Table of Contents

  • Character Development: 7 Steps to a Positive Attitude
  • Personal Effectiveness: Building Assertiveness Skills
  • Health and Healing: How Words Affect Your Health
  • Interpersonal Relationship: Encouraging True Dialogue
  • Management Effectiveness: A Lesson in Leadership
  • Peace Education: Conflict- Resolving Game: An Alternative to Traditional Debate
  • One Prescription a Day: Falling Asleep Easily
  • Marital Happiness: Practice Caring Behavior
  • Inner Peace: Exercise Reduces Anxiety and Depression
  • Inner Peace: When Facing Trials
  • Parenting: When Your Child Throws a Tantrum
  • Resources: Notable Books
  • Resources: Peace Quotes
  • Self-Mastery: The Ten Stumbling Blocks in Life
  • Better Supervision: Complimenting Your Subordinates
  • Community Involvement: Stick Your Neck Out
  • Life Lessons: The Unity of Life
  • The Art of Living: Nine Best Things
  • Personal Growth: Tips on Happiness
  • Personal Growth: Truths About Intuition


7 Steps to a Positive Attitude

Here are seven rules towards acquiring a positive attitude:

Treat every personwith whom you come into contact as the most important person on earth.
If your attitude is not right, nothing else is right and you have to lose even before you start.
The human mind can hold only one thought at a time prominently. Since there is nothing to be gained by being negative, be positive.
The deepest craving of human beings is to be needed, to feel important, to be appreciated. Give it to them and they will return it to you.
You can learn something from everybody.
Don’t waste your time broadcasting personal problems.
Do not talk about your health unless it is good.
Source: Promod Batra, Management Thoughts. Golden Books Centre Sdn. Bhd., 14, 1st floor, Lorong Bunus Enam, Off Jalan Masjid India, 50100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Building Assertiveness Skills

Assertiveness is a very important skill that makes a person more effective in life. It is a healthy alternative to aggressive behavior (which tends to be unkind and violate other people’s rights) and to unassertive behavior (which suppresses one’s hurts and prevents the person from acting effectively).

Here are some suggested ways of starting to act assertively, according to the booklet Assertiveness: A Positive Process:

Know What You Want to Say. This will add to your confidence.
Say It. Don’t hesitate or beat about the bush. Practice before you say it and check for appropriateness.
Be Specific. Say exactly what you want or don’t want. Begin with the word “I.”
Say It as Soon as Possible. Delay builds apprehension, but do not say it at the peak of your anger. Wait for that to pass.
Look the Person in the Eye. People feel more comfortable if you look directly at them. You will look shifty if you cannot look at them in the eye.
Look Relaxed. You will convey anxiety by shifting from one foot to another, or being too rigid. Practice relaxing in a mirror.
Avoid Laughing Nervously. Smile if appropriate, but giggling or laughing may confuse the person you speak to.
Don’t Whine or Be Sarcastic. Be direct and honest. Whining and pleading can either annoy the person or make them feel guilty. It is being manipulative. Being sarcastic conveys hostility.
Christine Beels, Barrie Hopson, and Mike Scally, Assertiveness: A Positive Process,” Sterling Information Technologies, L-11 Green Park Extension, New Delhi 110 016, India.

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How Words Affect Your Health

“Once we put a label on something,” says best-selling author Anthony Robbins, “we create a corresponding emotion.” And such emotions can influence your body and immune system.

Robbins cites studies of cancer and heart patients who often panic when told of their illness, which in turn leads to helplessness and depression, thus impairing their own immune systems.

On the other hand, when such patients are freed from depressions produced by such labels, and they understand the need of the body to become healthy, their immune system often undergo immediate boost.

Says Norman Cousins, who recovered from a fatal illness through a change in his attitude, “Words can produce illness; words can kill. Therefore, wise physicians are very careful about the way they communicate.”

Choose carefully, then, says Robbins, the words you use to describe your health.

Source: Anthony Robbins, Giant Steps, Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020, U.S.A.

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Falling Asleep Easily

Dr. Susan Smith Jones has the following suggestions for people who have difficulty falling asleep:

Avoid stimulants like coffee, spices and alcohol.
Avoid eating three hours before going to bed.
Include low fat, calcium-rich foods. Calcium has a calming effect on the nervous system. Include some broccoli or carrots in your diet.
To reduce tension prior to bedtime, practice the following relaxation exercise:
Lie comfortably on your back with a pillow underneath your knees

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. Breathe rhythmically and deeply in a relaxed manner. Visualize your feet. Tense your toes and feet, then suddenly relax them. Do the same with your calves, thights, buttocks, stomack, chest, shoulders, hands forearms, biceps, neck, and face. Visualize, these and then relax. At the end of this exercise, you should feel relaxed and ready to drop off to sleep.

