Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Request for help with our petition

"The group supporting Yoshihiro Inoue, a criminal condemned to live and continue to atone for his crimes and sins," which was established in Kyoto, where Yoshihiro Inoue was born and raised, is collecting signatures for a petition to prevent his execution.  

We are against the death penalty system itself, based on the belief that any form of killing is unforgivable, for any reason. There is a possibility that Yoshihiro's death sentence could be overturned if a retrial were to take place. Yoshihiro was sentenced to life imprisonment during his first trial and to death during his second, indicating that opinions on the death penalty differ, even among judges. 

Yoshihiro called upon the Aum believers to withdraw from the religious community through his court testimonies. He has also devoted himself to uncovering the truth of the incident. If his death penalty were to be carried out, we would lose an important clue for preventing the reoccurrence of, and solving problems related to, such terrorist incidents. Therefore, in order to prevent similar incidents, we desire that Yoshihiro continue to live so that he can atone for his sins in the future as well. In addition, we would like him to devote himself to revealing the whole picture of the Aum incident, which is still not clear to this day.

We would be very grateful for your signature and support.
If you agree with our cause, please download a signature sheet from the link below and send it with your signature thereon to the address written on it.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The 20th Year of The Sarin Gas Attack on Tokyo Subway

We post a letter written by Yoshihiro in 2015.

March 22, 2015

It is 20 years since the sarin gas attack on Tokyo subway occurred. I cannot help reflecting on how the fatalities, the bereaved families and the injured persons suffering from the aftereffects would have spent their days if we hadn’t caused the incident. All I can do is just to make my apologies to them and to contemplate the pain of my crime.

Every time I see and hear the news that wars and terrorist attacks in the name of God occurred all over the world, many people were robbed of their irreplaceable lives in them or have suffered from them, those news acutely grieve me overlapping with my thoughts on the victims of my high crime.

Why do such incidents occur in the name of God?
I simply outline terrorist attacks based on religion from the perspective of the person who has committed the high crime in the name of God, namely me.

Looking back on those days, I got to leave judgment between right and wrong up to Asahara, the founder of Aum Shinrikyo, regarded as the only person who knew God’s will by blindly believing the just cause of saving people from the Armageddon (the final war in the world based on eschatology) in accordance with God’s will which Asahara set.

As a result, I gave up a sense of responsibility for my own words and actions which I should have had as a member of society naturally by following the teaching that we must not think for ourselves after I became a priest at the age of 18, and I stayed unchanged.

Asahara who had his followers at his beck and call in the name of salvation completely lacked a sense of responsibility for what resulted from his instructions to them as a member of society.

As described above, actually we all the followers of Asahara were not aware of the responsibility for our own words and actions as a member of society and conceited ourselves to be men of absolute justice which led to God beyond morality, and such our irresponsible behaviors escalated into the high crimes. “A lack of awareness of having committed a crime in the name of God” is probably one of the essences of cult religion.

By delving into this actual state in terms of the relationship between the founder and his follower for God as transcendent existence, it is clarified that the practice of the religious faith functions to deviate from the rules.

According to Asahara, the founder of the cult religion, when practicing asceticism on the beach in 1986, he was ordered to be “the Lord leading the navy and fighting” by God, asked God “May I use the force as a means?” and received the revelation “take the order” from God. It can be said that this revelation was the beginning of all the incidents caused by Aum.

Afterwards, Asahara began to preach on a theory of religious conflict and to justify himself by saying that God delegated the right and the power to overstep the social rules to him in his arrogance to distinguish the savers from the saved, the unordinary from the ordinary. He blindly believed himself to be transcendent existence like God, and by identifying himself with God that he imaged, he replaced his ambitions with the orders from God and ordered us his followers to achieve them.

We his followers blindly believed Asahara to be transcendent existence as God and were mistaken in thinking that we could be identified with God as transcendent existence and saved by obeying him(it was buddhistically interpreted as attainment of enlightenment in the group of Aum). I can say that in such a relationship between the founder as God and his followers, we really assumed that the orders in the name of God were given the power to overstep the social rules and obedience to them was absolute justice of God beyond right and wrong in human society because God was transcendent existence, and we obeyed the founder.
Is this the mechanism common to terrorist attacks based on religion all over the world?

While I think that there are various religions around the world and each of the religious persons considers God whom he believes in to be right, I keenly realize from my mistakes that we need to have a sense of humility to be aware that even if God whom we believe in is an absolute being for us, it doesn’t necessarily mean that our judgments or actions based on the belief in God are absolutely right as well. It is because we human beings are different from God, cannot become God no matter how firmly we believe in God, stay human beings permanently and sometimes make mistakes. That is to say the group of Aum should never have justified its own desires by replacing them with the orders from God.

Reviewing what I thought and carried out, I have noticed that the loss of empathy with others, namely dehumanization started exactly when I thirsted for the salvation and tried to identify myself with God or the person worshiped as an absolute being. In the Aum incidents, we imposed the salvation in which we believed on society at the sacrifice of many irreplaceable lives. I feel full of remorse for having done such excessively sinful and foolish acts.

