & love, similar to DN 13.

  • The notable triple temptation of Jesus by Satan (Mara)

  • The non-Judaic idea Satan is the Lord of the World (which is contrary to the Kabbalah nature of the Old Testament, where god is essentially the creator of both fortune & ill).

Genesis 6
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.

I think the distinction is how the salient emphasis of the above doctrines do not really derive from the Old Testament & are often contrary the Old Testament. If the teachings of Jesus were not often diametrically opposed to the OT, particularly his conception of god, he obviously may not have been killed.

Deuteronomy 13

13 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. 5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

As for Dependent Origination, I vaguely recall is found in a Gnostic gospel, which I cannot identify exactly, where it is asked: “For how long will men suffer?” Answer: "As long is there is giving birth ". Reply: “Does this mean we should stop having children?” Answer: "No, but this is a statement of the law of … " and is attributed to James, similar to the Bible below:

Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him. If we are tempted by such trials, we must not say, “This temptation comes from God.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. But we are tempted when we are drawn away and trapped (upadana) by our own evil desires (tanha). Then our evil desires conceive (bhava) and give birth (jati) to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death (marana).

James 1

Searching now for this gnostic gospel, i have found:

Eugnostos the Blessed

He-Who-Is is ineffable. No principle knew him, no authority, no subjection, nor any creature from
the foundation of the world, except he alone. For he is immortal and eternal, having no birth; for
everyone who has birth will perish. He is unbegotten, having no beginning; for everyone who has
a beginning has an end. No one rules over him. He has no name; for whoever has a name is the
creation of another. He is unnameable. He has no human form; for whoever has human form is
the creation of another. He has his own semblance - not like the semblance we have received and
seen, but a strange semblance that surpasses all things and is better than the totalities. It looks to
every side and sees itself from itself. He is infinite; he is incomprehensible. He is ever imperishable
(and) has no likeness (to anything). He is unchanging good. He is faultless. He is everlasting. He is
blessed. He is unknowable, while he (nonetheless) knows himself. He is immeasurable. He is
untraceable. He is perfect, having no defect. He is imperishably blessed. He is called 'Father of the
Universe’

T h e S o p h i a o f J e s u s C h ri s t

Matthew said to him: "Lord, no one can find the truth except through you. Therefore teach us the
truth."

The Savior said: "He Who Is is ineffable. No principle knew him, no authority, no subjection, nor
any creature from the foundation of the world until now, except he alone, and anyone to whom he
wants to make revelation through him who is from First Light. From now on, I am the Great
Savior. For he is immortal and eternal. Now he is eternal, having no birth; for everyone who has
birth will perish. He is unbegotten, having no beginning; for everyone who has a beginning has an
end. Since no one rules over him, he has no name; for whoever has a name is the creation of
another."

(BG 84, 13-17 adds: He is unnameable. He has no human form; for whoever has human form is the
creation of another).

The Lord answered and said: "What is your merit when you do the will of the Father if it is not
given to you by him as a gift, while you are tempted by Satan? But if you are oppressed by Satan
and are persecuted and you do the Father’s will, I say that he will love you and will make you
equal with me and will consider that you have become beloved through his providence according
to your free choice. Will you not cease, then, being lovers of the flesh and being afraid of
sufferings? Or do you not know that you have not yet been mistreated and have not yet been
accused unjustly, nor have you yet been shut up in prison, nor have you yet been condemned
lawlessly, nor have you yet been crucified without reason, nor have you yet been buried
shamefully, as was I myself, by the evil one? Do you dare to spare the flesh, you for whom the
spirit is an encircling wall? If you contemplate the world, how long it is before you and also how
long it is after you, you will find that your life is one single day and your sufferings, one single
hour. For the good will not enter the world. Scorn death, therefore, and take concern for life.
Remember my cross and my death and you will live."
And I answered and said to him: "Lord, do not mention to us the cross and the death, for they are
far from you."
The Lord answered and said: "Truly I say to you, none will be saved unless they believe in my
cross. But those who have believed in my cross, theirs is the Kingdom of God. Therefore, become
seekers for death, just as the dead who seek for life, for that which they seek is revealed to them.
And what is there to concern them? When you turn yourselves towards death, it will make known
to you election. In truth I say to you, none of those who are afraid of death will be saved. For the
Kingdom of God belongs to those who have put themselves to death. Become better than I; make
yourselves like the son of the Holy Spirit."

link

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[quote=“Deeele, post:9, topic:5950”]
Teachings that emphasise abandoning craving & attachment accord with the Noble Truths, even though the Noble Truths may explicitly not be mentioned.
[/quote]Other teachers can arrive at conclusions that mirror the Buddhadharma in X myriad ways independently of the Buddha. DO is what is missing from Christian teachings. Many though, are easily applicable.

Take for instance, the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares from the canonical gospel of Matthew:[quote]
24: Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field;
25: but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.
26: But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.
27: So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’
28: He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’
29: But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.
30: Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”[/quote]The Kingdom of Heaven (which is within, that is to say, which is “us”, assuming a theoretical Christian “we”) is likened to a field of wheat with tares (weeds) strewn about by whoever, the Biblical Theos tou Aiōnon (“God of the aeons”), or Māra, you choose. The Christian is told to, with the servants of the owner of the field (the metaphors speak for themselves here) gather the tares (within themselves) and burn them (purify themselves of afflictions).

