2008.08.02 13:00 – God, god, belief, religion… Being… and PaB

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Gaya, stepping in for Dakini. Happy Birthday Dakini!

    After a few crashes, I finally manage to settle down to join Fael and Wol.

    Wol Euler: I've been out at a birthday party all afternoon/evening, my be incoherent or rambling :-)
    Fael Illyar: wb Gaya :)
    Wol Euler: wb gaya
    Gaya Ethaniel: phew... back thanks
    Gaya Ethaniel: _/!\_
    Fael Illyar: I've been running around the town with my mother and sister (and a couple of years old half-brother)
    Wol Euler: ah, still on holiday?
    Faenik loves wells!
    Fael Illyar: Back home but my sister followed me here for a few days
    Wol Euler: lol

    Tahuti and Isen soon join us.

    Fael Illyar: Hello Tahuti :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: _/!\_
    Tahuti Thor: hello
    Fael Illyar: Hi Isen :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: _/!\_
    Isen Enzo: Hiya
    Wol Euler: hello Isen, Tahuuti
    Isen Enzo: _/!\_
    Isen Enzo: PaBing?
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles
    Gaya Ethaniel: warming up Isen
    Fael Illyar: that's what we do here usually at this time I think :)
    Wol Euler: bingo

    As the silence rules again, I attempt to get Isen to provide us with  a topic but soon lose him to his customers. Quilty joins us shortly after.

    Gaya Ethaniel: Is there anything you'd like to discuss Isen?
    Gaya Ethaniel looks for Isen's latte cape
    Fael Illyar: Hi Quilty
    Wol Euler: hello quilty
    Gaya Ethanial: _/!\_
    Quilty Bookmite: Hi all.
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles
    Tahuti Thor: helllo everyone
    Gaya Ethaniel: _/!\_
    Quilty Bookmite: hi Tahuti
    Faenik: could be
    Fael Illyar: Funny all the things I'm suddenly paying attention to. I just suddenly noticed that both Wol and Gaya look rather peaceful in their facial expressions :)
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles
    Isen Enzo: hmm
    Wol Euler: must be all the white wine.
    Fael Illyar: Wol, is this recent change or was I just blind earlier?
    Gaya Ethaniel: must be Isen's notecards
    Wol Euler: mm, I have different eyes but otherwise no changes :-)
    Fael Illyar: the eyes make a lot of this sort of effect :)

    I pluck up my courage and decide to raise a question regarding ‘tension’ within PaB and everyone is suddenly firing all cylinders to my surprise… our discussion centres around God, god, religion, belief and Being.

