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Aum Shinrikyo - Real (hardcore) Terrorists - Titian - 30.04.2012 08:37

I just spent some time on one of my hobbies and when I did a bit of research into WMDs, mindcontrol and alternative uses of medical substances, I came accross Aum Shinrikyo

I have never heard of that group before - little titian was more interested in disney cartoons back when they have been all over the media. The main terrorist groups I have grown up with were Al-Qaida and the Taliban - Middle East religious extremists who love the romantic ideals of being united with fellow men fighting alone against the all-powerful evil. Men who love and adore the simplicity of a religous life, who keep masculine spirits high in their ideals and who have apparentely absolutely no sense of beard-care (i know that everybody has their own taste in fashion but seriously, just look at it. I bet eating Spaghetti becomes a nightmare with such a thing Glotz).

Ok, I also heard a bit of the IRA but they were perceived more like a bunch of football hooligans who got bored with just representing a club and then simply teamed up and supported Cub Ireland.


The wikipedia article gives a nice overview about Aum Shinrikyo.
I am sure that there are many youngsters like me who never heard of them, so here's an even shorter overview:

Aum Shrinrikyo emerged from a yoga class in the 1980s which got bored with stretching legs and practicing new ways of engaging in auto-erotic practices, so that they thought that it would be a nice change once in a while if they formed a religous cult and became a bit more hardcore.
Within a couple of years the group grew intensely around its visions of a new form of humanity created by science - there are quite a lot similarites to Team Galactic (Pokemon fans know what I'm talking about).
Whilst having some fun with common leisure-time activities like sect meetings, swallowing LSD at some occasions and running in the Japanese elections, they build up production facilities for chemical weapons of mass destruction (such as VX (to day Aum is the only organisation known to have ever actually used that agent) and seratin nerve gas), bought anthrax and ebola cultures from Zaire, invited some Russians to the party who brought a Mi-17 helicopter (nuclear bombs were apparentely sold out at the time), murdered some personae non gratae and stockpiled a few million in cash.

So far nothing unusual - apart from smoking and boozing in side streets just the sort of stuff you would expect some teenagers with too much time and too little parenting to do whilst skipping class.
We don't blame them for that; young people do stupid stuff when they get bored.

But stuff got a bit more serious once Aum decided to extend its reach into the affairs of the public transportation system by planting Seratin all over the place.
Several people died, a couple of hundred were harmed.


Those of you who are older will surely remember Aum Shinrikyo.
Can you share your memories with us? What do you remember? How was it possible, that high quality smart-mastermind terrorism reality was taken over by some long-bearded wannabe troublemakers?


PS: Maybe such terrorism can be built into AR with some tasks and random events?


RE: Aum Shinrikyo - Real (hardcore) Terrorists - Lord Alexander - 30.04.2012 10:16

In my childhood I heard on “Radio Liberty” at least one broadcast about them. If I remember correctly, some representative of organization has participated in that broadcast, and they even aired the record of some speech of Shoko Asahara.

It was in early 90s, definitely before they became known as terrorists, because in that broadcast they were represented like nice Buddhist/New age movement. I had good impression about them. I have no idea about what could provoke them on such insane actions.


RE: Aum Shinrikyo - Real (hardcore) Terrorists - GadTheHero - 30.04.2012 17:14

I remember the Sarin gas attack in the subways of Tokyo from the mid-90s, but haven't heard of any other major attacks since then. They seem to be under close surveillance by now. They might not have been a long-term success, because they don't operate out of territories without much governmental control. (On the other hand, 1970s terror groups like the Italian Red Brigades and the RAF managed longer campaigns in industrialised countries...)


RE: Aum Shinrikyo - Real (hardcore) Terrorists - BaktoMakhno - 30.04.2012 22:05

Buddhism is as vile an opiate as Christianity and Islam. This is obvious to anyone with even the slightest knowledge of its history and real world manifestations.


RE: Aum Shinrikyo - Real (hardcore) Terrorists - Helsworth - 30.04.2012 22:16

BaktoMakhno Wrote:
Buddhism is as vile an opiate as Christianity and Islam. This is obvious to anyone with even the slightest knowledge of its history and real world manifestations.

