Sayadaw U Tejaniya 'Right attitude for meditation'

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Sayadaw U Tejaniya 'Right attitude for meditation'

Postby cooran » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:31 pm

Hello all,

What is the Right Attitude for Meditation?

1. Meditating is acknowledging and observing whatever happens —whether pleasant or unpleasant—in a relaxed way.

2. Meditating is watching and waiting patiently with awareness and understanding. Meditation is NOT trying to experience something
you have read or heard about.

3. Just pay attention to the present moment. Don’t get lost in thoughts about the past.
Don’t get carried away by thoughts about the future.

4. When meditating, both the mind and the body should be comfortable.

5. If the mind and the body are getting tired, something is wrong with the way you are practising, and it is time to check the way you are meditating.

6. Why do you focus so hard when you meditate? Do you want something? Do you want something to happen? Do you want something to stop happening?
Check to see if one of these attitudes is present.

7. The meditating mind should be relaxed and at peace. You cannot practise when the mind is tense.

8. Don’t focus too hard, don’t control. Neither force nor restrict yourself.

9. Don’t try to create anything, and don’t reject what is happening.
Just be aware.

10. Trying to create something is greed. Rejecting what is happening is aversion. Not knowing if something is happening or has stopped happening is delusion.

11. Only to the extent that the observing mind has no greed, aversion or anxiety are you truly meditating.

12. Don’t have any expectations, don’t want anything, don’t be anxious, because if these attitudes are in your mind, it becomes difficult to meditate.

13. You are not trying to make things turn out the way you want them to happen. You are trying to know what is happening as it is.

14. What is the mind doing? Thinking? Being aware?

15. Where is the mind now? Inside? Outside?

16. Is the watching or observing mind properly aware or only superficially aware?

17. Don’t practise with a mind that wants something or wants something to happen. The result will only be that you tire yourself out.

18. You have to accept and watch both good and bad experiences. You want only good experiences? You don’t want even the tiniest unpleasant experience?
Is that reasonable? Is this the way of the Dhamma!

19. You have to double check to see what attitude you are meditating with. A light and free mind enables you to meditate well.
Do you have the right attitude?

20. Don’t feel disturbed by the thinking mind. You are not practising to prevent thinking; but rather to recognize and acknowledge thinking whenever it
arises.

21. Don’t reject any object that comes to your attention. Get to know the defilements that arise in relation to the object and keep examining the defilements.

22. The object of attention is not really important; the observing mind that is working in the background to be aware is of real importance.
If the observing is done with the right attitude, any object is the right object.

23. Only when there is faith or confidence (saddhā), effort will arise. Only when there is effort (viriya), mindfulness will become continuous.
Only when mindfulness (sati) is continuous, stability of mind will become established.
Only when stability of mind is established (samādhi), you will start understanding things as they are.
When you start understanding things as they are (paññā), faith will grow stronger.
http://sayadawutejaniya.org/teachings/

with metta
Chris
Last edited by cooran on Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya 'Right attitude for meditation'

Postby bodom » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:33 pm

:thumbsup:

Thanks for posting Chris.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya 'Right attitude for meditation'

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:23 pm

From my experience attitude is more important than technique, I think if teachers stressed them more beginning meditators wouldn't get so uptight about the technique and what to expect.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya 'Right attitude for meditation'

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Sun May 01, 2011 9:52 pm

Hi Chris,

Thanks for posting this. I just saw it now when you linked to it from another post and I felt it deserved a bump. Metta!
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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya 'Right attitude for meditation'

Postby rowyourboat » Sun May 01, 2011 10:20 pm

It would be an interesting exercise to see how much if this is reflected in the Buddha's words.

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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya 'Right attitude for meditation'

Postby cooran » Sun May 01, 2011 11:13 pm

rowyourboat wrote:It would be an interesting exercise to see how much if this is reflected in the Buddha's words.