    Gaya Ethaniel: I do have a question re: PaB in general
    Gaya Ethaniel: I sometimes feel tension between diff group of people who follow different religions during discussion ie Christians and Buddhists. have you guys felt that too?
    Gaya Ethaniel: in regards to gods, being or practice generally
    Wol Euler: I wouldn't say "tension" but I was surprised to hear Christianity surface between Pema nad Adams, yes.
    Fael Illyar: I haven't but I tend to be a bit insensitive to tension.
    Wol Euler: sorry, rl, brb
    Quilty Bookmite: Yes. Maybe not with the Christians, but with people with no religious affiliation feeling threatened.
    Gaya Ethaniel: sure Wol
    Faenik: なるほど^^
    Quilty Bookmite: As an ex-Atheist myself I can fully sympathise with that.
    Gaya Ethaniel: could you expand on that a little more Quilty?
    Isen Enzo: I came from an agnostic background..
    You: oh...
    Isen Enzo: so not much problem..
    Fael Illyar: I still don't count myself to any established religion.
    Quilty Bookmite: Indeed. :-)
    Isen Enzo: not a long way from there to Buddhism- Zen...
    Gaya Ethaniel nods
    Isen Enzo: Ha- like the saying...
    Isen Enzo: I don't belong to any organized political party...
    Isen Enzo: I'm a Democrat!
    Isen Enzo: lol
    Wol Euler: / back
    Isen Enzo: same with Zen...
    Gaya Ethaniel: wb Wol
    Isen Enzo: and buddhism in its basic form...
    Gaya Ethaniel doesn't get the joke about Democrat as she's not an American
    Isen Enzo: ah...
    Isen Enzo: hmmm....
    Quilty Bookmite: Isen, do you think Buddhism is a religion?
    Isen Enzo: liberals are less rigid and organized..
    Isen Enzo: Buddh as a root means aware...
    Tahuti Thor: i dont see buddhism as a religion
    Isen Enzo: a Buddh-ist then is an "aware-ist"
    Wol Euler raises an eyebrow.
    Isen Enzo: sorta
    Isen Enzo: Dogen made no distinction between, for exaomple...
    Isen Enzo: Zen and buddhism...
    Fael Illyar: with that definition, I guess that'd have me being a Buddhist then :P
    Isen Enzo: and no differerce between buddhism and truth/reality...
    Tahuti Thor: the cultural addictive people added to buddhism make it look like a religion
    Tahuti Thor: but the core of it isnt a religion
    Isen Enzo: yes.
    Wol Euler: I always thought aht Zen was a flavour of Buddhism.
    You: Tahuti i think that depends on the definition of religion
    Tahuti Thor: additives*
    Isen Enzo: zen means "meditation"
    Tahuti Thor: true @ gaya
    Quilty Bookmite: Indeed, Gaya. :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: Where did Isen go?
    Gaya Ethaniel: shame Isen off to serve coffee
    Faenik: why not?
    Quilty Bookmite: Ah. Monastic duties?
    Gaya Ethaniel: no he has customers to serve in rl
    Fael Illyar: No, coffee shop duties :)
    Quilty Bookmite: OK. :-)
    Wol Euler: good god.
    Fael Illyar: well, it's supposedly a library
    Wol Euler: so to speak.
    Fael Illyar: but from what I hear, it might as well be called a coffee shop :)
    Tahuti Thor: monks have computers?
    Quilty Bookmite: So Gaya, what was the root of your question? Do you feel conflict yourself?
    Fael Illyar: Tahuti: why not?
    Gaya Ethaniel: bookshop, internet cafe and coffee shop all in one :)
    Quilty Bookmite: Most monks I have met have computers.
    Wol Euler: sounds good to me.
    Tahuti Thor: which monastery he belongs to
    Gaya Ethaniel: no... just sometimes i feel that the 'tension' hinders free discussion, we get hung upon words such as 'god'
    Gaya Ethaniel: how god translates into what we do at PaB rather than sharing our experiences
    Tahuti Thor: the monastery i want to join doesnt allow internet access
    Quilty Bookmite: I had a long argument with a Christian some years back. She asked if I believe in God.
    Gaya Ethaniel: He's a Zen monk but lay ordained Tahuti, more difficult than monastic life in some sense
    Fael Illyar: I still feel unsure about what people mean when they say "God".
    Quilty Bookmite: I asked her to define God and she said God couldn't be defined. So I said I couldn;t tell her if I believe or not.
    Tahuti Thor: lay ordained?
    Gaya Ethaniel: yeah... seems that a lot of us are unsure of what 'God' means
    Quilty Bookmite: We call them lay ministers in our order.
    Fael Illyar: Quilty If you define God as something that can't be defined, that's the same as Zen
    Gaya Ethaniel: yes Tahuti. Best ask Isen directly :)
