Aum Shinrikyō

Aum Shinrikyō, a cult founded in 1985 by Shoko Asahara, perpetrated the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway that killed 12 people.

Aum Shinrikyō translates roughly as “Supreme Truth.” The cult's major tenets are drawn from a wide spectrum of religions. Adherents believe that by withdrawing from worldly pleasures and dedicating their thoughts to the contemplation of the “Supreme Truths” as revealed by their guru, Shoko Asahara, they can become enlightened. Some commentators characterize the cult as a type of “fundamentalist” Buddhism. However, Asahara has at times described himself as an incarnation of Shiva, the Hindu god responsible for both destruction and rebirth. Aum Shinriky-o also incorporates a fervent belief in the coming of Armageddon, a term from Christian theology describing and ultimate battle between good and evil in which the known world is destroyed and replaced by a spiritually pure world.

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