The OP has edited this question and wants it reopened:

About Shoko Asahara: must a Buddhist censor his words in order to avoid people to rebel?

Is it on-topic now? Should it be reopened? Does it need to be improved in some way before it's reopened?

As well as (or instead of) answering this meta-question you, you can cast a "reopen" vote on the question.

2 Answers 2


I think the OP is (still) trying to argue that Shoko Asahara isn't guilty of the crimes he was convicted of.

  • That's not really on-topic for this site (but might be for Skeptics.SE; or, I don't know, maybe for History.SE or Law.SE or somewhere).
  • This site does have policy against using a question as an opportunity to rant, using it to make an argument instead of to ask a question.

It's difficult to police objectively but my personal opinion is that this one seems outside the line, so I'm not voting to reopen it as-is.

So far as I can tell from BBC: Shoko Asahara and Wikipedia: Aum Shinrikyo it might be reasonable to view them as not Buddhist.

Aum Shinrikyo/Aleph is a syncretic belief system that drew upon Asahara's idiosyncratic interpretations of elements of early Indian Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism along with Hinduism, taking Shiva as main image of worship and incorporating millennialist ideas from the Christian Book of Revelation, Yoga and the writings of Nostradamus.[8][9] Its founder, Chizuo Matsumoto, claimed that he sought to restore "original Buddhism".[10] In 1992 Matsumoto, who changed his name to Shoko Asahara, published a foundational book, and declared himself "Christ",[11] Japan's only fully enlightened master and identified with the "Lamb of God".[12] His purported mission was to take upon himself the sins of the world, and he claimed he could transfer to his followers spiritual power and ultimately take away their sins and bad deeds.[13] While many discount Aum Shinrikyo's Buddhist characteristics and affiliation to Buddhism, scholars often refer to it as an offshoot of Japanese Buddhism,[14] and this was how the movement generally defined and saw itself.

I don't like to exclude forms of Buddhism from this site but maybe this one is beyond the pale?

It might possibly be allowable as a question about Buddhist culture; but in general maybe we don't want to (and don't have enough expertise to) answer questions about idiosyncratic cults.

The questions asks about "Buddhism", i.e. "should a Buddhist censor his words?"

Maybe it should be more specific about which school of Buddhism?

Is a beginner's-level answer about right speech, harmlessness, being apolitical appropriate?

In general, good answers are based on references or personal experience. I don't see which of these (what kind of personal experience nor what kind of reference the OP might be looking for in an answer.

In theory the tag means that the question should be answered from a Vajrayana perspective (and that answers from other schools would be off-topic).

I don't know whether the OP understands that (policy implicit in the use of that tag), nor whether this is a question which a Vajrayana student or teacher would be willing and able to answer (which is another reason why I'm not myself voting to reopen it, and am instead asking for another opinion on Meta).

The question seems unrelated to the content, tacked on. The question is, "should a Buddhist censor his words in order to avoid people rebelling against governments" but most of the question is arguing about the USA and Freemasons etc.

Would it be a better question is most of the references to Shoko Asahara were removed, leaving only the question? Something like,

Shoko Asahara was the leader of a neo-Buddhist cult, convicted of the Sarin attack on the Tokyo subway. Assuming that his followers carried out the attack, should a Buddhist censor his words in order to avoid people rebelling against governments?

The current question starts with,

I read Shoko Asahara's book "Supreme Initiation" and (for me) I found there is nothing wrong in this book. It is just a clear and peaceful opposition to the materialistic and consumerist society based in Buddhist philosophy and teachings.

Should the question be open to (answers by) only people who have read Shoko Asahara's book, "Supreme Initiation"? Is the question abut the book?

The OP seems to assume that it's because of the Shoko Asahara's book and/or "words" that they attacked.

It seems to me that the question has a trivial answer, i.e.,

Yes, Buddhist leaders should self-censor, for example they shouldn't get their followers to mess around with Sarin.

An answer might possibly find articles like this one which says,

The interview puts the meetings of Shoko Asahara with the Dalai Lama into context. However, the whole interview is worth to be read and to be reflected upon – not just only the passage that deals with the meetings of Shoko Asahara and the Dalai Lama – because it shows the dangers of gradually growing fundamentalism / dogmatism / totalitarism in a group; especially when there is a guru who abuses the guru-teacher relationship in order to gain total control over his devotees.

... and explain why such a practice falls into the "should not do that" category.

I'm not sure it's valuable to have such trivial/obvious topics on the site, i.e. I'm not sure that's even a question. And, again, I don't know whether that kind of answer would satisfy the OP, nor what kind of answer (or what information) the OP is looking for.

  • 1
    I agree. I think it is trivial. I will withdraw my vote for re-opening it and vote for closing it. Regards Nov 20, 2016 at 6:54
  • Very well put. Nothing to be added from my side... Nov 22, 2016 at 22:28

The question basically seems to be:

"Should Buddhist literature exclude/be censored for political commentary?"

I think there are arguments for & against reopening the question.

My original impression was the question is valid, however it would warrant an answer such as:

There is nothing explicitly "Buddhist" in Asahara's philosophy since, although Buddhism preaches peace & non-harming, Buddhism does not engage in public political opinions.

Or, it may warrant an answer such as:

"It is OK that Buddhist books mention injustices in the world so Buddhists can be better informed about life when making both personal & political (voting) choices".

  • Do you think the question should be reopened, or left closed? If reopened, should it (and/or must it) be edited somehow first? What further edits, if any, are desirable or necessary?
    – ChrisW Mod
    Nov 20, 2016 at 3:00

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