    Wol Euler: I find that my uncertainty of what God means maps nearly 1:1 onto my uncertainty of what Being means :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: Maybe you could define them the same way if you could define them. :-)
    Wol Euler: I suspect that they might be front and side views of the same thing.
    Fael Illyar: Interestingly, I'm finding myself being more certain about Being. I'm just uncertain if I can say Being == God
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.
    Quilty Bookmite: In Zen there are many such words that all seem to point at the same thing.
    Gaya Ethaniel: Pema used 'divinity' for Being... guess God can be interchangeable with Being in this sense?
    Quilty Bookmite: The founder of our order wasn;t afraid to use the word God occasionally. :-)
    Tahuti Thor: i think God is basically what or who u look to when u feel uneasy or down
    Fael Illyar: wb Isen :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: wb Isen
    Quilty Bookmite: WB Isen.
    Tahuti Thor: someone or something u reconnect to
    Isen Enzo: Thanks.
    Tahuti Thor: to make yourself whole again
    Isen Enzo: make me one with everything...
    Quilty Bookmite: I think such discussions, which seem to point at different belief systems having a common root, can make some people uncomfortable.
    Tahuti Thor: someone or something that makes u feel pure.....and it is a feeling.....whatever concept u have of God dont matta
    Quilty Bookmite: :-) at Isen.
    Wol Euler notices that there doesn't seeem to be an official Guardian to day. Whose turn is it or shall I do that?
    Tahuti Thor: and people fight over the concepts
    Wol Euler nods at Quilty.
    Isen Enzo: My concepts are better than your concepts!
    Isen Enzo: are too!
    Isen Enzo: are no!
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles
    Fael Illyar: :)
    Quilty Bookmite: :-)
    Gaya Ethaniel is replacing Dakini today as GOC
    Isen Enzo: one of our vows is not to toot our own horn, ...
    Gaya Ethaniel nods
    Isen Enzo: another is not to bad-mouth others...
    Wol Euler: more lilkely "My concepts are inherited and unexamined and your ahving different ones challenges me to think about mine"
    Isen Enzo: (I paraphrase)
    Isen Enzo: yes- wol!
    Fael Illyar: Wol, I find that to be true in most cases :)
    Tahuti Thor: o yes Isen. was wondering....what is an ordained lay buddhist?
    Quilty Bookmite: I may have taken the same precepts as you Isen. :-)
    Isen Enzo: well- the vows are the same in Soto Zen for lay, monk' and priest...
    Faenik: indeed?
    Isen Enzo: the difference is in occupation..
    Quilty Bookmite: Indeed Faenik. :-)
    Isen Enzo: i live in a secular world..
    Isen Enzo: a monk lives in a monastery..
    Isen Enzo: or outside the secular woldl...
    Quilty Bookmite: In my order we have lay ministers which seems to be the same as you describe Isen.
    Isen Enzo: ah..
    Quilty Bookmite: Although it may be a little different.
    Isen Enzo: I function as a lay leader...
    Tahuti Thor: thats interesting
    Isen Enzo: but by default..
    Isen Enzo: no priest here..
    Isen Enzo: nobody else wants to keep time for zazen..
    Isen Enzo: so I do it..
    Isen Enzo: Not a teacher, so I type up notes..
    Quilty Bookmite: That's the bit I enjoy. :-)
    Tahuti Thor: so each party lives on different segments of world and there is communication between the two
    Isen Enzo: from others..
    Isen Enzo: sure.
    Quilty Bookmite: Gives me a distraction from meditation. :-)
    Isen Enzo: I keep as monastic a schedule as I can...
    Isen Enzo: and still hold a job..
    Isen Enzo: and wife..
    Quilty Bookmite: That must be hard.
    Isen Enzo: and all that engaged RL stuff...
    Gaya Ethaniel nods
    Isen Enzo: yes!
    Isen Enzo: thats' why I like monastic retreats..
    Isen Enzo: much easier!
    Quilty Bookmite: :-)
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles
    Fael Illyar: :)
    Isen Enzo: more organized.
    Isen Enzo: not like here..
    Isen Enzo: geez
    Gaya Ethaniel: no distractions
    Quilty Bookmite: Sessin is a breeze then?
    Isen Enzo: always something new..
    Isen Enzo: monastic stuff is wonderful!
    Fael Illyar: less work cleaning up your mind and more time for more than just cleaning.
    Isen Enzo: organized, ritualized, formal...
    Quilty Bookmite: BRB. Need to go for a euphemism.
    Gaya Ethaniel: less distractions*
    Gaya Ethaniel: sure Quilty
    Fael Illyar regards meditation as cleaning act, like cleaning your house.