Chu Hsi found Buddhist principles to be darkening and deluding the original mind as well as destroying human relations. Still like with all religions there are variations of them, some are more destructive than others.


RE: Aum Shinrikyo - Real (hardcore) Terrorists - Rising Phoenix - 01.05.2012 07:11

Helsworth Wrote:

BaktoMakhno Wrote:
Buddhism is as vile an opiate as Christianity and Islam. This is obvious to anyone with even the slightest knowledge of its history and real world manifestations.

Chu Hsi found Buddhist principles to be darkening and deluding the original mind as well as destroying human relations. Still like with all religions there are variations of them, some are more destructive than others.

And better do not say the word 'Buddhist' around Hindus. Many believe Buddhism is a cheap rip-off of their religion... Hehe

Honestly, all religions have some good things. However as they are institutionalized and become organized, the leadership becomes less interested in theology and more in the adquicision of luxuries.


RE: Aum Shinrikyo - Real (hardcore) Terrorists - Helsworth - 01.05.2012 08:35

Rising Phoenix Wrote:

Helsworth Wrote:

BaktoMakhno Wrote:
Buddhism is as vile an opiate as Christianity and Islam. This is obvious to anyone with even the slightest knowledge of its history and real world manifestations.

Chu Hsi found Buddhist principles to be darkening and deluding the original mind as well as destroying human relations. Still like with all religions there are variations of them, some are more destructive than others.

And better do not say the word 'Buddhist' around Hindus. Many believe Buddhism is a cheap rip-off of their religion... Hehe

Honestly, all religions have some good things. However as they are institutionalized and become organized, the leadership becomes less interested in theology and more in the adquicision of luxuries.

Hehe I would understand the hindu on this one. It's really kind of funny since Buddha was an aristocrat who's father only exposed him to wealth and well being and when he finally got out and saw the real world, how labor was, how people looked like, how they were dressed, what they ate etc, he had a shock and concluded that life is only suffering and basically all souls should escape the hell of samsara.


RE: Aum Shinrikyo - Real (hardcore) Terrorists - Lord Alexander - 01.05.2012 17:58

BaktoMakhno Wrote:
Buddhism is as vile an opiate as Christianity and Islam. This is obvious to anyone with even the slightest knowledge of its history and real world manifestations.

Every ideology, religious or otherwise, is an opiate. It does not automatically mean that it cannot have positive effect on individuals or societies. I tend to believe that in modern societies religion as an institute is an anachronism. But historically Buddhism less often was used for justification of wars than Christianity and Islam, so it can be said that it was not as vile as them.

Rising Phoenix Wrote:
And better do not say the word 'Buddhist' around Hindus. Many believe Buddhism is a cheap rip-off of their religion... Hehe

Buddhism differs from Hinduism more than Christianity and Islam differ from Judaism. Among big traditional religions it is the only truly anthropocentric religion. Humans are considered not only to be superior to animals, but also superior to gods (at least potentially), because only humans are able to become Buddhas.
Plus Buddhism is free from conception of castes.


RE: Aum Shinrikyo - Real (hardcore) Terrorists - Rising Phoenix - 01.05.2012 18:09

Helsworth Wrote:
Hehe I would understand the hindu on this one. It's really kind of funny since Buddha was an aristocrat who's father only exposed him to wealth and well being and when he finally got out and saw the real world, how labor was, how people looked like, how they were dressed, what they ate etc, he had a shock and concluded that life is only suffering and basically all souls should escape the hell of samsara.

Exactly. Rather than devising a way to bring prosperity to everyone, he wanted everyone to escape poverty. This is why I can not agree with Buddhism -- I believe it is possible to bring prosperity to everyone through technology.

Mind if I ask, what particular elements Chu Hsi criticized of Buddhism? I am aware of the Hindu perspective (basically that Buddhism takes the meditation ideas, changes the purposes, and throws away the Vedic texts while also kicking out God ("Supreme Being") from the picture), but the Confucian perspective is unknown to me.