With metta

Hello Mateesha,

Show us the parts that you maintain are or aren't reflected in the Buddha's words, with links to the Tipitaka.

with metta
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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya 'Right attitude for meditation'

Postby rowyourboat » Mon May 02, 2011 6:24 pm

[quote="cooran"]

Hi Cooran,

Now posting sutta links for everything would take too much time

1. Meditating is acknowledging and observing whatever happens —whether pleasant or unpleasant—in a relaxed way.
[actually we are not expected to be the guard who is very aware of the thief stealing everything, but takes no action. We should not just watch akusala, but stop/prevent it from happening]

2. Meditating is watching and waiting patiently with awareness and understanding. Meditation is NOT trying to experience something you have read or heard about.[the Buddha praised stream entry, jhanas etc. This is not goalless.]

3. Just pay attention to the present moment. Don’t get lost in thoughts about the past.
Don’t get carried away by thoughts about the future.[there is also yonisomanasikara - directly 'applying' the teachings to our current experience - it is NOT bare awareness]

4. When meditating, both the mind and the body should be comfortable.[I was tempted to say 'only in samatha' but I think I agree with this]

5. If the mind and the body are getting tired, something is wrong with the way you are practising, and it is time to check the way you are meditating.[hardly, the Sudha sutta talk about what to do, after you have engaged in the satipatthana to the point of getting tired. This is a path of great effort/viriya]

6. Why do you focus so hard when you meditate? Do you want something? Do you want something to happen? Do you want something to stop happening?
Check to see if one of these attitudes is present.[agreed, but concentration should not be lax either, otherwise you will simply fall into thoughts, distraction and sleepiness.]

7. The meditating mind should be relaxed and at peace. You cannot practise when the mind is tense.[it is possible to be aware of some mental tubulance- you should not wait for perfect peace before starting meditation- the Buddha says the antidote for an agitated mind is anapanasati]

8. Don’t focus too hard, don’t control. Neither force nor restrict yourself.[see above]

9. Don’t try to create anything, and don’t reject what is happening.
Just be aware.[see above. The Vitakkasantana sutta for example gives many things to be removed from the mind, if you become aware of them]

10. Trying to create something is greed. Rejecting what is happening is aversion. Not knowing if something is happening or has stopped happening is delusion.[..a very limited definition of the three poisons]

11. Only to the extent that the observing mind has no greed, aversion or anxiety are you truly meditating.[this is the end result of it, not the prerequisites of meditation]

12. Don’t have any expectations, don’t want anything, don’t be anxious, because if these attitudes are in your mind, it becomes difficult to meditate.[true ..to some degree, we don't want people with no motivation either]

13. You are not trying to make things turn out the way you want them to happen. You are trying to know what is happening as it is.[fair enough]

14. What is the mind doing? Thinking? Being aware?

15. Where is the mind now? Inside? Outside? [outside?]

16. Is the watching or observing mind properly aware or only superficially aware?[nice one]

17. Don’t practise with a mind that wants something or wants something to happen. The result will only be that you tire yourself out.

18. You have to accept and watch both good and bad experiences. You want only good experiences? You don’t want even the tiniest unpleasant experience?
Is that reasonable? Is this the way of the dhamma?
http://sayadawutejaniya.org/teachings/

Ok, got to go,

With metta

Matheesha

Ps- this is the 'thin gruel' mindfulness only path of meditation, for those 'poor in view'.
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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya 'Right attitude for meditation'

Postby Freawaru » Tue May 03, 2011 6:18 am

I agree with Matheesha. This list is only for pure insight method and here only for beginners. Advanced students are able to observe emotions and intentions and a tired mind and body even in the pure insight method.
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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya 'Right attitude for meditation'

Postby cooran » Tue May 03, 2011 7:32 am

Freeawaru said: This list is only for pure insight method and here only for beginners.

:smile: Exactly who it was written for. It wasn't meant to be a dissertation for arguement and discussion. :smile:

with metta
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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya 'Right attitude for meditation'

Postby Freawaru » Tue May 03, 2011 7:43 am

cooran wrote:
Freeawaru said: This list is only for pure insight method and here only for beginners.