    I attempt again to draw Isen out and with no avail… more customers. Or he possibly doesn’t want to ‘toot his horn.’ It’s not always easy read Isen.

    Gaya Ethaniel: So what's your thoughts on 'god' Isen? We were discussing it while you were away
    Fael Illyar: 'god' or 'God'?
    Gaya Ethaniel: hm... a good question
    Fael Illyar: well, not that I know very well what you would mean with either :P
    Gaya Ethaniel: I felt some people at PaB talk a lot of 'God' rather than 'god'
    Gaya Ethaniel: I understood 'God' as Being so far....
    Quilty Bookmite: Back.
    Gaya Ethaniel: wb
    Fael Illyar: I suspect that's what was the original meaning for 'God'.
    Gaya Ethaniel: But i guess for some people, 'God' isn't same as Being?
    Fael Illyar: I'd go as far to say for most people it isn't
    Wol Euler nods
    Gaya Ethaniel: ah...
    Faenik: why not?
    Quilty Bookmite: I started out in Buddhism because I had read that all the major religions have mysticism at their core. Buddhism I felt was the purest expression of that. that suggests to me that what is called God in one religion may be equivalent to something else in another.
    Quilty Bookmite: Sorry, that seem like I'm trying to sell Buddhism. I'm just explaining my own thnking.
    Gaya Ethaniel: no think what you said made sense 'what is called God in one religion may be equivalent to something else in another.'
    Fael Illyar: You're free to sell it as far as I'm concerned :)
    Fael Illyar: as long as you stop if someone asks
    Quilty Bookmite: I don;t like evangelism, especially from myself. :-)
    Fael Illyar: haha :)

    Isen puts his super latte man cape on and leaves us.

    Gaya Ethaniel: shame Isen gone again :(
    Wol Euler: Latte man goes to the rescue again!
    Quilty Bookmite: I was going to start talking about coffee then, but that is too much of a diversion. :-)
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles
     Fael Illyar: But I'd have to agree with you Quilty. Buddhism, especially Zen, seems somehow more pure than other major religions.
    Fael Illyar: at least the ones I know of
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.
    Quilty Bookmite: I think that is mainly perception. I just know it suits the way I think, which is too much. :-)
    Gaya Ethaniel: So just going back, I guess the 'tension' between certain people was due to the fact that they have different understanding of 'God'?
    Fael Illyar: Gaya, perhaps :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: and how they related to Being and PaB practice?
    Wol Euler: that sounds about righgt, gaya
    Gaya Ethaniel: relate*
    Gaya Ethaniel: So understanding how each of us define 'Being' is rather crucial... then
    Quilty Bookmite: Also, Western religions have a tendency to be exclusive. :-)
    Gaya Ethaniel: Same goes to Islam I think Quilty
    Quilty Bookmite: By which I mean you can;t be a Christian and practice another religion.
    Quilty Bookmite: Yes, I think of Islam as Western.
    Wol Euler: oh definitely, Islam is very excluding. Western inthat sense.
    Quilty Bookmite: I mena the abrahamic religions.
    Gaya Ethaniel: oh... I see
    Wol Euler smiles. Abrahamic is very good.
    Gaya Ethaniel: Yes Abrahamic is a better word than Western i guess
    Quilty Bookmite: Not my word. I've heard it used many times before. :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: Eastern religions don;t have that sort of exclusion.
    Gaya Ethaniel: Don't think we can use Occidental and Oriental in terms of religions so much
    Quilty Bookmite: Hindus regard other religions as part of theirs.
    Gaya Ethaniel: mm hmm certain branches of Hinduism do, Jesus as one of deities etc
    Gaya Ethaniel: So far what's your thoughts on Being guys? Do you think of it as 'God' as I do?
    Quilty Bookmite: Hinduism I find fascinating. Such a large and complex religion.
    Gaya Ethaniel nods
    Wol Euler: indeed
    Quilty Bookmite: Define God. :-)
    Wol Euler: to both Q and G.
    Gaya Ethaniel: Yes Quilty please define
    Quilty Bookmite: I can't I'm afraid.
    Quilty Bookmite: I think they may be the same thing. I would refer to the Cosmic Buddha or the Unborn.
    Fael Illyar: I avoid using "God" unless I know how the person I'm talking to understands it.
    Quilty Bookmite: I think there is also a slightly different emphasis when you use the word God though.
    Wol Euler: My attitude is expressed in a comment on the Post Secret blog some time back: "Whenever I go into a church building, I apologise to God for not believing in him."
    Quilty Bookmite: I have to be careful how I phrase this. :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: :-)
    Gaya Ethaniel: i c Quilty
    Wol Euler: I am amused and touched by the ambiguity.
    Quilty Bookmite: God has this sense of being something other than yourself.
    Fael Illyar: and I'm uneasy talking to someone I'm not familiar with who uses "God" because then I'll have no idea what they're talking about.
    Quilty Bookmite: And in Christianity God is somewhat anthropomorphised.
    Quilty Bookmite: Yes Fael.
    Wol Euler nods
    Quilty Bookmite: I'm told this isn;t the same in Judaism.
    Gaya Ethaniel: I feel that I need to be more aware of the context of 'God' is raised ex. religious background of the person who is using the word - though it's not always possible to tell how the word is intended when discussing in PaB...
    Faenik: なるほど^^
    Gaya Ethaniel nods
    Quilty Bookmite: and I don;t know how God is perceived in Islam. Prehaps I should find out. :-)
    Gaya Ethaniel: What do you mean by 'anthropomorphised' Quilty?
    Quilty Bookmite: Sorry. I mean appears to be like a human being.
    Gaya Ethaniel: I see
    Quilty Bookmite: You know, the big man in the robes and the flowing beard. :-)
    Gaya Ethaniel: I never thought the Christian god as a human being...
    Quilty Bookmite: Not every Christian does.
    Wol Euler: definitely, but AFAIK that is in the Torah too. The God of Moses definitely has human attributes: he walks in his garden in the cool of the evening, and enjoys a good meal whtihhis friends.
    Gaya Ethaniel: i see
    Quilty Bookmite: And it says man was made in Gods image.
    Faenik: why not?
    Wol Euler: indeed
    Gaya Ethaniel: does such understanding of God affect how we discuss/practice PaB?