Susan Smith Jones, Choose to Live Each Day Fully, Celestial Arts Publishing, P.O. Box 7123, Berkeley, CA 94707, U.S.A.

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Practice Caring Behavior

Try this experiment with your husband or wife.

Ask your spouse to give you a list of things that would make him or her feel good. If your spouse is interested, give him your list too. Examples of things in the list can be: Help me wash my hair; open the door for me; take me out to dinner so I won’t have to spend time in the kitchen.

Try to do at least 3 things in the list every day for your spouse. Acknowledge what your partner did and show appreciation too.

Source: Susan Smith Jones, Choose to Live Each Day Fully, Celestial Arts Publishing, P.O. Box 7123, Berkeley, CA 94707, U.S.A.

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Notable Books

Two books on character building and values education ought to be in the reading list of all parents and teachers:

Teaching Your Children Values by Linda and Richard Eyre. Fireside Books, Simon & Schuster Bldg., Rockefeller Center 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020, U.S.A.

This is an excellent practical book on how to inculcate twelve sets of values to children, with games and activities appropriate to three age levels: pre-schoolers, children and adolescents. The value groups chosen by the authors are:

Self-Reliance and Potential
Self-Discipline and Moderation
Fidelity and Chastity
Loyalty and Dependability
Unselfishness and Sensitivity
Kindness and Friendliness
Justice and Mercy
The 10 Greatest Gifts I Give My Children by Steven W. Vannoy. Fireside Books, Simon & Schuster Bldg., Rockefeller Center 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020, U.S.A.
The author subtitles this book “Parenting from the Heart.” It discusses important qualities that parents have to develop within themselves so that they will be able to spontaneously help their children develop their character.

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Peace Quotes

Edelstein’s Advice
“Don’t worry over what other people are thinking about you. They’re too busy worrying over what you are thinking about them.”

When You Hear . . .
. . . a man say, “I hate,” adding the name of some race, nation, religion, or social class, you are dealing with a belated mind. That man may dress like a modern, ride in an automobile, listen over the radio, but his mind is properly dated about 1000 B.C.

Peace demands . . .
. . . the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience. The Christian fight for peace is not to be confused with defeatism.

If You Really Seek to Understand . . .
. . . without hypocrisy and without guile, there will be times when you will be literally stunned with the pure knowledge and understanding that will flow to you from another human being. It isn’t even always necessary to talk in order to empathize. In fact, sometimes words may just get in your way. That’s one very important reason why technique alone will not work. That kind of understanding transcends technique.

Commitment . . .
. . . is the foundation, the bedrock of any genuinely loving relationship.
The Road Less Traveled

A Prayer for Understanding
Oh, great Father, never let me judge another man until I have walked in his moccasins for two weeks.

A Rattlesnake, If Cornered . . .
. . . will become so angry it will bite itself. That is exactly what the harboring of hate and resentment against others is — a biting of oneself. We think we are harming others in holding these spites and hates, but the deeper harm is to ourselves.

If You Don’t Wish to be Prone to Anger . . .
. . . do not feed the habit; give it nothing which may tend to its increase. At first, keep quiet and count the days when you were not angry: “I used to be angry everyday, then every other day; next, every two, then every three days!” and if you succeed in passing thirty days, sacrifice to the gods in thanksgiving.

Work Hard . . .
. . . to create in your children a good self-image. It’s the most important thing you can do to insure their success.

We cannot let another person . . .
. . . into our hearts or minds unless we empty ourselves. We can truly listen to him or truly hear her only out of emptiness.

Let harmlessness be the keynote of your life:
Harmlessness in thought. This will primarily result in the control of speech.
Harmlessness in emotional reaction. This will result in being a channel for the love aspect of the soul.
Harmlessness in act. This will produce poise, skill in action and the release of the creative will.

The usual way to generate force . . .
. . . is to create anger, desire, and fear. But these are dangerous sources of energy because they are blind, whereas the force of love springs from awareness, and does not destroy its own aims. Out of love and the willingness to act, strategies and tactics will be created naturally from the circumstances of the struggle. Thus, the problems of strategy and tactics are of secondary importance.

War will disappear . . .
. . .only when men shall take no part whatever in violence and shall be ready to suffer every persecution that their abstention will bring them. It is the only way to abolish war.

