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Neiye - Section 1 - The Essential Qi

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Previously I said I would put the chinese in a spoiler but seems too difficult when it is attached to linnell's text.  I began this by following Roth's sections (26) but find it feeling short so changed this now to follow Eno's sections (18).  The section names are from Eno.

 

Some additions to the below texts are inserted to clarify a word use.  Example: Essence [Jing].  This is done for Jing, Qi, and De if the author did not use the pinyin.

 

See ctext.org for alternate chinese text to Linnell (https://ctext.org/guanzi/nei-ye)

 

Notes:

凡 - Always.  See Ctext as this is used throughout the text but many don't translate it

精 - Jing.  Later explained as above Qi

物 - Wu.  things. matter.  If one knows Wan Wu, is the ten thousand things.

為 - Wei.  Do. Some may know this in compound with Wu Wei.

下 - Xia. Below reference to earth

生 - Sheng. Born, beget, product.  Look at LZ 42 (Dao Produced the One--Chan).

上 - Xia. Above, reference to heaven

天 地 之 間 - Gate/passage of heaven and earth

鬼 神 - ghosts & spirits

中 - Center, inner, central, inside, innermost

聖 人 -Sages

氣 - Qi

天 - Heaven / Sky

德 - De

安  - calm, peace
意 - intent

智 - wisdom

 

Section 1: The Essential Qi

 

Eno:

It is the essence [Jing] of things that gives life to them.
Below, it gives birth to the five grains;
above, it is the ranks of stars.
Flowing between heaven and earth:
we call these ghosts and spirits.
Stored within the breast:
we call these sages.

 

This qi is
So bright! As though climbing to heaven.
So dark! As though entering the abyss.
So broad! As though permeating the sea.
So compact! As though residing within oneself.

 

This qi
Cannot be detained through physical force,
but may be brought to rest by force of virtue [De].
It may not be summoned by means of sound,
but may be received through one’s thoughts.
To guard it alertly without fail,
this is called perfect virtue [De].
When virtue [De] is perfected wisdom emerges
and all the things of the world are grasped.

 

Linnell:

凡 物 之 精 Always : the essence [Jing] of creatures –
此 則 為 生 This then makes them live.
下 生 五 穀 Below, it gives birth to the five grains;
上 為 列 星 Above, it acts to arrange the stars.
流 於 天 地 之 間 When it flows in the space between heaven and earth
謂 之 鬼 神 We call them ghosts and spirits.
藏 於 胸 中 When it collects in the center of the breast of people,
謂 之 聖 人 We call them sages.

 

是 故 民 氣 Thus the Qi of the citizens :
杲 乎 Is it bright?
如 登 於 天 As though ascending to heaven.
杳 乎 Is it dark and quiet?
如 入 於 淵 As though entering into an abyss.
綽 乎 Is it wide and spacious?
如 在 於 海 As though residing in the ocean.
卒 乎 Is it close?
如 在 於 己 As though residing in oneself.


是 故 此 氣 也 Thus this Qi –
不 可 止 以 力 Can not be brought to rest by using force,
而 可 安 以 德 But can be calmed by using De.
不 可 呼 以 聲 Can not be summoned by using your voice,
而 可 迎 以 意 But can be made welcome by using your intent.
敬 守 勿 失 When you can respectfully maintain it, and never lose it,
是 謂 成 德 This is called developed De.
德 成 而 智 出 When De develops, and wisdom* arises,
萬 物 果 得 The bounty of the ten thousand creatures is attained.

 

Roth:
1. The vital essence  [Jing] of all things:
2. It is this that brings them to life.
3. It generates the five grains below
4. And becomes the constellated stars above.
5. When flowing amid the heavens and the earth
6. We call it ghostly and numinous.
7. When stored within the chests of human beings,
8. We call them sages.

-- Section 2 --

1. Therefore this vital energy [Qi] is:
2. Bright! – as if ascending from the heavens;
3. Dark! – as if entering an abyss;
4. Vast! – as if dwelling in an ocean;
5. Lofty! – as if dwelling on a mountain peak.
6. Therefore this vital energy [Qi]
7. Cannot be halted by force,
8. Yet can be secured by inner power [Te].
9. Cannot be summoned by speech,
10. Yet can be welcomed by awareness.
11. Reverently hold onto it and do not lose it:
12. This is called "developing inner power." [De]
13. When inner power [De] develops and wisdom emerges,
14. The myriad things will, to the last one, be grasped.

 

Shazi Daoren:

The Essence [Jing] of all things,
thru transformation creates life.
Below, it brings to life the five grains,
above, it aligns the stars.
When flowing among the heaven and earth,
we call this the 'spiritual being'.
When stored up in the center of the bosom,
we call this the Sage.

