Advertisement

Salvation and Violence in Japanese Buddhism: The Case of Aum Shinrikyō

  • Manabu Watanabe
Chapter
Part of the Dao Companions to Chinese Philosophy book series (DCCP, volume 8)

Abstract

Buddhism has the reputation of being a peaceful religion that is opposed to violence. This applies to the context of Japanese Buddhism as well. However, the recent events caused by Aum Shinrikyō オウム真理教 suggest that even Buddhists can be extremely violent. In the following essay I will discuss how the leadership and members of Aum Shinrikyō became violent, even though Buddhist tradition propagates the prescriptions of no killing and no violence. How was it possible for Aum members to engage in these killings? What was the larger objective? How could these actions be rationalized in religious terms? And how did those who participated in the acts of killing as salvation feel during and after the acts? In this paper, I will analyze the appropriation of Buddhist and other traditions by Aum Shinrikyō by focusing on the idea of salvation closely connected with violence. The real horror of Aum Shinrikyō was that its crimes and the harm it caused to others were based on its peculiar soteriology. Therefore, we must pursue the issue of how its violence is related to its world-view and doctrines.

Works Cited

  1. Asahara, Shōkō 麻原彰晃. 1986. Chōnōryoku: Himitsu no kaihatsu hō 『超能力―秘密の開発法』 [Super Power: How to Develop It]. Tokyo: Yamato Shuppan.Google Scholar
  2. ———. 1987. Inishiēshon 『イニシエーション』 [Initiation]. Tokyo: Aum Corporation.Google Scholar
  3. ———. 1988. Mahāyāna Sūtra. 『マハーヤーナ·スートラ』 Tokyo: Aum Corporation.Google Scholar
  4. ———. 1989. Metsubō no hi 『滅亡の日』 [Judgement Day]. Tokyo: Aum Corporation.Google Scholar
  5. ———. 1991. Tathāgata Abidhamma 『タターガタ·アビダンマ』. Tokyo: Aum Corporation.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 1992. The Highest Dhamma 『ハイエスト·ダンマ』. Tokyo: Aum Corporation.Google Scholar
  7. ———. 1994. The Bodhisattva Sutra: Salvation Through Complete Reliance on the Power of the True Victor. Tokyo: Aum Corporation.Google Scholar
  8. Asahi Shimbun. 1996. Asahara’s Calculated Plan for Mass Murder. Asahi Shimbun E-News, April 27. http://iij.asahi.com.
  9. Aum Shinrikyō オウム真理教. 1988. Kagiri naku toumei na sekai e no izanai 『限りなく透明な世界への誘い』 [An Invitation to the Boundlessly Transparent World]. Tokyo: Aum Shinrikyō.Google Scholar
  10. ———. 1994. Vajirayāna kōsu kyōgaku shisutemu kyōhon 『ヴァジラヤーナコース教学システム教本』 [Vajrayāna Course Systematic Textbook of Doctrine]. Tokyo: Aum Shinrikyō.Google Scholar
  11. Fujita, Kōkan 藤田光寛. 1995. Bosatsujikaibon ni tokareru sesshō ni tsuite 「〈菩薩地戒品〉に説かれる「殺生」について」 [On the ‘Act of Killing’as Described in the Chapter on the Precepts of the Bodhisattvabhūmi]. Mikkyō Bunka 密教文化 191: 136–152.Google Scholar
  12. Hayakawa, Kiyohide 早川紀代秀 and Kunimitsu Kawamura 川村邦光. 2005. Watashi ni totte oumu to wa nan datta no ka 『私にとってオウムとは何だったのか』 [What was Aum for Me?]. Tokyo: Popurasha.Google Scholar
  13. Hayashi, Ikuo 林郁夫. 1998. Oumu to watashi 『オウムと私』 [Aum and I]. Tokyo: Bungeishunjū.Google Scholar
  14. Keown, Demian. 1998. Paternalism in the Lotus Sūtra. Journal of Buddhist Ethics 5: 190–207.Google Scholar
  15. Leadbeater, C. W. 1978. Chakura 『チャクラ』 [Chakra]. Trans. Hiroshi Motoyama 本山博 and Yasuo Yuasa 湯浅泰雄. Tokyo: Hirakawa Shuppansha.Google Scholar