    Jonni joins us but he disappears sometime soon after.

    Fael Illyar: Hello jonni
    You: _/!\_
    jonni Thor: namaste
    Quilty Bookmite: By the way, I realise I am a little out of my depth and I have no intension of belittling other peoples religion. I apologise if I cause offense.
    Wol Euler shakes her head. None here.
    Gaya Ethaniel: no... no offence caused at least to me
    Quilty Bookmite: Ah. Hi Joni.
    Faenik: なるほど^^
    Fael Illyar: no offence taken.
    Quilty Bookmite: Thank you. :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: I git put off Christianity at an early age. It is only recently I have come to appreciate its merits.
    Quilty Bookmite: _got_
    Fael Illyar: I could say the same thing.
    Gaya Ethaniel: yes I see less and less distinction between diff religions
    Quilty Bookmite: It's easily done. I now appreciate that sometimes what we perceive as religion is actually just people twisting religion to their own beliefs.
    Wol Euler: definitely.
    Wol Euler: I feel that htere is a difference worth noting between "belief" and "religion"
    Quilty Bookmite: Yes!
    Wol Euler: most beliefs overlap to a very high extent
    Wol Euler: in my vague and uninformed opinion
    Wol Euler: wheras religions try to be as different as possible
    Quilty Bookmite: I am as vague and inunformed as you Wol.
    Wol Euler: exclusive, for the sake of exclusivity = keeping poeple in the club.
    Gaya Ethaniel: what do you mean by 'belief' Wol?
    Quilty Bookmite: And yet within Christianity I see a whole range of very different beliefs.
    Fael Illyar: all the splinters :)
    Quilty Bookmite: Even within the people who go to the same church.
    Faenik: indeed?
    Quilty Bookmite: And I think it should be that way.
    Wol Euler: hmmm, what poeple hold to be true and significant, what they feel gives worth to them and their lives, what gives them guidance
    Wol Euler: s opposed to religion, which is a set of rules and prescriptions
    Quilty Bookmite: If we don;t hold different beliefs it shows we are not thinking for ourselves.
    Wol Euler: most of which exist to confirm those who have wealth and power in their position of authority.
    Gaya Ethaniel: i'm curious to know how one begins to 'believe' Wol
    Quilty Bookmite: Not necessarily Wol. :-)
    Wol Euler: I think one starts with belief, and searches for a religion that matches it.
    Quilty Bookmite: At least not that I have seen in the UK.
    Gaya Ethaniel: how does that 'belief' come about - maybe better to put it this way
    Wol Euler: sorry, just had a brain fart and lost the track. I shall have to read back.
    Quilty Bookmite: Belief is almost a human necessity. It's how we try and make sense of the world.
    Tahuti Thor: indoctrination while young...there is no search
    Quilty Bookmite: A scientist may tell you they have no belief but science itself is built on fundamental belief.
    Tahuti Thor: u are told what to believe
    Gaya Ethaniel: no indoctrination received here... but i don't necessarily search for a particular religion as all religions are valid to an extent to me...
    Tahuti Thor: like santa claus
    Quilty Bookmite: You can always change your mind Tahuti. :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: Do you believe anything?
    Gaya Ethaniel: very true Quilty - Buddhism most flexible in that way :)