-- Section 2 --

Therefore, regarding 'Energy' [Qi], it is:
Bright! As if ascending the sky;
Dark! As if entering into the abyss;
Disperse! As if existing in the ocean;
Present! As if existing in the self.
 

Therefore this Energy [Qi]:
cannot be stopped by force,
yet can be pacified by Virtue [De],
cannot be spoken by voice,
yet can be embraced by the mind.
Reverently nurture it and do not let it go:
this is called 'developing Virtue' [De].
When Virtue [De] develops and wisdom emerges,
the myriad things will all be attained.

 

Yueya:

The vital essence [Jing] of all things,
It is this that brings them to life.
It generates the five grains below;
It becomes the arrayed stars above.
When flowing amid the heavens and earth,
We call it ghostly and numinous.
When stored within the chests of humans,
We call such beings sages.

-- Section 2 --

Thus we may describe this qi —
Bright! — as if ascending to the heavens;
Dark! — as if entering an abyss;
Vast! — as if dwelling in an ocean;
Lofty! — as if residing on a mountain peak.
 

Therefore this qi—
Cannot be controlled by force,
Yet can be stabilized through inner power (de).
Cannot be summoned by speech,
Yet can be welcomed through awareness.
Reverently guard it and do not lose it:
This is called “developing inner power.” [De]
When inner power [De] develops and wisdom emerges,
The bounty of ten thousand things will be realized.

 

Reid:

1 凡物之精,
It is invariably the essence of things
2 此則為生。
That gives them life
3 下生五穀,
Below, it gives birth to the five grains;
4 上為列星。
Above, it aligns the stars.
5 流於天地之間,
Circulating between Heaven and Earth,
6 謂之鬼神。
We call it ghosts and spirits;
7 藏於胸中,
Collected within the bosom,
8 謂之聖人。
We call them sages
9 是故民氣,
As a result (of essence), the energy-breath of common people (becomes) {1}

10 杲乎如登於天。
Bright! As though rising up to the Heavens;
11 杳乎如入於淵。
Dark! As though entering the depths;
12 淖乎如在於海,
Spacious! As though within an ocean;
13 卒乎如在於己。
Enclosed! As though entirely self-contained.
14 是故此氣也,
As a result, this energy-breath
15 不可止以力,
Cannot be stopped with effort,
16 而可安以德。
Yet can be made peaceful through virtue;
17 不可呼以聲,
Cannot be called over with a shout,
18 而可迎以
Yet can be welcomed with a harmonious tone (intention).{2}
19 敬守勿失,
Honour it and guard it within. Do not neglect it.
20 是謂成德。
This is called ripening virtue.{3}
21 德成而智出,
When virtue has ripened, wisdom comes forth,
22 萬物果得。
And the myriad things attain fruition.
 

{1} The word min, 民 “the people,” is usually suppressed in translations of this line as it appears to read “the qi of the common people is: bright!..” By reading 是故 with its literal meaning of “as a result” rather than simply “therefore,” the following lines appear to describe a transformation of the people’s qi. The conclusion of this passage, “When virtue has ripened, wisdom comes forth, and the myriad things attain fruition,” appears to support such a reading. Further statements such as “when the people attain it, they become fruitful” also suggest an interest in a transformation of “the
common people.”

{2} “音 Tone” is generally replaced here with yi, “意 intention.” I have retained the received wording, where “tone” contrasts with “noise; shout.” The Nei Ye later states that “to dispel sadness, nothing compares to music,” and the Xin Shu Xia states that “to moderate anger, nothing compares to music.” In “The Ten Faults” chapter of the Hanfei Zi (another important Legalist text), great weight is put on the importance of a ruler listening only to consonant music, stating that only rulers with a highly developed virtue can listen to melancholic and dissonant modes without falling into
misfortune. “Healing sound qigong” uses vocal sounds to heal the internal organs, though its date of origin is uncertain. There is, therefore, reason to believe that 音 yin was intentional, if not just to contrast tranquility (harmonious tone ) with anger (shouting). See also, Nei Ye line 167.
{3} The term “virtue” in lines 16, 20, and 21, may carry overtones of its synonym “attainment,” as explained in Xin Shu Shang line 116.

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The first thing I notice is that the place a sage stores this generative vital essence is given a very definite and exact physical location, in the centre of the breast/chest.  

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Bindi said:

The first thing I notice is that the place a sage stores this generative vital essence is given a very definite and exact physical location, in the centre of the breast/chest.  