RE: Aum Shinrikyo - Real (hardcore) Terrorists - Helsworth - 01.05.2012 18:21

@Lord Alexander
Shamanism, animism and animatism did a lot less killing, but it did a lot less for technological progress.
@Rising Pheonix
By the thirteenth century, "China had what was probably the most sophisticated agriculture in the world, India being the only conceivable rival." (Elvin)
Chu Hsi rejects the transmigration of souls

Quote:
Buddhists say that when a person dies they become a ghost, and the ghost becomes a person. If so, then throughout the world there certainly are a lot of comings and goings without any transformation or creations from anything else. There certainly is no Principle in this. (Further Reflections, 13:12)

To someone who said that Buddhists combine Confucian concern with human affairs and life with concern for ghosts and death, Chu responded:

Quote:
I say that I don't know whether these matters of humans and ghosts and life and death are one thing, or two things. If they are one thing, then talking about human affairs and the principle of life already certainly includes such matters as death and ghosts and spirits. We need not combine them in order for them to be combined. If you have to make a separate category then there will be a desire to have a division between beginning and end, and between the living and the dead. (Further Reflections, 13:25)


Such references to immortality are repeatedly joined with warnings against succumbing to a selfish notion of "preparing to get into Heaven" while actually ignoring the often difficult task of following God's will in this life. "If you don't cultivate this life but you cultivate the next life—why?" (Further Reflections, 13:30) To do so is to mistake death for life, and to thus fail in this life and also fail to achieve everlasting life: "I am afraid the Buddhists will only love the true nature after death. Isn't their intention egoistic and self-interested?..." (Fu 52)

The Zen Buddhists claim to believe in the continued life of the soul after death, but their notion of this is one of escape from the thoughts, desires, and mental activity of this world—in fact, they teach their students to attempt to achieve this state of death-like nothingness as their highest goal. Chu counters this by addressing the eternal, negentropic process of the Creation as the necessary location of man's concentration both in life and in death:

The creative transformation of heaven and earth is likened to a great furnace, in which human and non-human beings never cease to grow and re-grow. This points to the principle of reality, and we need not worry about the cessation of the creative transformation. Now, Buddhists see it as a vast, vacuous and quiet thing, and mistake the "awareness or consciousness" posterior to death of human and non-human beings to be the principle of reality. Isn't this wrong?

Now, what our Confucian sages and worthies call "to go back in fulfillment and die in peace" is none other than not to miss the Principle of Heaven man has received, so that he can die without any regret or shame. (Fu, 51)


RE: Aum Shinrikyo - Real (hardcore) Terrorists - Rising Phoenix - 01.05.2012 18:36

I see, thank you for your explanation.

I wonder - what will the Buddhists say when we achieve a society of abundance? Sorry for going offtopic there, but the thought is interesting. "Hey, no, this abundancy and lack of suffering is suffering!" or something like that... Hehe


RE: Aum Shinrikyo - Real (hardcore) Terrorists - Helsworth - 01.05.2012 19:09

My pleasure Wink "It is a sign of strength to cry out against fate, rather than to bow one's head and succumb." Gabriel Angelos, chapter master of the Blood Ravens Hehe


RE: Aum Shinrikyo - Real (hardcore) Terrorists - Rising Phoenix - 01.05.2012 19:23

"It is a sign of strength to cry out against fate, rather than to bow one's head and succumb." Very true.

Titian Wrote:
PS: Maybe such terrorism can be built into AR with some tasks and random events?

Returning somewhat to the original topic, I would like to state that such a thing would be interesting -- in ARS we have to deal with the most public methods, but never with these 'completely unexpected' situations.


RE: Aum Shinrikyo - Real (hardcore) Terrorists - Lord Alexander - 01.05.2012 20:49

Rising Phoenix Wrote:
Exactly. Rather than devising a way to bring prosperity to everyone, he wanted everyone to escape poverty. This is why I can not agree with Buddhism -- I believe it is possible to bring prosperity to everyone through technology.

According to Buddhism gods live in worlds that are full of abundance. But their existence is not infinite. Eventually they exhaust positive karma, and their existence in form of gods comes to an end. Buddhists does not say that abundance is not possible. They say that any abundance inevitably ends. Even if humans will defeat material scarcity and will reach individual immortality it will not free them from limitations of their minds. Eventually their delusions and passions will drive them into misery and self-destruction.
The root of our suffering lies in our minds, and Buddhism explains how it can be removed.