:smile: Exactly who it was written for. It wasn't meant to be a dissertation for arguement and discussion. :smile:

with metta
Chris



:smile:
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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya 'Right attitude for meditation'

Postby rowyourboat » Tue May 03, 2011 5:43 pm

Agreed. But often there isn't anything much more on offer and people are left with mistaken belief that this is all there is ..or am I chasing a straw man of my own creation? :tongue:
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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya 'Right attitude for meditation'

Postby Goofaholix » Tue May 03, 2011 7:32 pm

rowyourboat wrote:..or am I chasing a straw man of my own creation? :tongue:


yes
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya 'Right attitude for meditation'

Postby rowyourboat » Tue May 03, 2011 7:44 pm

:jumping:
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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya 'Right attitude for meditation'

Postby Freawaru » Wed May 04, 2011 6:16 am

rowyourboat wrote:Agreed. But often there isn't anything much more on offer and people are left with mistaken belief that this is all there is ..or am I chasing a straw man of my own creation? :tongue:


I think it is not that there isn't anything much more on offer in itself but that people stop looking and feel all too sure that what they learned on a few retreats (or from a few books or weblinks) is all there is to learn about meditation. Bhante G addresses this wide-spread attitude to meditation here.

One of the most difficult things to learn is that mindfulness is not dependent on any emotional or mental state. We have certain images of meditation. Meditation is something done in quiet caves by tranquil people who move slowly. Those are training conditions. They are set up to foster concentration and to learn the skill of mindfulness. Once you have learned that skill, however, you can dispense with the training restrictions, and you should. You don't need to move at a snail's pace to be mindful. You don't even need to be calm. You can be mindful while solving problems in intensive calculus. You can be mindful in the middle of a football scrimmage. You can even be mindful in the midst of a raging fury. Mental and physical activities are no bar to mindfulness. If you find your mind extremely active, then simply observe the nature and degree of that activity. http://www.vipassana.com/meditation/min ... ish_16.php
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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya 'Right attitude for meditation'

Postby rowyourboat » Wed May 04, 2011 7:21 pm

Hi Freewaru,

Yes, and what happened to anicca, dukkha and anatta? These people will never become disenchanted with phenomena, but go on to seek a peaceful existence in samsara- not a bad thing in itself, but not the Buddha's teaching :shrug:

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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya 'Right attitude for meditation'

Postby dhamma follower » Sat May 28, 2011 9:25 am

rowyourboat wrote:Hi Freewaru,

Yes, and what happened to anicca, dukkha and anatta? These people will never become disenchanted with phenomena, but go on to seek a peaceful existence in samsara- not a bad thing in itself, but not the Buddha's teaching :shrug:

With metta


Hi RYB,

IMO, you misunderstand U Tejania's teaching.

The right attitude as explained by U Tejaniya is not meant to enjoy peacefulness as a goal but as the right conditions for panna to arise. How can panna about anicca, dukkha, anatta can arise in a wanting or angry mind ?

1. Meditating is acknowledging and observing whatever happens —whether pleasant or unpleasant—in a relaxed way.
[actually we are not expected to be the guard who is very aware of the thief stealing everything, but takes no action. We should not just watch akusala, but stop/prevent it from happening]


Who stops the akusala, and how?

kusala or akusala arise and cease because someone wants them to arise/stop or because of conditions ?

2. Meditating is watching and waiting patiently with awareness and understanding. Meditation is NOT trying to experience something you have read or heard about.[the Buddha praised stream entry, jhanas etc. This is not goalless.]


Can stream entry happens because we try to experience it ? Or does it happen when panna is developed to the point it is ready to make to jump?
Again, the advice is about understanding the right condition, it is not goalless.

5. If the mind and the body are getting tired, something is wrong with the way you are practising, and it is time to check the way you are meditating.[hardly, the Sudha sutta talk about what to do, after you have engaged in the satipatthana to the point of getting tired. This is a path of great effort/viriya]


Could you please provide the sutta?

7. The meditating mind should be relaxed and at peace. You cannot practise when the mind is tense.[it is possible to be aware of some mental tubulance- you should not wait for perfect peace before starting meditation- the Buddha says the antidote for an agitated mind is anapanasati]


What is meant is that a mind relaxed and at peace is one of the right conditions for insight to arise, not otherwise.

Trying to create something is greed. Rejecting what is happening is aversion. Not knowing if something is happening or has stopped happening is delusion.[..a very limited definition of the three poisons]


Could you pls give a better definition with regard of the present moment ?

The right attitudes were given out of Sayadaw's experience in teaching yogis, who too often practice with a wanting or rejecting mind, and have no understanding of the rights conditions for panna to arise. Taken out of context, they are easily misunderstood.
Sayadaw has a very deep practice and his understanding of the mind by his own experience is really notable. Many experienced meditators, meditation teachers come to learn from him.