 

That's the line I found the most interesting too. I puzzled over it, wondering what it actually meant to those ancient  Chinese; wondering what inner experience they were referring to.  I'm interested to hear what others think it means.  (I now have some idea from my own inner experience, but it is something very new and tentative for me. A partial realisation only. I had no idea when I first read the Neiye. )

 

 

Edited by Yueya
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6 hours ago, dawei said:

Yueya

quite good. The passage itself is also very straightforward. One trifle of a note be: this jing does not act on the things listed, rather they are the embodiment of it.

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4 hours ago, Yueya said:

I now have some idea from my own inner experience, but it is something very new and tentative for me. A partial realisation only. I had no idea when I first read the Neiye.

 

Hi Yueya,

 

Each of our own inner experience is different from time to time ~ and from each other?

 

You have apparently been more aware of the inner experience per your own road less traveled. Why?

 

Your milestones re your progress on your road ~ (a) I now have some idea (b) a partial realisation only and (c) I had no idea when I first read the Neiye.

 

A never ending road ~ lifelong experiences and learning?

 

- Anand

 

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So some comments on a particular line: 藏 於 胸 中 

 

藏 - conceal/hide/harbor/collect

於 - ah

胸 - chest/heart/mind/thorax

中 - inner/centrally location

 

So, opening lines point to the chest... ergo, heart :)

 

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3 hours ago, Taoist Texts said:

quite good. The passage itself is also very straightforward. One trifle of a note be: this jing does not act on the things listed, rather they are the embodiment of it.

 

yes... back to your point... if you clean it, they will come ;)

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6 hours ago, Bindi said:

The first thing I notice is that the place a sage stores this generative vital essence is given a very definite and exact physical location, in the centre of the breast/chest.  

 

 

 

does he store it or does it store of it-self?  

 

We may forget this is a legalist work, after all :P

 

who or what is doing the storing ?

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17 minutes ago, dawei said:

 

does he store it or does it store of it-self?  

 

We may forget this is a legalist work, after all :P

 

who or what is doing the storing ?

 

 

The whole sense of this passage seems to be that it is the essence which is the active agent. (?)

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3 minutes ago, Apech said:

 

 

The whole sense of this passage seems to be that it is the essence which is the active agent. (?)

 

Jing... The vital essence of all things,

 

 

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3 hours ago, dawei said:

 

Jing... The vital essence of all things,

 

 

 

What is the word used for 'collect or store'? - it could have the sense of being cultivated by the sage ... stored up ... or more like collecting like dew collects on grass ... in other words the jing does this naturally.

 

 

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42 minutes ago, Apech said:

it could have the sense of being cultivated by the sage

can't be a sage without having jing first. so jing stores itself on its own volition

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1 hour ago, Apech said:

 

What is the word used for 'collect or store'? - it could have the sense of being cultivated by the sage ... stored up ... or more like collecting like dew collects on grass ... in other words the jing does this naturally.

 

hide, conceal; hoard, store up

 

yes, this is a curious thing on storing in this work.  

 

The character here is 

 

hide, conceal; hoard, store up

 

It is a picture of hiding under the grass.

 

Your query is at the heart of many practice issues.  Is it the Sage doing something vs the inherent essence doing on its own.   I might say, it is both, without each one, there is nothing.. well, Jing is there regardless of a person; so it exists.

 

So I am more inclined to say that an open heart welcomes the already present jing, ready to nourish to foster a stable residence in some way, but the jing is there, somewhere nonetheless. 

 

 

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7 hours ago, dawei said:

So some comments on a particular line: 藏 於 胸 中 

 

藏 - conceal/hide/harbor/collect

於 - ah

胸 - chest/heart/mind/thorax

中 - inner/centrally location

 

So, opening lines point to the chest... ergo, heart :)

 

 

Can it also be MDT?

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3 minutes ago, KuroShiro said:

 

Can it also be MDT?

 

I think the sentence itself could be... but the repeated use of XIN throughout the text seems to make it likely less plausible.

 

A question that could asked is whether there is a 'location' being spoken of in the first place.  I think we should ask this throughout the text.    I think when we focus on the text, we do get an 'inner' sense'.. but I'm not convinced it wants us to look inside ;)

 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Apech said:

What is the word used for 'collect or store'? - it could have the sense of being cultivated by the sage ... stored up ... or more like collecting like dew collects on grass ... in other words the jing does this naturally.

 

Hi Apech,

 

For a true/truthful seeker on a road less traveled, I think (s)he may like to rephrase your question ~ if it is allowed thus...

What is the feeling(s) like for 'collect or store'?

