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SN 20.8 Kaliṅgarasutta: Wood Blocks

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying near Vesālī, at the Great Wood, in the hall with the peaked roof. There the Buddha addressed the mendicants, “Mendicants!”

“Venerable sir,” they replied. The Buddha said this:

“Mendicants, these days the Licchavis live using wood blocks as pillows, and they exercise diligently and keenly. King Ajātasattu of Magadha, son of the princess of Videha, finds no vulnerability, he’s got no foothold. But in the future the Licchavis will become delicate, with soft and tender hands and feet. They’ll sleep on soft beds with down pillows until the sun comes up. King Ajātasattu of Magadha, son of the princess of Videha, will find a vulnerability, he’ll get his foothold.

These days the mendicants live using wood blocks as pillows, and they meditate diligently and keenly. Māra the Wicked finds no vulnerability, he’s got no foothold. But in the future the mendicants will become delicate, with soft and tender hands and feet. They’ll sleep on soft beds with down pillows until the sun comes up. Māra the Wicked will find a vulnerability and will get a foothold.

So you should train like this: ‘We will live using wood blocks as pillows, and we will meditate diligently and keenly.’ That’s how you should train.”


Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 20.8 Kaliṅgarasutta: Wood Blocks by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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Dhp 375 From… Bhikkhuvagga: Mendicants

This is the very start of the path
for a wise mendicant:
guarding the senses, contentment,
and restraint in the monastic code.


Read the entire translation of Dhammapada 360–382 Bhikkhuvagga: by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

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AN 10.71 Ākaṅkhasutta: One Might Wish

At one time the Buddha was staying near Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. There the Buddha addressed the mendicants, “Mendicants!”

“Venerable sir,” they replied. The Buddha said this:

“Mendicants, live by the ethical precepts and the monastic code. Live restrained in the monastic code, conducting yourselves well and seeking alms in suitable places. Seeing danger in the slightest fault, keep the rules you’ve undertaken.

A mendicant might wish: ‘May I be liked and approved by my spiritual companions, respected and admired.’ So let them fulfill their precepts, be committed to inner serenity of the heart, not neglect absorption, be endowed with discernment, and frequent empty huts.

A mendicant might wish: ‘May I receive robes, almsfood, lodgings, and medicines and supplies for the sick.’ So let them fulfill their precepts, be committed to inner serenity of the heart, not neglect absorption, be endowed with discernment, and frequent empty huts.

A mendicant might wish: ‘May the services of those whose robes, almsfood, lodgings, and medicines and supplies for the sick I enjoy be very fruitful and beneficial for them.’ So let them fulfill their precepts …

A mendicant might wish: ‘When deceased family and relatives who have passed away recollect me with a confident mind, may this be very fruitful and beneficial for them.’ So let them fulfill their precepts …

A mendicant might wish: ‘May I be content with any kind of robes, almsfood, lodgings, and medicines and supplies for the sick.’ So let them fulfill their precepts …

A mendicant might wish: ‘May I endure cold, heat, hunger, and thirst. May I endure the touch of flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, and reptiles. May I endure rude and unwelcome criticism. And may I put up with physical pain—sharp, severe, acute, unpleasant, disagreeable, and life-threatening.’ So let them fulfill their precepts …

A mendicant might wish: ‘May I prevail over desire and discontent, and may desire and discontent not prevail over me. May I live having mastered desire and discontent whenever they have arisen.’ So let them fulfill their precepts …

A mendicant might wish: ‘May I prevail over fear and dread, and may fear and dread not prevail over me. May I live having mastered fear and dread whenever they arise.’ So let them fulfill their precepts …

A mendicant might wish: ‘May I get the four absorptions—blissful meditations in the present life that belong to the higher mind—when I want, without trouble or difficulty.’ So let them fulfill their precepts …

A mendicant might wish: ‘May I realize the undefiled freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom in this very life, and live having realized it with my own insight due to the ending of defilements.’ So let them fulfill their precepts, be committed to inner serenity of the heart, not neglect absorption, be endowed with discernment, and frequent empty huts.