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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya 'Right attitude for meditation'

Postby rowyourboat » Sun May 29, 2011 6:07 am

Hi Dhamma follower,

Thank you, for your reply. I was perhaps responding to a teaching taken out of context. I do/did not have the time to research into the venerable's understanding of the dhamma, much like most people who would simply read the original post.

For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this: 'Gladly would I let the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, but if I have not attained what can be reached through human firmness, human persistence, human striving, there will be no relaxing my persistence.'

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

What would you make of this statement?

There is the case of a monk who remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. As he remains thus focused on the body in & of itself, a fever based on the body arises within his body, or there is sluggishness in his awareness, or his mind becomes scattered externally. He should then direct his mind to any inspiring theme [Comm: such as recollection of the Buddha]. As his mind is directed to any inspiring theme, delight arises within him. In one who feels delight, rapture arises. In one whose mind is enraptured, the body grows serene. His body serene, he feels pleasure. As he feels pleasure, his mind grows concentrated. He reflects, 'I have attained
the aim to which my mind was directed. Let me withdraw [my mind from the inspiring theme].' He withdraws & engages neither in directed thought nor in evaluation. He discerns, 'I am not thinking or evaluating. I am inwardly mindful & at ease.'
Furthermore, he remains focused on feelings... mind... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. As he remains thus focused on mental qualities in & of themselves, a fever based on mental qualities arises within his body, or there is sluggishness in his awareness, or his mind becomes scattered externally. He should then direct his mind to any inspiring theme.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .olen.html

I believe the above sutta is about getting tired while meditating. This will not happen with the kind of effort which essentially takes it easy. But with the kind of effort mentioned in the suttas- meditating essentially 20 hours of the day.

14. "When, friends, a noble disciple understands suffering, the origin of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the way leading to the cessation of suffering, in that way he is one of right view... and has arrived at this true Dhamma.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... b.html#nt4

I would like to refer to the above as a definition of lack of ignorance about the present moment. Not 'Not knowing if something is happening or has stopped happening'.

The currently arisen moment is unsatisfactory
The cause to this arisen moment is craving/ignorance
The cessation of this arisen moment/unsatisfactoriness is the removal of craving/ignorance
The path to the cessation of the arisen moment is the noble eightfold path.

:anjali:

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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya 'Right attitude for meditation'

Postby mikenz66 » Sun May 29, 2011 6:46 am

Hi Matheesha,

I know little about Sayadaw U Tejaniya, but the talks of his that I've listened to a few years ago impressed me. It's clear that he's not teaching a watered down Buddhism, but is challenging his students to examine whether their practice is effective.

He has several books available here:
http://sayadawutejaniya.org/teachings/

Don’t look Down on the Defilements is known as the Blue Booklet which contains guidance on understanding the defilements, establishing right attitude, the right effort of continuity, the mind work of meditation, dealing with pain, posture, sounds and the wandering of the mind and the development of wisdom. Lots of food for thought that supports your practice.
If you are tense or find yourself getting tense, relax. There is no
need to make a forceful effort. Right now, are you aware of your
posture? Are you aware of your hands touching this book? Can you
feel your feet? Notice how little energy or effort you need to know
any of this! That is all the energy you need to remain aware, but
remember, you need to do this all day long. If you practise this way,
your energy will increase over the day. If you use excessive energy,
if the mind wastes energy, you will get tired. In order to be able to
practise continuously, you just need to keep reminding yourself to
be aware.
This right effort will allow you to practise in a relaxed
way, free of tension. If the mind is too tense or too tired, you cannot
learn anything. If the mind and the body are getting tired, something
is wrong with the way you are practising. Check your posture;
check the way you are meditating. Are you comfortable and alert?
Also check your attitude; don’t practise with a mind that wants
something or wants something to happen. The result will only be
that you tire yourself.


Awareness Alone is Not Enough is a 213 page book of transcripts of practice discussions with students and contains pragmatic advice on mindfulness practice, making skillful, continuous effort, the need for and development of right understanding, etc. Recorded on Sayadaw’s 2007 trips abroad with Western students in residential and non-residential practice settings.

