In /etc/auto.master, Why “+auto.master”?

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Why is the line “+auto.master” present in the /etc/auto.master file? Does this not create a loop, and perhaps is the reason why, on every boot, I see the message, “automount[3260]: problem reading master map, maximum wait exceeded”?

This is in an unmodified /etc/auto.master from autofs-5.0.5-133.el6_9.x86_64 in CentOS 6.9. The only other non-comment lines in that file are:
/misc /etc/auto.misc
/net -hosts

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