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Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World

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A bridge between East and West, past and present, this book makes sacred and profound Tibetan seachings clear and easily accessibly for anyone who wants to lead a more enlightened and sane life. Utilizing the unique Buddhist guidelines embodied in the Noble Eight Fold Path and the traditional Three Enlightenment Trainings of Virtue, Meditation and Wisdom, it elucidates the A bridge between East and West, past and present, this book makes sacred and profound Tibetan seachings clear and easily accessibly for anyone who wants to lead a more enlightened and sane life. Utilizing the unique Buddhist guidelines embodied in the Noble Eight Fold Path and the traditional Three Enlightenment Trainings of Virtue, Meditation and Wisdom, it elucidates the tried and true path of spiritual transformation - including key principles such as karma, rebirth and mind-training. Author Biography: Lama Surya Das is the most highly trained American lama in the Tibetan tradition, and has spent close to 25 years in Tibetan monasteries around Asia. Born into a New York Jewish family, he has become a leading spokesperson for Western Buddhism and regularly organises Buddhist teachers' conferences with the Dalai Lama, lectures at a range of US institutions, and conducts retreats and workshops in ten different countries each year. He is the internationally bestselling author of AWAKENING THE BUDDHA WITHIN, AWAKENING TO THE SACRED and AWAKENING THE BUDDHIST HEART.

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A bridge between East and West, past and present, this book makes sacred and profound Tibetan seachings clear and easily accessibly for anyone who wants to lead a more enlightened and sane life. Utilizing the unique Buddhist guidelines embodied in the Noble Eight Fold Path and the traditional Three Enlightenment Trainings of Virtue, Meditation and Wisdom, it elucidates the A bridge between East and West, past and present, this book makes sacred and profound Tibetan seachings clear and easily accessibly for anyone who wants to lead a more enlightened and sane life. Utilizing the unique Buddhist guidelines embodied in the Noble Eight Fold Path and the traditional Three Enlightenment Trainings of Virtue, Meditation and Wisdom, it elucidates the tried and true path of spiritual transformation - including key principles such as karma, rebirth and mind-training. Author Biography: Lama Surya Das is the most highly trained American lama in the Tibetan tradition, and has spent close to 25 years in Tibetan monasteries around Asia. Born into a New York Jewish family, he has become a leading spokesperson for Western Buddhism and regularly organises Buddhist teachers' conferences with the Dalai Lama, lectures at a range of US institutions, and conducts retreats and workshops in ten different countries each year. He is the internationally bestselling author of AWAKENING THE BUDDHA WITHIN, AWAKENING TO THE SACRED and AWAKENING THE BUDDHIST HEART.

30 review for Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    In a very un-Buddha-like way, my wife manipulated me into reading this. She also talked bribed me into accompanying her to a meditation center. I promised her I wouldn't ask the meditation instructor about tantric sex. I didn't keep my promise. To avoid incurring negative karma, I gave this book an extra star.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Heather Doherty

    This is the book that turned me on to Buddhism. I read it originally in 1999, at my therapist's recommendation and it changed my life. I started meditating twice every day and shifted my focus away from how miserable I felt and toward how I could be a positive force in the world. This shift pulled me out of a major depression, improved my relationships with my family and allowed me to find my soul mate. Since then it has been a sort of Bible for me. Whenever I need help in dealing with a diffic This is the book that turned me on to Buddhism. I read it originally in 1999, at my therapist's recommendation and it changed my life. I started meditating twice every day and shifted my focus away from how miserable I felt and toward how I could be a positive force in the world. This shift pulled me out of a major depression, improved my relationships with my family and allowed me to find my soul mate. Since then it has been a sort of Bible for me. Whenever I need help in dealing with a difficult situation or person or just need an attitude adjustment I return to it and it has never failed me. It is an introduction to Buddhism for Westerners. The Lama grew up in a Jewish family on Long Island; his mom jokingly referred to him as the Deli Lama. He has a way of presenting the ideals of a very Eastern tradition that makes perfect sense to those of us raised in other faiths. One of the things I like best about his approach is that there is very little to believe and very much to practice. If you are curious about Buddhism or just need an attitude adjustment yourself, you should check it out.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    This book tells you how to live like a Buddhist, without being a monk. There are behaviors in life we can all practice and you don't have to renounce Christianity to be a part of it. Treat others better, find meditation in everything you do, and be a better person.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Richelle