RE: Aum Shinrikyo - Real (hardcore) Terrorists - Helsworth - 01.05.2012 20:52

Lord Alexander Wrote:

Rising Phoenix Wrote:
Exactly. Rather than devising a way to bring prosperity to everyone, he wanted everyone to escape poverty. This is why I can not agree with Buddhism -- I believe it is possible to bring prosperity to everyone through technology.

According to Buddhism gods live in worlds that are full of abundance. But their existence is not infinite. Eventually they exhaust positive karma, and their existence in form of gods comes to an end. Buddhists does not say that abundance is not possible. They say that any abundance inevitably ends. Even if humans will defeat material scarcity and will reach individual immortality it will not free them from limitations of their minds. Eventually their delusions and passions will drive them into misery and self-destruction.
The root of our suffering lies in our minds, and Buddhism explains how it can be removed.

By removing one's self from life. It's a mistake to believe that the after life is more real than this one.


RE: Aum Shinrikyo - Real (hardcore) Terrorists - Lord Alexander - 01.05.2012 20:58

Both this life and afterlife are illusions. The ultimate goal of Buddhist way is not in earning some ultimate afterlife, but in freeing the mind from both illusions.


RE: Aum Shinrikyo - Real (hardcore) Terrorists - BaktoMakhno - 01.05.2012 21:01

Lord Alexander Wrote:
Every ideology, religious or otherwise, is an opiate. It does not automatically mean that it cannot have positive effect on individuals or societies. I tend to believe that in modern societies religion as an institute is an anachronism. But historically Buddhism less often was used for justification of wars than Christianity and Islam, so it can be said that it was not as vile as them.

Less often, perhaps. Though it has been used pretty often. The mongol empire adopted buddhism with incredible fervour, it was a huge influence on Ungern-Sternberg (the maddest of the white armies mad dogs) and buddhist 'mindfullness' techniques were widely used by the WWII Japanese military to enable their soldiers to emotionally distance themselves from the attrocities they were comitting:
http://villagezendo.org/journal/april_08/zen_at_war_april_08.html

As Hels says it also played a massive role in persuading people to accept their lot. In my view ideologies which do this have been much more damaging than those which incite violence.