‘Live by the ethical precepts and the monastic code. Live restrained in the monastic code, conducting yourselves well and seeking alms in suitable places. Seeing danger in the slightest fault, keep the rules you’ve undertaken.’ That’s what I said, and this is why I said it.”


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MN 65 From… Bhaddālisutta: With Bhaddāli

…When he said this, Venerable Bhaddāli said to the Buddha, “What is the cause, sir, what is the reason why they punish some monk, repeatedly pressuring him? And what is the cause, what is the reason why they don’t similarly punish another monk, repeatedly pressuring him?”

“Take a monk who is a frequent offender with many offenses. When admonished by the monks, he dodges the issue, distracting the discussion with irrelevant points. He displays annoyance, hate, and bitterness. He doesn’t proceed properly, he doesn’t fall in line, he doesn’t proceed to get past it, and he doesn’t say: ‘I’ll do what pleases the Saṅgha.’ In such a case, the monks say: ‘Reverends, this monk is a frequent offender, with many offenses. When admonished by the monks, he dodges the issue, distracting the discussion with irrelevant points. He displays annoyance, hate, and bitterness. He doesn’t proceed properly, he doesn’t fall in line, he doesn’t proceed to get past it, and he doesn’t say: “I’ll do what pleases the Saṅgha.” It’d be good for the venerables to examine this monk in such a way that this disciplinary issue is not quickly settled.’ And that’s what they do.

Take some other monk who is a frequent offender with many offenses. When admonished by the monks, he doesn’t dodge the issue, distracting the discussion with irrelevant points. He doesn’t display annoyance, hate, and bitterness. He proceeds properly, he falls in line, he proceeds to get past it, and he says: ‘I’ll do what pleases the Saṅgha.’ In such a case, the monks say: ‘Reverends, this monk is a frequent offender, with many offenses. When admonished by the monks, he doesn’t dodge the issue, distracting the discussion with irrelevant points. He doesn’t display annoyance, hate, and bitterness. He proceeds properly, he falls in line, he proceeds to get past it, and he says: ‘I’ll do what pleases the Saṅgha.’ It’d be good for the venerables to examine this monk in such a way that this disciplinary issue is quickly settled.’ And that’s what they do.

Take some other monk who is an occasional offender without many offenses. When admonished by the monks, he dodges the issue … In such a case, the monks say: ‘Reverends, this monk is an occasional offender without many offenses. When admonished by the monks, he dodges the issue … It’d be good for the venerables to examine this monk in such a way that this disciplinary issue is not quickly settled.’ And that’s what they do.

Take some other monk who is an occasional offender without many offenses. When admonished by the monks, he doesn’t dodge the issue … In such a case, the monks say: ‘Reverends, this monk is an occasional offender without many offenses. When admonished by the monks, he doesn’t dodge the issue … It’d be good for the venerables to examine this monk in such a way that this disciplinary issue is quickly settled.’ And that’s what they do.

Take some other monk who gets by with mere faith and love. In such a case, the monks say: ‘Reverends, this monk gets by with mere faith and love. If we punish him, repeatedly pressuring him—no, let him not lose what little faith and love he has!’

Suppose there was a person with one eye. Their friends and colleagues, relatives and kin would protect that one eye: ‘Let them not lose the one eye that they have!’ In the same way, some monk gets by with mere faith and love. In such a case, the monks say: ‘Reverends, this monk gets by with mere faith and love. If we punish him, repeatedly pressuring him—no, let him not lose what little faith and love he has!’ This is the cause, this is the reason why they punish some monk, repeatedly pressuring him. And this is the cause, this is the reason why they don’t similarly punish another monk, repeatedly pressuring him.”