    This is one of those rare, mind-boggling books that has the power to stay with you for a very long time. While I have read other books on Buddhism before, this was an excellent introduction and refresher that covered everything from the Four Noble Truths and the Eight-Fold Path to the power of meditation. There are many aspects of Buddhism that resonate with me, and very few that do not. Here are some of the notes that I took while reading- about ten pages of notes (some are direct quotes from t This is one of those rare, mind-boggling books that has the power to stay with you for a very long time. While I have read other books on Buddhism before, this was an excellent introduction and refresher that covered everything from the Four Noble Truths and the Eight-Fold Path to the power of meditation. There are many aspects of Buddhism that resonate with me, and very few that do not. Here are some of the notes that I took while reading- about ten pages of notes (some are direct quotes from the author, quotes from others, or just notes that had meaning to me): - "You're not going to find truth outside yourself. Truth is found by living truly- in your own authentic way." - Search inward for answers. - Unrealistic expectations tarnish our appreciation of life. - Do not reduce life to an ongoing competition. - "No one has a corner on the market of truth." - You must acknowledge that enlightenment is a real possibility. - "The Buddha never said he would save you; in Buddhism you save yourself." (This is a big one for me. Love this idea.) - Do not overlook the miracle of the present moment. - "Small doubt, small enlightenment; big doubt, big enlightenment." - "With Buddha Dharma there is nothing to believe and everything to discover. The Buddha encouraged seekers to investigate and inquire for themselves." - Do not be overly influenced by and dependent on the opinions and reactions of others. - Nothing in pure Buddhism encourages blind faith or cult-like environments. The Buddha challenged his followers to open their minds and think for themselves. - "Only our searching for happiness prevents us from seeing it." I can't recommend this book enough to all those who are intellectually curious and concerned about leading a meaningful life.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Steve Minard

    This is my favorite spiritual book ever, and in fact, my favorite non-fiction book of all-time. If I can only suggest one introduction to Buddhism from a Western perspective, this would be it. Lama Surya Das simply and effectively presents the principles and outlooks of the East, with a foot firmly planted in our "real world" of the West. I always highlight all of my books with my favorite passages and quotes to turn back to. This one has beeen re-read so many times it is highlighted, starred, do This is my favorite spiritual book ever, and in fact, my favorite non-fiction book of all-time. If I can only suggest one introduction to Buddhism from a Western perspective, this would be it. Lama Surya Das simply and effectively presents the principles and outlooks of the East, with a foot firmly planted in our "real world" of the West. I always highlight all of my books with my favorite passages and quotes to turn back to. This one has beeen re-read so many times it is highlighted, starred, dog-eared, and post-it-ed for four levels of awesomeness. Cannot recommend highly enough. Absolutely my desert island book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Linda Hollingsworth

    I have already read this book twice on my Kindle, so you know I value the wisdom and light shown on the history of Western Buddhism. If you want to better understand how Buddhism came to the US and its ongoing evolution in our culture, this is a very readable description of how that is coming about. If you want to better understand the tenets of Butddhism, the eightfold path, and the three enlightenment trainings present in all types of Buddhism, this book will painlessly heighten your understan I have already read this book twice on my Kindle, so you know I value the wisdom and light shown on the history of Western Buddhism. If you want to better understand how Buddhism came to the US and its ongoing evolution in our culture, this is a very readable description of how that is coming about. If you want to better understand the tenets of Butddhism, the eightfold path, and the three enlightenment trainings present in all types of Buddhism, this book will painlessly heighten your understanding. If you want some practices to help you settle into meditation, you will find them here. This book Is a bit more structured in its approach than the simpler presentations from the heart of the books of Thich Nhat Hahn but no less valuable.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Katie Curlee Hamblen

