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Fallow fields


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
Religion finds fallow fields in Japan today

"Since the Aum incident, there's been a huge fallout," he said, referring to the March 1995 sarin-gas attack on the Tokyo subway system by adherents of Aum Shinrikyo 窶 an apocalyptic group of Shiva worshippers founded by "Venerated Master Shoko Asahara" (born Chizuo Matsumoto in 1955) 窶 that killed 12 persons and sickened more than 5,000. "Now religion is connected with violence and considered dangerous. Before the Aum incident, you'd see religious groups handing out materials at the train stations. That has disappeared. There's not a lot of interest in religion, period." Nobutaka Inoue, a professor of Japanese culture at Kokugakuin University in Tokyo, also faults the Aum incident for dampening interest.

=> washtimes.com/world/20021227-71573575.htm
There are many "new" religions in Japan. Most are not "apocalyptic," yet several do appear to be a bit cultish. I would be sceptical of any religious group that is passing out religious materials in public places. Throughout history, religion and violence have gone hand in hand. As we ask of ourselves in the Zen tradition... Ones own beliefs/faith are an indication that we have adopted a position, yet to what extent will we defend it? The Buddha taught "non-attachment" is the path leading to awakening. The Aum Shinrikyo were called a Buddhist cult by the press, yet in reality they were nothing of the sort. Be aware of such wolves in sheep's clothing, and beware.
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