What is the cause, sir, what is the reason why there used to be fewer training rules but more enlightened mendicants? And what is the cause, what is the reason why these days there are more training rules and fewer enlightened mendicants?”

“That’s how it is, Bhaddāli. When sentient beings are in decline and the true teaching is disappearing there are more training rules and fewer enlightened mendicants. The Teacher doesn’t lay down training rules for disciples as long as certain defiling influences have not appeared in the Saṅgha. But when such defiling influences appear in the Saṅgha, the Teacher lays down training rules for disciples to protect against them.

And they don’t appear until the Saṅgha has attained a great size, an abundance of material support and fame, learning, and seniority. But when the Saṅgha has attained these things, then such defiling influences appear in the Saṅgha, and the Teacher lays down training rules for disciples to protect against them.…



Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 65 Bhaddālisutta: With Bhaddāli by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 3.86 Paṭhamasikkhāsutta: Training (1st)

“Mendicants, each fortnight over a hundred and fifty training rules come up for recitation, in which gentlemen who love themselves train. These are all included in the three trainings. What three? The training in the higher ethics, the higher mind, and the higher wisdom. These are the three trainings that include them all.

Take the case of a mendicant who has fulfilled their ethics, but has limited immersion and wisdom. They break some lesser and minor training rules, but are restored. Why is that? Because I don’t say they’re incapable of that. But they’re constant and steady in their precepts regarding the training rules that are fundamental, befitting the spiritual path. They keep the rules they’ve undertaken. With the ending of three fetters they’re a stream-enterer, not liable to be reborn in the underworld, bound for awakening.

Take another case of a mendicant who has fulfilled their ethics, but has limited immersion and wisdom. They break some lesser and minor training rules, but are restored. Why is that? Because I don’t say they’re incapable of that. But they’re constant and steady in their precepts regarding the training rules that are fundamental, befitting the spiritual path. They keep the rules they’ve undertaken. With the ending of three fetters, and the weakening of greed, hate, and delusion, they’re a once-returner. They come back to this world once only, then make an end of suffering.

Take another case of a mendicant who has fulfilled their ethics and immersion, but has limited wisdom. They break some lesser and minor training rules, but are restored. Why is that? Because I don’t say they’re incapable of that. But they’re constant and steady in their precepts regarding the training rules that are fundamental, befitting the spiritual path. They keep the rules they’ve undertaken. With the ending of the five lower fetters they’re reborn spontaneously. They are extinguished there, and are not liable to return from that world.

Take another case of a mendicant who has fulfilled their ethics, immersion, and wisdom. They break some lesser and minor training rules, but are restored. Why is that? Because I don’t say they’re incapable of that. But they’re constant and steady in their precepts regarding the training rules that are fundamental, befitting the spiritual path. They keep the rules they’ve undertaken. They realize the undefiled freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom in this very life. And they live having realized it with their own insight due to the ending of defilements.

So, mendicants, if you practice partially you succeed partially. If you practice fully you succeed fully. These training rules are not a waste, I say.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 3.86 Paṭhamasikkhāsutta: Training (1st) by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

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Thag 3.11: The Verses of Arahant Upāli (249-251)

A newly ordained monk who entered the Buddha’s path out of faith, abandoning the home life, should practice right livelihood. He should be energetic and associate with noble friends.

A newly ordained monk who entered the Buddha’s path out of faith, abandoning the home life, should live in the midst of monks. He should learn the code of conduct well.

A newly ordained monk who entered the Buddha’s path out of faith, abandoning the home life, should be skilled in recognising what is allowable and unallowable. He should live without focusing on craving.

These verses were said by Arahant Upāli.


Read this translation of Theragāthā 3.11: The Verses of Arahant Upāli (249-251) by Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnananda Thero on SuttaFriends.org. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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You can find the entire translation of the Theragāthā: Verses of Arahant Monks available on SuttaFriends.org.

