Aum cult leader aiming to bolster his position

The current leader of the Aum Supreme Truth cult took 70 followers on a three-day “pilgrimage” to temples, mountains and other sites this month, apparently in a bid to boost his support among cult members, The Yomiuri Shimbun learned Tuesday.

The move by Fumihiro Joyu emulated similar trips made by the cult’s founder, Chizuo Matsumoto, known as Shoko Asahara, in 1991 and 1992.

The cult is currently split between members supporting Joyu and fundamentalist members who keep faith with Matsumoto.

According to sources, the pilgrimage visited nine locations on Aug. 13-15 in prefectures including Nagano, Gifu, Nara and Kyoto that Joyu dubbed as “sacred grounds,” where the followers meditated and chanted mantras at the sites.

At the same time, about 200 members of the anti-Joyu group attended seminars at cult facilities in Saitama Prefecture and elsewhere, marking the third time this year, including during the Golden Week holidays, that the rival groups have held seminars at competing times.

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The Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan
Aug. 23, 2006

Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday August 22, 2006.
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