    A friend lent this book to me some six months ago. I held onto to it for most of that time, and only began it about a month ago. This often happens when I put a book on my "to read" list-I have to wait for the time to be right. There is so much information in this book. It is, in some ways, a primer of Buddhism, and it was helpful for me to really get a window into that tradition for the first time. I've read many things in the past about Buddhism and mindfulness, but this book has been one of th A friend lent this book to me some six months ago. I held onto to it for most of that time, and only began it about a month ago. This often happens when I put a book on my "to read" list-I have to wait for the time to be right. There is so much information in this book. It is, in some ways, a primer of Buddhism, and it was helpful for me to really get a window into that tradition for the first time. I've read many things in the past about Buddhism and mindfulness, but this book has been one of the books that has helped things "click" for me. I've commented to several people that I think there is something to the fact that the author is a native English speaker. So much of understanding is nuance, and I have always felt that I am not getting the full, original meaning in a translated work, or even a work written by someone whose native language is not English. Even with an excellent translator, in my mind, it really isn't the same. This may not be true...maybe this book was just better than other things I've read. This book really progressed me, I think, in terms of examining my own thoughts and motivations. It's been helpful in terms of mindfulness and meditation. It's no coincidence that, in the midst of reading this book, I came across another book that I am reading now, Mindfulness in Plain English, which I believe will be even more helpful.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Laurent

    This is a book that will remain with me throughout my life. I have read it a couple of times and listened to it as well. It is a definite must read for anyone seeking growth and spiritual awakening.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    There are a number of books which follow this book's format (4 noble truths and the 8 fold path) in illustrating Buddhist philosophy. This version was just right for me. The writing is clear, personal and instructive. The author's observations and anecdotes are effectively woven into this standard introduction to Buddhism. I haven't read any of the author's other books, but I imagine they're worth reading as well.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This was the first buddhist book I ever read. It is the reason for me finding my home in spirituality. It is well written, clear and moving. You will learn a lot from this book and it will help you find your path. I recommend this book to anyone searching for a spiritual direction.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Barbara (The Bibliophage)

    Full review at TheBibliophage.com. In this short book, Lama Surya Das introduces readers to Buddhism, and the process of Awakening the Buddha Within. It is subtitled Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World, which is an accurate description. Lama Surya Das tells how a guy from Long Island ends up in Tibet and India studying Buddhism in the 1970s. He escapes the psychedelic era for one of contemplation and compassion. However, this book isn’t a memoir. Das just provides readers with the context of what Full review at TheBibliophage.com. In this short book, Lama Surya Das introduces readers to Buddhism, and the process of Awakening the Buddha Within. It is subtitled Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World, which is an accurate description. Lama Surya Das tells how a guy from Long Island ends up in Tibet and India studying Buddhism in the 1970s. He escapes the psychedelic era for one of contemplation and compassion. However, this book isn’t a memoir. Das just provides readers with the context of what makes him a unique teacher. He now teaches, writes, and runs the Dzogchen Center in New York State. Das walks readers through the main principles of Buddhism, always relating them to life in the West. The steps are calming, introspective, and brought me much peace. According to Das and Buddhism, walking the Eight-fold Path leads to Enlightenment. Das breaks each step down, including examples from the reality of our Western lives. He understands that his typical reader isn’t sitting on a mountaintop, but driving in traffic. I certainly was, since I listened to the audio book! If you’re looking for a short, relevant explanation of Buddhist principles, Lama Surya Das is your guy. Because he’s a Westerner, his ability to place the principles in a context that makes sense for Western lives is unique. That said, this is an older book. It was published in 1997, so it doesn’t address 21st-century lifestyle changes. Nevertheless, I found it to be a place of peace and comfort in my busy life.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Not for me. I didn't get very far into it before I became bored. I was expecting something along the lines of Buddhism-lite....maybe some EZ-step beginning approaches that a modern, urban person actively participating in life could incorporate - to channel more inner harmony and all. Obviously I would have to have more patience, but right off the bat it seemed heavy handed on the religious aspect and the alleged superior wisdom of lamas who live heirarchical, cloistered lives and yet possess all Not for me. I didn't get very far into it before I became bored. I was expecting something along the lines of Buddhism-lite....maybe some EZ-step beginning approaches that a modern, urban person actively participating in life could incorporate - to channel more inner harmony and all. Obviously I would have to have more patience, but right off the bat it seemed heavy handed on the religious aspect and the alleged superior wisdom of lamas who live heirarchical, cloistered lives and yet possess all the answers (not unlike catholic monastics) For some reason I'd thought Buddhism was kind of like a religion for non-religious people, a way to achieve spiritual tranquility without dogma, and he at one point says something to that effect...but then at other points he lists out fun stuff you have to give up - if you really want to be at peace, that is. I didn't see much space for fun or humor. There are rules and dogmas after all. Drinking and drugs get in the way. Recreational sex gets in the way. It seems that in order to achieve real englightenment you do indeed have to pray and meditate a lot and devote your life to it. Yes, I know, nothing worthwhile is easily gotten, and life's answers aren't to found in a ten-step brochure but if this was supposed to be an introduction to Buddhism, it was a turn-off.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Doug Dillon