AN 10.88 Akkosakasutta: An Abuser

“Mendicants, any mendicant who abuses and insults their spiritual companions, speaking ill of the noble ones, will, without a doubt, fall into one or other of these ten disasters. What ten?

  1. They don’t achieve the unachieved.
  2. What they have achieved falls away.
  3. They don’t refine their good qualities.
  4. They overestimate their good qualities,
  5. or lead the spiritual life dissatisfied,
  6. or commit a corrupt offense,
  7. or contract a severe illness,
  8. or go mad and lose their mind.
  9. They feel lost when they die.
  10. And when their body breaks up, after death, they are reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell.

Any mendicant who abuses and insults their spiritual companions, speaking ill of the noble ones, will, without a doubt, fall into one or other of these ten disasters.”


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MN 107 Gaṇakamoggallānasutta: With Moggallāna the Accountant

[Note: Today’s selection is unusually long, but it gives an example of the Buddha’s technique of gradual training for monastics as well as addresses the question of why some people achieve success and some do not. Finally it concludes with a reminder that not everyone ordains with the same good qualities and good intentions.]

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying near Sāvatthī in the Eastern Monastery, the stilt longhouse of Migāra’s mother. Then the brahmin Moggallāna the Accountant went up to the Buddha, and exchanged greetings with him. When the greetings and polite conversation were over, he sat down to one side and said to the Buddha:

“Master Gotama, in this stilt longhouse we can see gradual progress down to the last step of the staircase. Among the brahmins we can see gradual progress in learning the chants. Among archers we can see gradual progress in archery. Among us accountants, who earn a living by accounting, we can see gradual progress in mathematics. For when we get an apprentice we first make them count: ‘One one, two twos, three threes, four fours, five fives, six sixes, seven sevens, eight eights, nine nines, ten tens.’ We even make them count up to a hundred. Is it possible to similarly describe a gradual training, gradual progress, and gradual practice in this teaching and training?”

“It is possible, brahmin. Suppose a deft horse trainer were to obtain a fine thoroughbred. First of all he’d make it get used to wearing the bit. In the same way, when the Realized One gets a person for training they first guide them like this: ‘Come, mendicant, be ethical and restrained in the monastic code, conducting yourself well and seeking alms in suitable places. Seeing danger in the slightest fault, keep the rules you’ve undertaken.’

When they have ethical conduct, the Realized One guides them further: ‘Come, mendicant, guard your sense doors. When you see a sight with your eyes, don’t get caught up in the features and details. If the faculty of sight were left unrestrained, bad unskillful qualities of covetousness and displeasure would become overwhelming. For this reason, practice restraint, protect the faculty of sight, and achieve restraint over it. When you hear a sound with your ears … When you smell an odor with your nose … When you taste a flavor with your tongue … When you feel a touch with your body … When you know a thought with your mind, don’t get caught up in the features and details. If the faculty of mind were left unrestrained, bad unskillful qualities of covetousness and displeasure would become overwhelming. For this reason, practice restraint, protect the faculty of mind, and achieve its restraint.’

When they guard their sense doors, the Realized One guides them further: ‘Come, mendicant, eat in moderation. Reflect rationally on the food that you eat: ‘Not for fun, indulgence, adornment, or decoration, but only to sustain this body, to avoid harm, and to support spiritual practice. In this way, I shall put an end to old discomfort and not give rise to new discomfort, and I will live blamelessly and at ease.’

When they eat in moderation, the Realized One guides them further: ‘Come, mendicant, be committed to wakefulness. Practice walking and sitting meditation by day, purifying your mind from obstacles. In the evening, continue to practice walking and sitting meditation. In the middle of the night, lie down in the lion’s posture—on the right side, placing one foot on top of the other—mindful and aware, and focused on the time of getting up. In the last part of the night, get up and continue to practice walking and sitting meditation, purifying your mind from obstacles.’