 

Firsthand cognitive awareness comes from direct living experience(s). Semantic discourses of an awareness may have one embroiled in hair splitting.

 

This is from Yueya's Neiye booklet ~ page 26...

"Considering humans who have realised the Dao,

It permeates their whole body to their pores and their hair."

 

So on a road less traveled, do I touch or split my hair?

 

image.jpeg.473ccef4a3e8043cc8fb91d9cd57900c.jpeg

 

Please allow me to borrow your ~ Natura non facit saltus."...

Image result for dew on grass image

 

- Anand

 

Edited by Limahong
Enhance ...

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Posted (edited)

It seems to me that this vital essence exists widely, presumably in everything and everyone, but only a sage stores it, even hoards it? in his heart. It is active, to hide, conceal, hoard, store, collect, all these actions are volitional, so not like dew naturally collecting, which happens naturally, storing vital essence in the heart in this sense is not natural or at least not normal or standard, it is a deliberate activity. 

 

@dawei, in this specific verse, not looking ahead or taking on a Daoist reticence to clearly name places in the body, there is a physical location, the breast, the chest, which may as well be called the middle dantian, just as vital essence may as well be called jing?  

 

 

Edited by Bindi

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Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, Bindi said:

there is a physical location, the breast, the chest, which may as well be called the middle dantian,

 

Hi Bindi,

 

From an inclusive perspective, it is possible that the middle dantian is physically there.,

 

From a relativistic perspective, must we also think of the lower and upper dantains? If the middle dantain does not stand alone, then where are the likely physical locations of the lower and upper dantians?

 

The above questions are asked from a shared wholistic perspective.

 

A great weekend.

 

- Anand

 

Edited by Limahong
Correct errors.

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It's an interesting opening set of verse... I'm draw to 'above and below'... and thus it encapsulates everything in-between... and outside as well... so there is no boundary to how Jing affects the world/universe/people.

 

 

25 minutes ago, Bindi said:

It seems to me that this vital essence exists widely, presumably in everything and everyone, but only a sage stores it, even hoards it? in his heart. It is active, to hide, conceal, hoard, store, collect, all these actions are volitional, so not like dew naturally collecting, which happens naturally, storing vital essence in the heart in this sense is not natural or at least not normal or standard, it is a deliberate activity. 

 

@dawei, in this specific verse, not looking ahead or taking on a Daoist reticence to clearly name places in the body, there is a physical location, the breast, the chest, which may as well be called the middle dantian, just as vital essence may as well be called jing?  

 

I would say, we all have Jing, obviously, and we can likely agree to that... but the jing talked about here is not what modern alchemy means;  Jing in this work is higher than Qi (not below) and seems almost more like De (inherent power).  It is for the taking on some level.

 

Folks can think and call it and its location what they want: breast, chest, MDT, etc.  Due to the 'above and below' comments I made, I find there is really a question about location in a strict sense.  IMO.    

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10 hours ago, dawei said:

It's an interesting opening set of verse... I'm draw to 'above and below'... and thus it encapsulates everything in-between... and outside as well... so there is no boundary to how Jing affects the world/universe/people.

 

 

 

I would say, we all have Jing, obviously, and we can likely agree to that... but the jing talked about here is not what modern alchemy means;  Jing in this work is higher than Qi (not below) and seems almost more like De (inherent power).  It is for the taking on some level.

 

Folks can think and call it and its location what they want: breast, chest, MDT, etc.  Due to the 'above and below' comments I made, I find there is really a question about location in a strict sense.  IMO.    

 

 

Contextually calling it the MDT would only make sense if it was 'middle' i.e. there is a LDT and UDT as well and Dantien only makes sense if the medicine or pill is being generated.

 

In many ancient systems the heart is the seat of the mind not the head.  Mind in the sense of centre of volition, character, attention, emotion and so on.

 

From what I have read 'jing' in Neidan means the most condensed form of qi which exists above the physical level.  Here the text seems to be suggesting that all earthly things (represented by the five grains), all heavenly things represented by the patterns of stars and the in-betweeny things of ghosts and spirits rely on jing to exist.  So jing is their essence.  I don't get the sense that this puts it above qi but more as the agent of manifestation of qi (?).

 

 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, dawei said:

It's an interesting opening set of verse... I'm draw to 'above and below'... and thus it encapsulates everything in-between... and outside as well... so there is no boundary to how Jing affects the world/universe/people.

 

 

 

So jing operates regardless, but jing in the chest/breast of a human only is equated with 'sage.' 