When the citizens of a state are morally weak, to demand . . .
. . . that its government be morally strong, is nothing short of sheer stupidity. This would be like calling for the reflection in a mirror to be invariably graceful, when the human visage reflected therein is in itself ugly.

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The Unity of Life

Our deepest intuitions tell us that all life is one, what hurts one ultimately hurts every other. This insight has been learned and taught by many great sages since time immemorial. Here is how the well-known author Harry Emerson Fosdick expresses this insight:

We ask the leaf, “Are you complete in yourself?” And the leaf answers, “No, my life is in the branches.” We ask the branch, and the branch answers, “No my life is in the root.” We ask the root, and it answers, “No, my life is in the trunk and the branches and the leaves. Keep the branches stripped of leaves, and I shall die.” So it is with the great tree of being. Nothing is completely and merely individual.

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The Art of Living

Nine Best Things

Here are nine in the list of best things by Henry F. Kobe:

Best Law — Golden Rule
Best Education — Self-knowledge
Best music — Laughter of a child
Best medicine — Cheerfulness and temperance
Best war — Fight against one’s own weakness
Best science — Extracting sunshine from a cloudy day
Best telegraphy — Flashing a ray of sunshine into a gloomy day
Best biography — The life that writes charity in largest letters.
Source: Rabbi Sidney Greenberg, A Treasury of The Art of Living, Wilshire Book Company, 12015 Sherman Road, No. Hollywood, CA 91605, U.S.A.

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Tips on Happiness

For thousand of years, many wise and thoughtful people have searched for that elusive thing called happiness. Here are some of their insights:

“Anything you’re good at contributes to your happiness.” (Bertrand Russell)
“He who enjoys doing and enjoys what he has done is happy.” (Wolfgang Goethe)
“I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them.” (John Stuart Mill)
“In every partand corner of our life, to lose oneself is to be a gainer; to forget oneself is to be happy.” (Robert Louis Stevenson)
The key to the ending of sorrow is through the ending of desire; the way to end desire is by practicing the Eightfold Path. (Gautama Buddha)
“Never mindyour happiness; do your duty.” (Will Durant)
The harvestof happiness is most often reaped by the hands of helpfulness. (Anonymous)
“The only truehappiness comes from squandering ourselves for a purpose.” (John Mason Brown)
“Most folksare about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” (Abraham Lincoln)
“Many personshave a wrong idea about what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self- gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” (Helen Keller)
“The secret of happiness is renunciation.” (Andrew Carnegie)
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Encouraging True Dialogue

Effective communication requires both personal attitudes and skills. Here are suggestions by the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University in order to nurture a genuine spirit of dialogue.

Express the self in personal terms using I and not we.
Still the mind and listen from my own inner silence.
Suspend my assumptions and allow others to question them.
Find a balance between advocacy (presenting my own ideas and experiences) with inquiry (exploring the ideas and experiences of others).
Perceive disagreement as an opportunity to learn and as a sign that there is a place to dig deeper.
Express appreciation of others’ viewpoints and ideas.
Build shared meaning, thereby establishing common ground.
Allow differences to nourish affection and not conflict.
Pay attention to my inattention and see why I am not focusing.
Remain self-aware so that I can consciously use my feelings and perceptions as resources.
Source: Mt. Abu Diagogue, February, 1995, Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, Mt. Abu, Rajasthan, India.

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A Lesson in Leadership

If you are a supervisor, manager, or a leader, do you push and pressure, or do you pull and inspire?

General Dwight Eisenhower, who later became President of the United States, used to give this exercise to teach leadership. He would put a piece of string on the table and say:

“Pull it and it will follow wherever you wish. Push it and it will go nowhere at all. It is just that when it comes to leading people.

Don’t push. Pull and inspire and draw out the best in your people.”

Source: Promod Batra, Management Thoughts. Golden Books Centre Sdn. Bhd., 14, 1st floor, Lorong Bunus Enam, Off Jalan Masjid India, 50100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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Conflict-Resolving Game: An Alternative to Traditional Debate

An Australian peace organization, Conflict Resolution Network,> has developed a Conflict-Resolving Game. It is an alternative to the traditional debate usually staged in schools which are competitive and adversarial, where the aim of each team is to win rather than arrive at the truth.

In this new game:

Participants are asked to build on, and add value to, each other’s points.
Creative response to another’s statement is rewarded.
Opposition is turned into cooperation.
Participants are encouraged to respond with well-developed reasoning, and to design innovative options to resolve difficult or controversial issues together.
In a traditional debate, there is a winner only on one side of the argument. In the Conflict-Resolving Game, the win/win approach is stressed and winners emerge on both sides. Defeat is replaced by a problem-solving partnership.