When they are committed to wakefulness, the Realized One guides them further: ‘Come, mendicant, have mindfulness and situational awareness. Act with situational awareness when going out and coming back; when looking ahead and aside; when bending and extending the limbs; when bearing the outer robe, bowl and robes; when eating, drinking, chewing, and tasting; when urinating and defecating; when walking, standing, sitting, sleeping, waking, speaking, and keeping silent.’

When they have mindfulness and situational awareness, the Realized One guides them further: ‘Come, mendicant, frequent a secluded lodging—a wilderness, the root of a tree, a hill, a ravine, a mountain cave, a charnel ground, a forest, the open air, a heap of straw.’ And they do so.

After the meal, they return from almsround, sit down cross-legged, set their body straight, and establish mindfulness in front of them. Giving up covetousness for the world, they meditate with a heart rid of covetousness, cleansing the mind of covetousness. Giving up ill will and malevolence, they meditate with a mind rid of ill will, full of compassion for all living beings, cleansing the mind of ill will. Giving up dullness and drowsiness, they meditate with a mind rid of dullness and drowsiness, perceiving light, mindful and aware, cleansing the mind of dullness and drowsiness. Giving up restlessness and remorse, they meditate without restlessness, their mind peaceful inside, cleansing the mind of restlessness and remorse. Giving up doubt, they meditate having gone beyond doubt, not undecided about skillful qualities, cleansing the mind of doubt.

They give up these five hindrances, corruptions of the heart that weaken wisdom. Then, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, they enter and remain in the first absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of seclusion, while placing the mind and keeping it connected. As the placing of the mind and keeping it connected are stilled, they enter and remain in the second absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of immersion, with internal clarity and mind at one, without placing the mind and keeping it connected. And with the fading away of rapture, they enter and remain in the third absorption, where they meditate with equanimity, mindful and aware, personally experiencing the bliss of which the noble ones declare, ‘Equanimous and mindful, one meditates in bliss.’ Giving up pleasure and pain, and ending former happiness and sadness, they enter and remain in the fourth absorption, without pleasure or pain, with pure equanimity and mindfulness.

That’s how I instruct the mendicants who are trainees—who haven’t achieved their heart’s desire, but live aspiring to the supreme sanctuary from the yoke. But for those mendicants who are perfected—who have ended the defilements, completed the spiritual journey, done what had to be done, laid down the burden, achieved their own goal, utterly ended the fetters of rebirth, and are rightly freed through enlightenment—these things lead to blissful meditation in the present life, and to mindfulness and awareness.”

When he had spoken, Moggallāna the Accountant said to the Buddha, “When his disciples are instructed and advised like this by Master Gotama, do all of them achieve the ultimate goal, extinguishment, or do some of them fail?

“Some succeed, while others fail.”

“What is the cause, Master Gotama, what is the reason why, though extinguishment is present, the path leading to extinguishment is present, and Master Gotama is present to encourage them, still some succeed while others fail?”

“Well then, brahmin, I’ll ask you about this in return, and you can answer as you like. What do you think, brahmin? Are you skilled in the road to Rājagaha?”

“Yes, I am.”

“What do you think, brahmin? Suppose a person was to come along who wanted to go to Rājagaha. He’d approach you and say: ‘Sir, I wish to go to Rājagaha. Please point out the road to Rājagaha.’ Then you’d say to them: ‘Here, mister, this road goes to Rājagaha. Go along it for a while, and you’ll see a certain village. Go along a while further, and you’ll see a certain town. Go along a while further and you’ll see Rājagaha with its delightful parks, woods, meadows, and lotus ponds.’ Instructed like this by you, they might still take the wrong road, heading west. But a second person might come with the same question and receive the same instructions. Instructed by you, they might safely arrive at Rājagaha. What is the cause, brahmin, what is the reason why, though Rājagaha is present, the path leading to Rājagaha is present, and you are there to encourage them, one person takes the wrong path and heads west, while another arrives safely at Rājagaha?”