 

Quote

 

I would say, we all have Jing, obviously, and we can likely agree to that... but the jing talked about here is not what modern alchemy means;  Jing in this work is higher than Qi (not below) and seems almost more like De (inherent power).  It is for the taking on some level.

 

If jing rises and transforms, the transformed jing might well be considered 'higher' than qi. But it is there for the taking only  if specific prerequisites referred to later are adhered to.

 

Quote

Folks can think and call it and its location what they want: breast, chest, MDT, etc.  Due to the 'above and below' comments I made, I find there is really a question about location in a strict sense.  IMO.    

 

When it collects in the center of the breast of people,
 We call them sages.

 

Unless this translation is wildly off, I can't honestly see how it could refer to anything other than a specific location.

 

Edited by Bindi

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2 hours ago, Apech said:

 

 

Contextually calling it the MDT would only make sense if it was 'middle' i.e. there is a LDT and UDT as well and Dantien only makes sense if the medicine or pill is being generated.

 

'Centre' is referred to multiple times in the Neiye, eg. 治 心 在 於 中 A regulated heart/mind resides in his center, and 中 不 靜 If the center is not still, 心 不 治 The heart/mind will not be regulated, though I agree there is little mention of LDT and UDT. The closest I can see is 上 察 於 天 Your head can observe what is in heaven, 下 極 於 地 Your lowest extreme is on earth, 蟠 滿 九 州 And your coils fill the nine provinces.N 何 謂 解 之 What does it mean to be liberated by it? 在 於 心 安 You will reside in a calm heart/mind.

 

But does this count, I don't know? 

 

2 hours ago, Apech said:

In many ancient systems the heart is the seat of the mind not the head.  Mind in the sense of centre of volition, character, attention, emotion and so on.

 

From what I have read 'jing' in Neidan means the most condensed form of qi which exists above the physical level.  Here the text seems to be suggesting that all earthly things (represented by the five grains), all heavenly things represented by the patterns of stars and the in-betweeny things of ghosts and spirits rely on jing to exist.  So jing is their essence.  I don't get the sense that this puts it above qi but more as the agent of manifestation of qi (?).

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Apech said:

 

 

Contextually calling it the MDT would only make sense if it was 'middle' i.e. there is a LDT and UDT as well and Dantien only makes sense if the medicine or pill is being generated.

 

In many ancient systems the heart is the seat of the mind not the head.  Mind in the sense of centre of volition, character, attention, emotion and so on.

 

From what I have read 'jing' in Neidan means the most condensed form of qi which exists above the physical level.  Here the text seems to be suggesting that all earthly things (represented by the five grains), all heavenly things represented by the patterns of stars and the in-betweeny things of ghosts and spirits rely on jing to exist.  So jing is their essence.  I don't get the sense that this puts it above qi but more as the agent of manifestation of qi (?).

 

 

 

I think we need to forget neidan systems with this text.   Most all commentaries say that this text puts Jing opposite of most nedian systems (here it is a more refined Qi).   Jing is later said to be the essence (Jing) of Qi.   Here the essence of almost everything.

 

Jing and Qi seem the two important concepts we'll see.  Shen and Dao are more like outsiders but everything seems to be able to 'reside' or take up residence.  

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1 hour ago, Bindi said:

 

So jing operates regardless, but jing in the chest/breast of a human only is equated with 'sage.' 

 

 

If jing rises and transforms, the transformed jing might well be considered 'higher' than qi. But it is there for the taking only  if specific prerequisites referred to later are adhered to.

 

 

When it collects in the center of the breast of people,
 We call them sages.

 

Unless this translation is wildly off, I can't honestly see how it could refer to anything other than a specific location.

 

 

And what is a sage... one who can bring it about?  So anyone can in principle.

 

There is no rising and transforming.  That is later concepts.

 

Of course the translation talks of XIN and a location in many instances... but to then say Dao resides there is a literal stretch.  Dao is everywhere and in everything too.   So I see room to consider there is a location and there is not a location to be concerned about.  But I do agree the heart is the heart of the matter.   

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7 hours ago, dawei said:

 

And what is a sage... one who can bring it about?  So anyone can in principle.

 

There is no rising and transforming.  That is later concepts.

 

There are a couple of lines that seem to suggest a transformation:

 

是 謂 成 德 This is called developed De.

 

能 搏 乎 Can you consolidate it?

 

7 hours ago, dawei said:

Of course the translation talks of XIN and a location in many instances... but to then say Dao resides there is a literal stretch.  Dao is everywhere and in everything too.   So I see room to consider there is a location and there is not a location to be concerned about.  But I do agree the heart is the heart of the matter.   

 

I suspect we will revisit the location issue multiple times throughout this text. 

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