CULTIVATING RIGHT EFFORT

Yogi: I know that by diligent right practice the idea of self
will go away and be replaced by Right View. But the actual
practice itself feels like working hard at a task. I am trying
to accomplish something and therefore there is a grasping
associated with the self. Could you comment on this?

SUT: It is very important to have the right information
before we start practising. Don’t identify with the effort,
but instead recognize that what is doing the work is effort
plus whatever other qualities that are involved. These
qualities are at work, not ‘I’.

Right effort is only possible if the mind has the right
information, if it really understands what right effort is.
We are working towards a goal, but getting to the goal will
happen sometime in the future. Right now we need to know
how to work. We need to know what right effort is and what
right practice is.

A mind which is striving towards a goal, which is focused
on achieving a certain result, is motivated by greed. Wisdom
knows the cause-effect relationships and it will therefore
concentrate on fulfilling the causes and conditions.

:anjali:
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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya 'Right attitude for meditation'

Postby Freawaru » Sun May 29, 2011 12:19 pm

Hi Mike,

I still think it to be absolutely necessary to read all of this stuff to know for certain what he talks about. Many things can be misunderstood taken out of context.

For example:


If you are tense or find yourself getting tense, relax. There is no
need to make a forceful effort. Right now, are you aware of your
posture? Are you aware of your hands touching this book? Can you
feel your feet? Notice how little energy or effort you need to know
any of this! That is all the energy you need to remain aware, but
remember, you need to do this all day long. If you practise this way,
your energy will increase over the day.


Only the energy to keep sati. The mind itself, it's ability to concentrate, will get tired.

If you use excessive energy,
if the mind wastes energy, you will get tired.
In order to be able to
practise continuously, you just need to keep reminding yourself to
be aware.
This right effort will allow you to practise in a relaxed
way, free of tension.
If the mind is too tense or too tired, you cannot
learn anything. If the mind and the body are getting tired, something
is wrong with the way you are practising.


Again, even after just doing mindfulness meditation mind and body will tire sooner or later. Simply being awake will tire body and mind. What won't tire is the ability to maintain sati. So I would like to rephrase it a bit and say that "if the ability to keep sati of mind and body are getting tired, something is wrong with the way you are practising".

Check your posture;
check the way you are meditating. Are you comfortable and alert?
Also check your attitude; don’t practise with a mind that wants
something or wants something to happen. The result will only be
that you tire yourself.


I think the problem lies in his use of the term "mind". Usually, "mind" refers to many processes such as thinking, reading, body coordination. I think he uses the term " your mind" is a rather different way.

SUT: It is very important to have the right information
before we start practising. Don’t identify with the effort,
but instead recognize that what is doing the work is effort
plus whatever other qualities that are involved. These
qualities are at work, not ‘I’.


This is, IMO, a very important statement. By moving the impression of "I am this" away from identification with the working mind and body stability of sati can be maintained. Mind and body work, they do all that is necessary, thinking, feeling, moving, getting agitated or tired, but they don't need our identification with them to work properly. This statement casts the right light on his other statements and is the reason I believe that his use of the term "your mind" is different.

Right effort is only possible if the mind has the right
information, if it really understands what right effort is.
We are working towards a goal, but getting to the goal will
happen sometime in the future. Right now we need to know
how to work. We need to know what right effort is and what
right practice is.

A mind which is striving towards a goal, which is focused
on achieving a certain result, is motivated by greed. Wisdom
knows the cause-effect relationships and it will therefore
concentrate on fulfilling the causes and conditions.


I think by "your mind" or "mind" he only refers to the the mind one is identified with while maintaining sati. When sati is present there are two kinds of mind, the one observed and the observing one. "Your mind" refers to the one one identifies with, namely the one based on sati and the processes arising on this foundation. This is the "your mind" he refers to, the "your mind" that does not tire, does not work, will increase it's energy simply by being maintained, and that does not strive towards a goal (at least not in this phase of practice).
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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya 'Right attitude for meditation'

Postby rowyourboat » Mon May 30, 2011 5:31 am

Hi Mike (Freewaru)

Thanks for the clarification- it does help.

After reading that, I wonder how he came up with the previous list.. I think we must loose something when it gets transcribed into text (what happened in the sangayana/councils, incidentally), from the actual speech of it.

:anjali:

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