    Written by an American who became a Tibetan Lama, this book gives readers a solid course in Buddhist concepts. Giving clear step-by-step explanations, the author uses an engaging and even humorous tone that makes him as much of a friend as he is an expert in this field. His stories are wonderful and very instructive. The steps mentioned above are actually the Buddhist Eightfold Noble Path to enlightenment but greatly expanded upon. Lama Surya Das continues to enlarge his explanations with the fol Written by an American who became a Tibetan Lama, this book gives readers a solid course in Buddhist concepts. Giving clear step-by-step explanations, the author uses an engaging and even humorous tone that makes him as much of a friend as he is an expert in this field. His stories are wonderful and very instructive. The steps mentioned above are actually the Buddhist Eightfold Noble Path to enlightenment but greatly expanded upon. Lama Surya Das continues to enlarge his explanations with the following 3 important sections that are valuable "how to" guides: Wisdom Training Ethics Training Meditation Training These chapter titles are examples of how the author continually points out to the reader that they already have the knowledge he is telling them about: “Seeing Things as They Are”, “Plumbing Your Wise Buddha-Nature”, and “Keeping Your Eyes Open”. Surya Das is, he says, simply helping people to unveil the "Buddha within."

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rosanna

    I've been looking for my spiritual path for quite some time, and I've always been interested in Buddhism, but so far, I've found books on Buddhism to be inaccessible for me. My husband suggested that I try reading this. I feel like I finally understand what Buddhism is meant to be and that there is such a thing as contemporary, Western Buddhism. Lama Surya Das distills the four noble truths and the eight fold path in a comprehensible fashion for a western reader. I know I will be coming back to I've been looking for my spiritual path for quite some time, and I've always been interested in Buddhism, but so far, I've found books on Buddhism to be inaccessible for me. My husband suggested that I try reading this. I feel like I finally understand what Buddhism is meant to be and that there is such a thing as contemporary, Western Buddhism. Lama Surya Das distills the four noble truths and the eight fold path in a comprehensible fashion for a western reader. I know I will be coming back to this book again and again for the specific suggested meditations.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alda Petrocchi

    For me, this is the quintessential life guide. I have read it a few times throughout the years; I re-visit it when I feel I need a refresher, and will continue to do so probably for the rest of my life. It's so simple and approachable, yet intricate and profound at the same time. Highly recommended.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Carlie

    This book was recommend as an introduction to Buddhism. Suyra Das writes of his experiences learning from elders in Tibet, spending years in silence and bringing his teaching to the modern world. He breaks down core principles and applies an ancient "religion" to our fast paced western culture.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jordan

