Violence and Terrorism in Japanese Buddhism
“Aum Shinrikyo: Violence and Religion in Japanese Buddhism.” This chapter traces the movement of Aum Shinrikyo from a yoga and meditation center, indistinguishable from countless other New Age centers in Japan and North America, to a cult that released deadly nerve gas in a Tokyo subway. Various avenues of explanation for this transition are explored, and Aum is compared with other religiously motivated terrorist groups. Aum’s roots in Japanese religion, especially Buddhism, are discussed, and the idea of Buddhism as a purely nonviolent religion is critiqued.
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