  16. Manabe, Shunshō 真鍋俊照. 1999. Jakyō tachikawaryū 『邪教・立川流』 [Heresy: Tachikawaryū]. Tokyo: Chikuma-shobō.Google Scholar
  17. Miller, Barbara Stoler, trans. 1996. Yoga: Discipline of Freedom: The Yoga Sutra Attributed to Patanjali. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  18. Nishida, Kimiaki 西田公昭. 1995. Maindo kontorōru to wa nani ka 『マインドコントロールとは何か』 [What is Mind Control?]. Tokyo: Kinokuniyashoten.Google Scholar
  19. Python, Pierre. 1973. Vinaya-Viniścaya-Upāli-Pariprcchā. Paris: Adrien-Maisonneuve.Google Scholar
  20. Sahoda, Tsuruji 佐保田鶴治. 1980. Kaisetsu yōgasūtora 『ヨーガスートラ解説』 [Commentary on Yoga Sūtra]. Tokyo: Hirakawa shuppansha.Google Scholar
  21. Sangpo, Lama Khetsun, and Shin’ichi Nakazawa 中沢新一. 1981. Niji no kaitei: Chibetto mikkyō no meisō shugyō 『虹の階梯:チベット密教の瞑想修行』 [The Ladders of Rainbow: The Practice of Meditation in Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism]. Tokyo: Hirakawa shuppansha.Google Scholar
  22. Shimazono, Susumu 島薗進. 1995a. Oumu shinrikyō no kiseki 『オウム真理教の軌跡』 [The Traces of Aum Shinrikyō], 31. Tokyo: Iwanami-shoten.Google Scholar
  23. ———. 1995b. In the Wake of Aum: The Formation and Transformation of a Universe of Belief. Trans. Robert Kisala. Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 22 (3–4): 381–415.Google Scholar
  24. ———. 1997. Gendai Shūkyō no kanōsei: Ōmu shinrikyō to bōryoku 『現代宗教の可能性—オウム真理教と暴力』 [Possibilities of Contemporary Religions: Aum Shinrikyō and Violence]. Tokyo: Iwanami shoten.Google Scholar
  25. Tachikawa, Musashi 立川武蔵. 1980. Hindū no kamigami 『ヒンドゥーの神々』 [Hindu Gods]. Tokyo: Serika Shobō.Google Scholar
  26. Takahashi, Hidetoshi 高橋英利. 1996. Ōmu kara no kikan 『オウムからの帰還』 [The Return from Aum]. Tokyo: Sōshisha.Google Scholar
  27. Takai, Shiomi 高井志生海. 1985. Saishūtekina risōkoku wo kizukutameni kami wo mezasu chōnōryokusha「最終的な理想国を築くために神をめざす超能力者」 [The Adept who Becomes God to Create the Perfect Society]. Towairaitosōn 『トワイライトゾーン』 [Twilight Zone] 120: 118–123.Google Scholar
  28. Takashima, Jun 高島淳. 1986. Kashimīru shiva-ha ni okeru upaya to saktipata no taikei 「カシミール・シヴァ派におけるupayaとsaktipataの体系」 [The System of Upāya and Šaktipāta in Kashmir Śaivism]. Shūkyō Kenkyū 『宗教研究』 270: 55–84.Google Scholar
  29. Takimoto, Taro 滝本太郎, and Tatsuya Nagaoka 永岡辰哉, eds.. 1995. Maindo kontorōru kara nogarete: Ōmu shinrikyō dakkaisha tachi no taiken 『マインド・コントロールから逃れて:オウム真理教脱会者たちの体験』 [Escaping from Mind Control: The Experiences of Former Members of Aum Shinrikyō]. Tokyo: Kōyū Shuppan.Google Scholar
  30. Tanaka, Kimiaki 田中公明. 1993. Chibetto mikkyō 『チベット密教』 [Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism]. Tokyo: Shunjūsha.Google Scholar
  31. Tatz, Mark, trans. 1994. The Skill-in-Means (Upāyakauśalya) Sūtra. 1994. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.Google Scholar
  32. Watanabe, Manabu. 2005. Aum Shinrikyō. In Macmillan Encyclopedia of Religion, vol. 2, 2nd ed., 631–663. New York: Macmillan/Palgrave.Google Scholar
  33. ———. 2007. Religious Violence amid Love, Compassion, and Hate: A Response to Prof. Mark Juergensmeyer. In Religion and Society: An Agenda for the 21st Century, ed. Gerrie ter Haar and Yoshio Tsuruoka, 29–39. Leiden: E. J. Brill.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manabu Watanabe
    • 1
  1. 1.Nanzan UniversityNagoyaJapan

Personalised recommendations