    A decent introduction to Buddhism. Surya Das does a nice job of translating practices and traditions into more easily understood concepts for Westerners. He addresses issues like trying to meditate during a busy day on the subway and compares the Buddha mind to a pan coated with teflon. He pays attention to the idea of a new Western Dharma that is evolving out of the synthesis of traditional Eastern practices and the Western mentality. There's a lot of emphasis put on practice and especially on A decent introduction to Buddhism. Surya Das does a nice job of translating practices and traditions into more easily understood concepts for Westerners. He addresses issues like trying to meditate during a busy day on the subway and compares the Buddha mind to a pan coated with teflon. He pays attention to the idea of a new Western Dharma that is evolving out of the synthesis of traditional Eastern practices and the Western mentality. There's a lot of emphasis put on practice and especially on meditation practice. He regularly gives ideas for meditation practices or even just recitations to help people out. I'd have loved an index of all his practice suggestions somewhere in the book, though since most come at the end of segments they're not too hard to find. Something about the format of the book bogged me down about halfway through. There was just something in the organization of his segments that made it a bit of a slower read for me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Clint

    This was a Great Read. For anyone considering either practicing Buddhism or gaining a general understanding of the philosophy of Buddhism, I would recommend this Book. Regardless of your religion, beliefs, etc. you can gain a great insight into a way to view the world and more importantly, as Buddhism drives, View Yourself! The insight into meditation, calming your mind, practicing Awareness and Mindfulness are beneficial to anyone in any walk of life. Whether it be with your family, your friends, This was a Great Read. For anyone considering either practicing Buddhism or gaining a general understanding of the philosophy of Buddhism, I would recommend this Book. Regardless of your religion, beliefs, etc. you can gain a great insight into a way to view the world and more importantly, as Buddhism drives, View Yourself! The insight into meditation, calming your mind, practicing Awareness and Mindfulness are beneficial to anyone in any walk of life. Whether it be with your family, your friends, your co-workers, etc. you can benefit by living in The Moment, This Moment, Every Moment.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rhesa

    Lama Surya Das is a Jew, before he travelled to Tibet and converted to Buddhism, now he is a leading Buddhist leader in America. This book is a "relaxing" read because I feel he is sincere on what he is talking, no wonder to many, it even "enrich their spiritual lives". It contains many wits, wisdoms as well as humours. I love nature and all of Emerson & Thoreau's thoughts, so I enjoy reading this book, that's all I can say.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Colette

    I'm rereading this book SLOWLY. I tend to read very fast and loose the content days later. This is an amazing book on Lama Surya Das' journey from Long Island to Tibet. And a great Buddhism for beginners book though that that description does not do it justice. Enjoy:).

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    I have learned how to live... and breathe.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Wade

    The author was born Jeffrey Miller to a Jewish family from Long Island. In his 20’s he began a spiritual journey that took him to Tibetan Buddhism where he eventually became a respected scholar and teacher, he now goes by the name and title of Lama Surya Das. His objective in this book is to explore and explain Eastern wisdom and practice to a Western audience. His emphasis is in Dzogchen, which is a Tibetan non-sectarian tradition of Buddhism. I found it a great compliment to Thich Nhat Hanh's The author was born Jeffrey Miller to a Jewish family from Long Island. In his 20’s he began a spiritual journey that took him to Tibetan Buddhism where he eventually became a respected scholar and teacher, he now goes by the name and title of Lama Surya Das. His objective in this book is to explore and explain Eastern wisdom and practice to a Western audience. His emphasis is in Dzogchen, which is a Tibetan non-sectarian tradition of Buddhism. I found it a great compliment to Thich Nhat Hanh's overview of Buddhist thought in The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching . Lama Surya Das argues that within each of us lies a potential enlightened-self, which he calls the Buddha within: “Enlightenment- whether you call it spiritual awakening, liberation, illumination, or satori-- means prolonged inner transformation and self-realization.” p 14. By unlocking our potential we can achieve a more fulfilled and transcendent life, more aware and mindful of our surroundings. He discusses the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path to Enlightenment, and focuses on practical strategies to achieve Bodhicitta (an awakened mind) in our busy and easily distracted lives. “The secret wisdom of Dzogchen teaches us that whatever we are looking for, it is always right here. We are usually elsewhere. That's the problem.” p 70. Meditation is the exercise that helps us become fully present, to awaken our Buddha within. He emphasizes that these ideas can build onto the foundations of other faith traditions and philosophies without replacing anything, I like his ecumenical and universal approach.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lon