This is all fine and well. We need to not have afflictions to be pure. Whatever subtle and refined definitions we have for “afflictions” and “pure” I think most people can agree to this general sentiment. But how to get there? Where is dependent cessation? This teaching is all well and good, but it is a little vague as to concrete methodology.

If anything, as to be perhaps expected in a religious framework that presumes monotheism, the solution presented in the parable seems to rely on 他力 (“other-power”), but I cannot claim to interpret this correctly. I got the above reading from an Anglican priest I happen to be familiar with. I have a more sinister personal reading of the above parable, but I am not qualified to comment on the matter.

I hope this is not off-topic, I was trying to demonstrate how religions can have deep parallel developments without mutual geo-cultural influence.

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Evidence, please. MN 115 states there can only be one original Buddha is a world-system.

Obviously, you did not read my post, where I provided one strong example of DO (James 1:15). However, you will disagree with this if you believe DO is about reincarnation.

Five hindrances? This method is also found in the EBTs, where the hindrances are examined rather than immediately destroyed. But, eventually, the weeds are burned, as in Dhp 184 .

[quote=“Deeele, post:11, topic:5950, full:true”]

Evidence, please.
[/quote]I don’t have to demonstrate the whole, just a part, and there are any myriad parts, you yourself have brought up many. Bits and pieces of teachings that mirror Buddhadharma does not mean the influence of Buddhadharma historically.

[quote=“Deeele, post:11, topic:5950, full:true”][quote=“Coemgenu, post:10, topic:5950”]
DO is what is missing from Christian teachings.
[/quote]

Obviously, you did not read my post, where I provided one strong example of DO. However, you will disagree with this if you believe DO is about reincarnation.
[/quote]I did, but I did not find evidence of DO or dependent cessation.

As for the quote from James, this is Christian teaching, but I do not think that this is would I would consider, at least, a full enough exposition of DO as to betray Buddhist influence. Evil thoughts precede sin, a focus on the mind and intentionality is a feature of the teachings of Jesus, famously illustrated through his instructions to not so much as to commit adultery in the imagination. But it does not take Buddhism to point out that evil mindsets precede evil actions. I see the correlation, but I do not see the causation.

The quotes from Epistle of Eugnostos are just a description of God. It could have come from Judaism, Islam, mainstream Christianity, etc.

The Sophia of Jesus Christ is expounding a teaching universal to Christianity, that Jesus conquers death (which has soteriological implications for Christians past this just being an impressive personal accomplishment for Jesus in the self-narrative of Christianity). It seems that there may be a focus on martyrdom here, but that is also a feature of orthodox Christian literature. I am not seeing special evidence of DO, but maybe my standards are unreasonably high.

[quote=“Deeele, post:11, topic:5950, full:true”]

Evidence, please. MN 115 states there can only be one original Buddha is a world-system.
[/quote]Why do I need to demonstrate an Anuttarāsamyaksaṃbuddha? Do they have a monopoly on wisdom? Can only the Buddha know transience? Any myriad individuals can arrive at any truth that the Buddha also arrived at without arriving at complete and perfect saṃbodhi.

Not at all. It does not need to be a full exposition, just as many Zen teachings are not full expositions. It needs to have the language & structure, which it does.

Definitely does not come from Judaism. It certainly sounds Islamic but Islamic is 1,200 years after Buddhism.

But the Buddha conquered death before Jesus. Refer to Dhp 21 and MN 140 & elsewhere.

[Cue light jazz music]

And now for an uplifting excerpt from D&D’s community guidelines brought to you by your friendly moderator:

The Watercooler Category

If posting to the Watercooler category please take particular care to make sure your post belongs there. As noted above, this forum is about Early Buddhist Texts. We do, nevertheless, have a Watercooler category for more informal, relaxed, light-hearted exchange. We still encourage that posts to this category are related to the Dhamma, but this is not a fixed rule and an amount of leeway is allowed for other topics. However, there is no leeway with regards to the guideline that all posts to the Watercooler must be of a friendly, light-hearted and harmony-promoting nature. The Watercooler is a place to support each other and make connections, not to prove a point or for heated debate. Threads that stray from this category’s purpose will be moved, closed or deleted.

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[quote=“Deeele, post:14, topic:5950”]
But the Buddha conquered death before Jesus.
[/quote]And Osiris may well have done it before either of them, but we wouldn’t say that that means that Buddhism borrows heavily from ancient Egyptian wisdom, per se, so why would one say that this sharing of soteriological functions, “conqueror of death”, shared by so many, Mithras, Odin, Orpheus, necessarily means a Christian inheritance of Buddhist wisdom?

Seriously?

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[quote=“Aminah, post:17, topic:5950, full:true”]
Seriously?
[/quote]I don’t understand how I am being rude or off-topic? The topic is misconceptions surrounding Jesus and India. I figured this is prudent to the OP. My exchange with Deeele, inspired by a view put forward by that other agent in respectful opposition to the OP, seemed perfectly civil on my end.

If I have upset @Deeele or anyone else in this thread, my apologies.

The Watercooler is a place to support each other and make connections, not to prove a point or for heated debate.

If you guys want a civil, heated debate maybe you guys can move it over to a PM.

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I practise Dhamma therefore my mind is not susceptible getting upset; at least when it comes to Dhamma discussion. It is a wise Buddhist practise to refrain from imputing dukkha onto others. Therefore, therefore, there is no need to apologise for anything.

Cool off with this video: :slightly_smiling_face:

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