RE: Aum Shinrikyo - Real (hardcore) Terrorists - Helsworth - 01.05.2012 21:12

By the time of the Neo-Confucians in eleventh-century Sung China, Taoism was pervasive, corrupting even the Confucian literati. The previous T'ang Dynasty had been founded and led almost entirely by confirmed Taoists, while Buddhism spread dramatically across China, developing a new "Chinese" form—Ch'an, or Zen as it became known later in Japan—through an interaction with Taoism. Although the two conflicted, the conflicts were more political than philosophical. When Buddhism was briefly banned by the Taoist regime between a.d.: 843 and 845, the motivation is evident in the result: 4,600 Buddhist monasteries were abolished, while tens of millions of mu of land were confiscated! The Buddhist monasteries had become surrogates for would-be feudal lords, using the tax-exempt status and freedom from inheritance regulations to build up the equivalent of vast landed estates controlled by wealthy families.
One of Chu Hsi's primary targets was the Zen Buddhist contention that to get to the original pureness of mind, all thoughts must be extinguished, all emotions and desires removed. Chu protested that this eliminates any notion of human creativity, and that this God-given creative power is the very nature of the mind. What they fail to understand, he said, is that the nature of the mind, like the mind of Heaven,
is none other than the production of things; that if one interprets this mind any other way, one will invariably be drowned in emptiness and submerged in quietude, and will fail to attain the proper connection between substance and function, root and branch.
Creativity and production are impossible without interaction with the physical universe, which the Buddhists considered unreal, illusionary. But Chu additionally warned against those who argued that Confucian teachings were best for ethical matters of society and government, while at the same time the Buddhists could be followed for their understanding of the transcendental realm of human consciousness. In a passage reminiscent of Plato's Allegory of the Cave, Chu said,
The Buddhists are really in a dream world, seeing only shadows of mind and nature. They have never carefully looked at their genuine mind and nature. Even if they are successful in preserving and nourishing, this is only the preservation and nourishment of the shadows they see. (Further Reflections, 13:15)
He quotes Ch'eng Hao:
The Buddhists devote themselves only to penetration on the transcendental level, not to learning on the empirical level. This being the case, can their penetration on the transcendental level be right? Their two levels are basically disconnected. Whatever is separated is not the Way. (Reflections, 13:4)
Chu went further by emphasizing that although Confucian teachings on ethics were indeed completely opposed to those of Buddhism, the fundamental difference was metaphysical, not ethical:
Those who refute Buddhism today rely upon the distinction between righteousness as the essence of the Confucian Way and self-interest as the essence of the Buddhist Way.... This distinction is rather secondary.... Buddhists take Emptiness as the essence of their metaphysical view.... Their metaphysical view is all wrong, consequently all other doctrines they maintain have to be equally wrong.... We Confucianists say all metaphysical Principles are real, while they say all Principles are empty.
Thus, to Chu, ideas are more real than the ephemeral, material substance of the objects of sense perception. It is worth noting here that Aristotle was a Zen Buddhist as well as a Taoist! Aristotle rejected Plato's concept of the Ideas, which is a rejection of Chu Hsi's parallel notion that the nature of each created thing is its particular Principle, which participates in the Universal Principle, God. In the Metaphysics, Aristotle says: "To say that the Ideas are patterns and that other things participate in them is to use empty words and poetic metaphors...."
Aristotle's rejection of any nature or meaning in things and affairs other than what can be observed by the senses, is epistemologically equivalent to the Zen teaching that the material world is an illusion—that only the perception by the consciousness is real.
The ultimate goal of the Zen Buddhists was to find "peace" through contemplative enlightenment. Aristotle's view of "reason," his concept of the mind, and his view of the selfish aim of mental activity, are not far removed from the Zen Buddhists, as evidenced by this passage from his Ethics:
The activity of reason, which is contemplative, seems both to be superior in serious worth and to aim at no end beyond itself, and to have its pleasure proper to itself ... and the self-sufficiency, leisureliness, unweariedness (so far as this is possible for man), and all the other attributes to the supremely happy man are evidently those connected with this activity.

Chu did not denounce the concept of "emptying the mind," nor the value of meditation; rather, he redefined them. The process of investigation of the laws of the universe, of the "Principle of things and affairs," necessarily leads to the arousal of selfish desires and a fixation on "things" and "objects," rather than their Principles. This clouds up and obscures the "inborn luminous virtue," the creative process, creating a screen of habits and fixed notions through which reality, true Principle, is distorted.
Said Chu: "Habit becomes one's second nature, causing one to get further and further from his nature." (Reflections, 1:14) Also:
Modern scholars are unable to empty their minds and take a step back to slowly look over the teachings of sages and worthies in order to seek out their ideas. Instead, they directly take their own ideas and force them onto those [of the sages and worthies].... (Further Reflections, 2:62)
How can one "empty his mind" and at the same time "preserve the mind and investigate things"? Are these not contradictions? Said Chu,

The Zen Buddhists see the mind as empty and possessing no Principle at all, while we see that although the mind is empty, it does possess all the 10,000 Principles completely within itself. (Fu) ("10,000" is used in Chinese to mean "countless" or "infinite.")
Here, Chu distinguishes between man's "human mind" and his "Heavenly mind." It is not that there are two minds. Rather, man's original nature comes from God, but as soon as man acts in the world, his free will subjects him to human desires, both good desires and selfish desires. If these desires are not governed by the "original mind"—i.e., by Principle—then they will become ensnared in evil. Chu said,

At the moment that we perceive good and wish to do it, this is the first stirring of the appearances of our true mind. But once it does appear it is covered by the natural inclination for worldly things. We must personally and intensively investigate it. (Further Reflections, 5:16)
Chu Hsi mocked any lesser concept of the mind, either the Taoist/Legalist argument that, in order to impose order on the ignorant masses, people must be treated like beasts, or the Zen Buddhist argument that the outside world should be rejected in favor of self-reflection and personal enlightenment. When many Taoists and Buddhists claimed to follow the Confucian tenet to "Hold the mind fast and preserve it," Chu Hsi responded:

"Holding it fast" is another way of saying that we should not allow our conduct to fetter and destroy our innate mind which is characterized by jen and righteousness. It does not mean that we should sit in a rigid position to preserve the obviously idle consciousness and declare that "this is holding fast and preserving it." (CTCS 44:28a-29b)


RE: Aum Shinrikyo - Real (hardcore) Terrorists - Lord Alexander - 01.05.2012 22:37

BaktoMakhno Wrote:

Lord Alexander Wrote:
Every ideology, religious or otherwise, is an opiate. It does not automatically mean that it cannot have positive effect on individuals or societies. I tend to believe that in modern societies religion as an institute is an anachronism. But historically Buddhism less often was used for justification of wars than Christianity and Islam, so it can be said that it was not as vile as them.

Less often, perhaps. Though it has been used pretty often. The mongol empire adopted buddhism with incredible fervour, it was a huge influence on Ungern-Sternberg (the maddest of the white armies mad dogs) and buddhist 'mindfullness' techniques were widely used by the WWII Japanese military to enable their soldiers to emotionally distance themselves from the attrocities they were comitting:
http://villagezendo.org/journal/april_08/zen_at_war_april_08.html

As Hels says it also played a massive role in persuading people to accept their lot. In my view ideologies which do this have been much more damaging than those which incite violence.

Mongols did not use Buddhism as a pretext for their wars. They were pretty tolerant to other beliefs. Ungern was insane fascist bandit that liked Buddhism. He did not represent Buddhism, just like Josef Kony does not represent Christianity. But I concur with you about Japan. Another example is White Lotus Society that initiated some rebellions in China. But in comparison to the bloody history of Christianity and Islam it is nothing.

It is true that all ruling religious groups are trying to persuade majority to accept their places in life. The same can be said about all ruling groups that follow non-religious ideologies. All ideologies are working like an opiate when their followers are in power.


RE: Aum Shinrikyo - Real (hardcore) Terrorists - Titian - 01.05.2012 23:27

guys, i certainly do appreciate the discussion about buddhism/hinduism/animalism/otherreligousismisms. It is highly interesting and it is actually a topic we haven't written much about in this forum (btw, I see some accounting problems with regard to some of the coming-back-to-earth-as-someone-else thinking; It is a fact, that the world's human population is rising steeply. So, there are 4 possible explanations for this: A) somehow new souls are poured over the universe, B) being human becomes completely inflated, C) some areas of the universe are completely depopulated because earth somehow looks pretty attractive for your after-life destination (or everybody in the universe behaves like a complete a** and gets send here for punishment, which of course, could be a reason for concern) and D) the person at nirwana's entrance gate is completely wasted 24/7, thus letting nobody in (or out? Kopfkratz))

Nonetheless, back to topic.
Maybe we can move the religous content into another thread, as this one has the purpose of discussing why and how Aum Shinrikyo has actually been able to commit these terrorist attacks and why we, in today's world, have such massive problems in dealing with "terrorists" who can simply be called "lil' boys" when comparring them to Aum.


RE: Aum Shinrikyo - Real (hardcore) Terrorists - Lord Alexander - 02.05.2012 00:51

Titian Wrote:
Nonetheless, back to topic.
Maybe we can move the religous content into another thread, as this one has the purpose of discussing why and how Aum Shinrikyo has actually been able to commit these terrorist attacks and why we, in today's world, have such massive problems in dealing with "terrorists" who can simply be called "lil' boys" when comparring them to Aum.

I suspect that the main reason for initial success of Aum Shinrikyo was absence of connections between their terrorist activities and their publicly proclaimed ideology. This allowed them to accumulate many resources without being recognized as a serious threat. But they were simply a group of madmen without long-term strategy, not a professional paramilitary unit.

On the other hand ‘normal’ terrorist organizations may have less resources, but they work much more seriously, and as a result it is much harder to track them down. Plus unlike Aum Shinrikyo they usually are composed from relatively autonomous terrorist cells.