    What did the Dalai Lama say to the hot dog vendor? Make me one with everything. A thorough exploration of a Buddhist conceptual framework for being spiritually awake. Some surprising resonances with other faith traditions, such as the passage that reminds us, "Spiritual masters are able to be in the world but not of it. They are sometimes likened to graceful, snow-colored swans who travel the lakes of the world without making waves. . . . [they are like] the lotus, which grows up through the wate What did the Dalai Lama say to the hot dog vendor? Make me one with everything. A thorough exploration of a Buddhist conceptual framework for being spiritually awake. Some surprising resonances with other faith traditions, such as the passage that reminds us, "Spiritual masters are able to be in the world but not of it. They are sometimes likened to graceful, snow-colored swans who travel the lakes of the world without making waves. . . . [they are like] the lotus, which grows up through the water and raises its face to the shining sun; it is in the mud, but not of it." Other lovely images abound. As we practice taming the mind through meditation, the author offers this advice: "each time the mind wanders, bring it back again to the breath. Bring it back by tugging gently on the leash of mindfulness." Isn't that great? Then there's the line where he refers to a Buddha mind as being Teflon-coated. Nothing sticks, no mess. Let things slide off. Das' genius is that he can teach westerners this oriental philosophy without watering it down or turning it into spiritual cotton candy.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    I think a lot of people I know who would read this book would think "Yeah, that makes sense" or "I knew that innately but now here are the words to confirm it." I studied Buddhism - among other religions - while in college so the concepts were familiar to me. What I like about this book, though, is that it is clever, has fun and practical anecdotes that are easy to relate to and is a great resource. One to keep in the nightstand and read a bit before bed or in the morning so that every so often, I think a lot of people I know who would read this book would think "Yeah, that makes sense" or "I knew that innately but now here are the words to confirm it." I studied Buddhism - among other religions - while in college so the concepts were familiar to me. What I like about this book, though, is that it is clever, has fun and practical anecdotes that are easy to relate to and is a great resource. One to keep in the nightstand and read a bit before bed or in the morning so that every so often, you can look at the Eight Fold path to remind yourself what to do every day, every moment. Confused about priorities and feeling stressed? The Five Remembrances can help bring things into perspective and focus. I used to have the list from the "Mingling Dharma with Your Every Day Life" posted on the fridge to remind me how to "cultivate mindful awareness".

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    I enjoy this book. Very interesting. I liked the first half of this book very much. I enjoyed learning about some of the reasons behind the practices I see around me. I'm impressed with spiritually and loving-kindness. To Live in Love. The 8 steps flow from love and are intuitive. I would only give the second half of this book a three. It was on different meditations. Since I don't see myself meditating for hours everyday it wasn't as much fun to read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    For anyone who is interested in the basic/fundamentals of Buddhism, this is the book for you. It is written in lay man terms and easy to understand. THis book lays out all the fundamentals of practice in a clear and concise manner, adding to it a sense of humor. It takes the precepts of Buddhism and places them in our modern day world and teaches one how to begin and stay on the path.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Wright

    This book really opened my eyes and helped me regain my spiritual path. You don't have to be Buddhist to benefit from Lama Das's words. If you are interested in uplifting and inspirational spiritual message, I recommend this book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Monta

    This was helpful to me in understanding Buddhism better. I've finally got the 8-fold path down and understand the 3 jewels. I get the 4 Noble Truths better. Altogether helpful. I'm glad I read it. I think having it explained by a Westerner was really good for me.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Dion

    I have read this three times, at least. I find myself reaching for it a chapter or a segment at a time, over and over. It is very grounding and resonates so well with me.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jon Bash

    Couldn't finish it. Too much woo-woo for me.

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