“What can I do about that, Master Gotama? I am the one who shows the way.”

In the same way, though extinguishment is present, the path leading to extinguishment is present, and I am present to encourage them, still some of my disciples, instructed and advised like this, achieve the ultimate goal, extinguishment, while some of them fail. What can I do about that, brahmin? The Realized One is the one who shows the way.”

When he had spoken, Moggallāna the Accountant said to the Buddha, “Master Gotama, there are those faithless people who went forth from the lay life to homelessness not out of faith but to earn a livelihood. They’re devious, deceitful, and sneaky. They’re restless, insolent, fickle, scurrilous, and loose-tongued. They do not guard their sense doors or eat in moderation, and they are not committed to wakefulness. They don’t care about the ascetic life, and don’t keenly respect the training. They’re indulgent and slack, leaders in backsliding, neglecting seclusion, lazy, and lacking energy. They’re unmindful, lacking situational awareness and immersion, with straying minds, witless and stupid. Master Gotama doesn’t live together with these.

But there are those gentlemen who went forth from the lay life to homelessness out of faith. They’re not devious, deceitful, and sneaky. They’re not restless, insolent, fickle, scurrilous, and loose-tongued. They guard their sense doors and eat in moderation, and they are committed to wakefulness. They care about the ascetic life, and keenly respect the training. They’re not indulgent or slack, nor are they leaders in backsliding, neglecting seclusion. They’re energetic and determined. They’re mindful, with situational awareness, immersion, and unified minds; wise, not stupid. Master Gotama does live together with these.

Of all kinds of fragrant root, spikenard is said to be the best. Of all kinds of fragrant heartwood, red sandalwood is said to be the best. Of all kinds of fragrant flower, jasmine is said to be the best. In the same way, Master Gotama’s advice is the best of contemporary teachings.

Excellent, Master Gotama! Excellent! As if he were righting the overturned, or revealing the hidden, or pointing out the path to the lost, or lighting a lamp in the dark so people with clear eyes can see what’s there, Master Gotama has made the Teaching clear in many ways. I go for refuge to Master Gotama, to the teaching, and to the mendicant Saṅgha. From this day forth, may Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge for life.”


Read this translation of Majjhima Nikāya 107 Gaṇakamoggallānasutta: With Moggallāna the Accountant by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

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AN 5.114 Andhakavinda Sutta: At Andhakavinda

On one occasion the Blessed One was staying among the Magadhans at Andhakavinda. Then Ven. Ānanda went to him and, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, “Ānanda, the new monks—those who have not long gone forth, who are newcomers in this Dhamma & Vinaya—should be encouraged, exhorted, and established in these five things. Which five?

“‘Come, friends, be virtuous. Dwell restrained in accordance with the Pāṭimokkha, consummate in your behavior & sphere of activity. Train yourselves, having undertaken the training rules, seeing danger in the slightest faults.’ Thus they should be encouraged, exhorted, & established in restraint in accordance with the Pāṭimokkha.

“‘Come, friends, dwell with your sense faculties guarded, with mindfulness as your protector, with mindfulness as your chief, with your intellect self-protected, endowed with an awareness protected by mindfulness.’ Thus they should be encouraged, exhorted, & established in restraint of the senses.

“‘Come, friends, speak only a little, place limits on your conversation.’ Thus they should be encouraged, exhorted, & established in limited conversation.

“‘Come, friends, dwell in the wilderness. Resort to remote wilderness & forest dwellings.’ Thus they should be encouraged, exhorted, & established in physical seclusion.

“Come, friends, develop right view. Be endowed with right vision.’ Thus they should be encouraged, exhorted, & established in right vision.

“New monks—those who have not long gone forth, who are newcomers in this Dhamma & Vinaya—should be encouraged, exhorted, and established in these five things.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 5.114 Andhakavinda Sutta. At Andhakavinda by Bhikkhu Ṭhanissaro on DhammaTalks.org. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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