The guidelines contain the rules of the game which may be obtained request from the Peace Center of the Theosophical Society or directly to Conflict Resolution Network (address below). The rules also lists the criteria for assessing the participants. For example, participants lose points when they resort to name-calling, stereotyping, put-downs, blaming, failure to acknowledge the previous speaker’s key point, threatening verbal or body language, interrupting or introducing irrelevancies.

The speakers are then assessed according to 12 Competencies: Win/win, creative response, empathy, appropriate assertiveness, cooperative power, managing emotions, willingness to resolve, mapping the conflict, designing options, negotiation, mediation, and broadening perspectives.

Source: Conflict Resolution Network, P.O. Box 1016 Chatswood, N.S.W 2057, Australia

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Exercise Reduces Anxiety and Depression

Aerobic type of physical exercise can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, according to the research of Barry Ledwidge of Simon Fraser University in Canada.

Vigorous exercise produces norepinephrine, a chemical of the brain which is deficient in depressive persons.
Exercise makes a person more comfortable with the symptoms produced by anxiety, such as racing heartbeat, fatigue and breathlessness. Ordinarily, such symptoms create greater anxiety in the person. After a workout, they are not frightened with these symptoms because they attribute them to the exercise.
Exercise reduces chronic fatigue and abnormal sleep, which are also symptoms of depression. To produce the above results, the exercise must be aerobic, such as swimming, running, cycling, etc., which increases the body’s ability to process oxygen, and which brings the heartbeat to about 140 beats per minute.
Source: Marilyn Ferguson, Book of PragMagic, Pocket Books, Simon & Schuster Inc. 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N& 10020, U.S.A.

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When Facing Trials

The famous yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, advises this simple approach when undergoing difficult periods:

“When beset by overwhelming mental trials or worries one should try to fall asleep. If he can do that, he will find upon awakening that the mental tension has been relieved, and that the worry has loosened its grip. By going into the subconscious state of sleep the soul temporarily rises above troubles associated with attachment to the body and its experiences. An even greater method is to enter the superconscious state of communion with God through deep meditation.

“We need to remind ourselves at such times that even if we died, the earth would continue to follow its orbit, and business would be carried on as usual, so why worry?”

Source: Paramahansa Yogananda, Where There is Light. Self-Realization Fellowship, 3880 San Rafael Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90065, U.S.A.

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When Your Child Throws a Tantrum

When children go into a temper tantrum, some parents get so mad that they become violent towards the children. Dr. Thomas Lickona, author of Raising Good Children, suggests a different approach which has proven effective:

“If your child throws a tantrum, a first course of action is to ignore it completely. Turn you back, busy yourself with some task, pick up a magazine and start reading, or just walk out of the room. If you do this sort of thing consistently, tantrums may soon cease.”

This response delivers this important message to the child: Screaming is not a way to get what he or she wants.

Be prepared to wait till a long tantrum to stop. Some children may think that if they do this long enough, they will get what they want.
If the child goes into a tantrum in a public place, don’t give in to the child’s demand, since it gives them the message that you would rather give in than face embarrassment. To stop the tantrum behavior, try the “Hold and Talk” technique of psychologist Kit Trapasso:
Take your child outside where you can have relative privacy. Restrain your child firmly from behind, either kneeling behind your child or having your child sit in your lap. Hold your child’s arm in a crossed position, and, if you’re sitting, cross your legs over your child’s legs. If you’re sitting, you can also rock gently. The idea is to restrain physical movement while you “talk your child down” in a soft, steady voice: “I’m not going to let you behave this way, it isn’t good, it’s not helping you, it’s not helping me, it’s not going to work. I want you to calm down, just calm down. . . .” With repeated use, this technique has reportedly reduced or eliminated tantrums even in 2-year-old children who had a chronic pattern of such behavior.

Source: Dr. Thomas Lickona, Raising Good Children: From Birth Through the Teenage Years. Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10103, U.S.A.

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The ABC of Handling Anger

When you are getting angry, try using what Scott Siondelar calls the ABC of handling anger — Accept, Breathe and Count.

Accept. Ask yourself: “Is this situation life threatening?” Usually, the cause of the anger is merely bothersome. Once this is realized, we begin to accept our anger.
Breathe at a slower pace in order to relax.
Count to 10 or 20 as you breathe. Inhale deeply and exhale through pursed lips.
Source: Scott Siondelar, quoted in International Management Review, Vol. 3, No. 10, Room 906 Albion Plaza, 2-6 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hongkong.