    Tahuti Thor: as u age the brain becomes less malleable
    Quilty Bookmite: As an ex-Atheist, I believed the line that religion was a way to control the people.
    Wol Euler: a very good question, Quilty. One of hte reasons I come here si that I don't know the answer.
    Quilty Bookmite: I don;t think that is the whole truth.
    Tahuti Thor: and people dont like having beliefs that go aainst family tradition
    Fael Illyar: From what I've seen about Zen Buddhism, nowhere are people told what to believe.
    Tahuti Thor: against*
    Quilty Bookmite: Right Fael. You are told to see for yourself.
    Gaya Ethaniel: Well not just Zen Fael - the Buddha asked all his followers not to accept blindly his teachings but to try out for themselves
    Wol Euler: and yet there are monasteries and scriptures and exercises and traditoins.
    Fael Illyar: Gaya, Zen is the only one I've looked at more deeply.
    Quilty Bookmite: Yes. Many, many scriptures. :-)
    Gaya Ethaniel: I believe those are by-product of cultlures Wol
    Quilty Bookmite: But they only serve to point the way.
    Gaya Ethaniel: Sure Fael - i was quoting dhammapada
    Wol Euler: that is wher I see the diffference between belief (what hte Buddha had) and religion (what his followers created to sell the idea to the public)
    Quilty Bookmite: One of Buddhas descendents knew all the scriptures by heart and yet he still didn't "get it".
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles
    Quilty Bookmite: Not until much later.
    Fael Illyar: "by heart" meaning he/she could recite them all from memory?
    Quilty Bookmite: Yes.
    Gaya Ethaniel: yes
    Faenik: could be
    Fael Illyar: sounds more like just memorizing than "by heart" but then, that's a way of speaking :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: true
    Quilty Bookmite: Some reckon it set him back years in his training.

    I have to force myself to admit that it’s time for me to leave as the discussion has been highly interesting.

    Gaya Ethaniel: my hour is almost up...
    Quilty Bookmite: Yes, sorry, that's what I meant.
    Quilty Bookmite: mine too. :-)
    Gaya Ethaniel: If you continue, pls send me a log that i can post
    Fael Illyar: Right, someone needs to post the log.
    Faenik: why not?
    Wol Euler: ah, yes. Harpier cries, 'tis time, 'tis time.
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles
    Quilty Bookmite: Bye Gaya.
    Fael Illyar: See you later Gaya :)
    Wol Euler: it was fascinationg but I must go. Good night all! see you tomorrow, or anon.
    Quilty Bookmite: Bye Wol.
    Gaya Ethaniel: Thanks very much for the conversation
    Gaya Ethaniel: _/!\_
    Fael Illyar: It was a good conversation today :)
    Fael Illyar: I'll go as well, see you all later :)
    Quilty Bookmite: Yes. I enjoyed it very much. Thank you.
    Tag page (Edit tags)
    Viewing 2 of 2 comments: view all
    Originally written on 08:13, 03 Aug 2008
    The disciple of Buddha I referred to - the one who learnt all the scriptures but did not become an "arahant" until much later - was Ananda.
    Posted 02:46, 9 Apr 2010
    Originally written on 11:14, 03 Aug 2008
    Oh it was Ananda... that's surprising and not surprising :) Thanks Quilty.
    Posted 02:46, 9 Apr 2010
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