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The Ten Stumbling Blocks in Life

These ten factors, according to Rabbi Louis Binstock, are the major stumbling blocks that cause failure in life.

The first stumbling block is the age-old trick of blaming others. Very few of us are ready to admit immediately, “Maybe it s my fault.”
The second stumbling block is the opposite of the first: the ready tendency to blame. It plants deep the feelings of inferiority and insecurity. Excessive self-blame creates guilt feelings and closes the door to self-development.
The third stumbling block is having no goals. “A fellow must know where he wants to go,” says Dr. William Menninger, “if he is going to get anywhere.”
The fourth stumbling block is choosing the wrong goals. We can be blinded by gold or glory, power or place, and discover after long years that our goals do not bring real happiness or fulfillment. One must find out for oneself what life is really about, and it takes great honesty and serious thought to be able to make a firm and confident choice in one s goals.
The fifth stumbling block is the short cut, which is too often responsible for the evanescent and unsatisfactory success of many people. It may be done through dishonesty or indecency, such that some part of a person is forever cut off from happiness.
The sixth stumbling block is the exact opposite of the fifth: taking the long road — either by delaying or waiting too long before acting decisively.
The seventh stumbling block is is neglecting little things. Unless we can dutifully attend to the small things and details in life, we may find ourselves unfit for the larger duties of life.
The eighth stumbling block is quitting too soon. Often it is not the wrong start but the wrong stop that makes the difference between success and failure. “Men dont fail,” says Elihu Root, “they give up trying.”
The ninth stumbling block is the burden of the past. We carry them like weights, and we lose our ability to transform them into creative energies. We must look forward.
The tenth stumbling block is the illusion of success. Public success has little to do with true happiness. We are deceived by the achievement, and assume that success is ours. Further accomplishment seems unnecessary. We have abjured the right to go on to true success.
Source: Rabbi Louis Binstock, The Road to Successful Living, reprinted in University of Success by Og Mandino, Bantam Books, Inc., 666 Fifth Avenue, NY, NY 10103, U.S.A.

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Complimenting Your Subordinates

Praising the accomplishments of subordinates is one of the best ways of reinforcing such behavior. Here are suggestions by Alan Loy McGinnis on how to praise your people:

Give commendations in public. They are more effective than one-to-one compliments. Even in families, praise a good behavior of your child during dinner.
Celebrate an achievement. It can be a dinner or a party.
Accompany the commendation with a token reward, a gift, a certificate, or similar gestures.
Put your compliment in writing. There is almost magical power in a note, especially a handwritten letter.
Be specific with your praise, such as “I like the way you used the colors for the tree. . . .”
Source: Alan Loy McGinnis, Bringing Out the Best in People, Kadena Press, U.P. P.O. Box 4, Quezon City 1101, Philippines

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Stick Your Neck Out

An organization in the United States called the Giraffe Project inspires people to stick their necks out for the common good. If you write them a letter, they will send you a kit which contains how to volunteer, stories about children and adults who have helped others, and a video. They are also interested in hearing about people who have volunteered and who have made a difference. Write to: Giraffe Project: Education Department, P.O. Box 759, Langley, WA 98260, U.S.A.

Source: Patricia Adams and Jean Marzollo, The Helping Hands Handbook — A Guidebook for Kids Who Want to Help People, Animals, and the World We Live In. Random House, New York, N.Y., U.S.A.

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Truths About Intuition

Intuition has often been regarded as a superior mode of arriving at wise and effective judgments. In attempting to tap one’s intuitions, it is helpful first to know what it really is, and to discard misconceptions about it.

Authors Michael Ray and Rochelle Myers, in their book Creativity in Business, list down some learned insights about intuition:

Intuition is a gift that everyone can develop. It is not the exclusive province of the gifted or the oddball.
Intuition complements reason. In fact, the combination of experience, information, reason and intuition is so powerful. Psychologist Arthur Reber of Brooklyn College maintains that “A blending of the two modes . . . is still preferable to the use of only one or the other.”
Intuition is unemotional. People often mistake their feelings as intuition. Experiments show that when the individual is aware of his or her emotional tendencies or preferences, he or she is less liable to confuse these with intuition. For this reason, intuition works best when one is calm and serene.
Intuition demands action. If you don t follow through, your decision or idea dies.
Intuition is mistake-free. Intuition is able to see options much more clearly than our other faculties, and is able to make the best out of what may seem to be a no-win situation.
Source: Michael Ray and Rochelle Myers, Creativity in Business. Doubleday, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10103, U.S.A.

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Prepared by:
Peace Center
Theosophical Society in the Philippines