As a person, I intend to face up to my crimes, be aware of the responsibility for them, consider continuously what I can do and put it into action one by one as long as my life lasts so that this kind of incident can never occur again in the name of salvation.

Yoshihiro Inoue

Thursday, December 8, 2016

So As Not to Have the Mistake Repeated by Future Generations, Chapter 10

Click here for the ninth chapter.

Chapter 10 Sorrow and Love

I began to read the novels of Dostoevsky on the advice of my teachers, in order to learn what it means to atone for a crime, identifying my crimes with the crimes described in his books. I felt Dostoevsky gave a cold look at a person tortured by a guilty conscience, and I thought the reason for it was that a pang of guilt resulted from regret for having committed a crime, but didn't mean awareness of responsibility for a crime yet. And I found this passage when I read on, considering what responsibility for a crime is:

"Mother, everyone is really responsible to all men for all men and for everything. I don't know how to explain it to you, but I feel it is so, painfully even." (The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky)

When I read this passage, tears were flowing down my face for some reason. And then I felt I realized when I had radically strayed from the right path, that was when I had been deeply impressed with Asahara during summer vacation in my third year of high school. In his idle talk with his disciples, Asahara stated "emancipation is like becoming a drop of water. The practice of salvation is that a transparent drop of water melts into a great river as it is". I strongly wanted to melt into the flow of a great river made of mercy, as a transparent drop of water. This wish was my starting point of my activities in Aum Shinrikyo.

Asahara called the person who was a drop of water the "new breed of humans" who had developed one's spirituality by training. Then he regarded enlightening humans by the "new breed of humans" as salvation.

Now, I think the "new breed of humans" philosophy itself was the reason for my serious crime. That is because the way of thinking was absolutely an arrogant assumption of salvation, which excluded all meanings of existence by others who had different values, and was absolutely his own narcissistic work. It was Aum's training which deepened such narcissism.

At that time, I underwent various mystical experiences by training. Then, because of a light inside of me and because of an enlargement of my consciousness, I had a feeling that I was trying to touch life itself. Through that, I deepened my belief that, rather than rules of real society, it was Asahara's teaching based on such mystical experiences that were true. Soon I started to believe that Asahara, as the person who had reached final enlightenment, embodied life itself. As a result, I felt afraid of him dominating and depriving the lives of others, but I felt a sense that there was no way to go against him.

In the final analysis my error was that I entrapped myself in Asahara's exclusive possession of my life. I felt the opposite of such exclusive possession of life in the story of "The Brothers Karamazov".

When I was a first year high school student, I saw lonely old men and old women in a hospital for seniors. I felt that old people were abandoned, which made me angry. I thought, "I should do something to change this". Back then, although I didn't know "how to explain", at that time, in front of these old people who seemed to be abandoned, without feeling true sympathy or love to others, I merely looked on them, in this sense, I was a criminal. Rather than feeling anger, I should have felt deep sorrow. By feeling deep, deep sorrow about human suffering, I should have been aware of the human state in which he or she couldn't live without committing some sin.

Now, I feel that "the great transparent river of mercy" doesn't exist, and should not exist. If one person separates himself or herself from others, and if he or she believe that he or she is only excellent compared with others, and believes that he or she is absolutely right, how can the person understand the sorrow and suffering of humans who can't live without sinning? How can he or she sincerely sympathize with others, understand others, and love others? I didn't understand even one of those important points.

On top of that, according to what I have learned after my arrest, the mystical experience induced by the training was essentially to realize the common state which existed inside of the life. It was for a deep understanding of "even if the state of life is very different, all creatures are kept alive equally by all life". However, because of my mystical experience, I fooled myself into thinking I was special. And then, I had a huge ego thinking that I was allowed to do more things than others on the pretext of saving many people.

I should have dived into the vast expanse of experiences made up of people's lives - their uncleanness, sufferings and sorrows - rather than "the great transparent river of mercy", which was nothing more than narcissism. And then I should have personally learned what it meant to love someone in the sorrow of living.

"What can I do?" When I can do nothing and I am crouching down in a prison cell, it seems that sorrow related to various crimes come to me. The indescribable sufferings of victims of various crimes overlap with my thoughts on the victims of my crime. I feel a stabbing pain in my chest. Everyone who is in prison didn't want to commit a crime, did they?  I keenly feel the sorrow of criminals who committed crimes despite that. 

Is there salvation for those who suffer from a sense of sin by this awareness? I can't help asking myself. But I just can't come up with the right answer. But once more, I have come to the painful realization of how foolish it is to have blindly believed that there was salvation through the cause, and how deeply sinful it is to have pretended to be a saint, to have talked about saving people.

When I was in middle and high school, I despised the sins and contradictions that humans created and I rejected them. Because of this rejection, I was driven by a sense of justice that I should reform modern-day society as it heads toward Armageddon. I pretended to be a good person thinking that I was a prominent leader. But in fact, I was self-absorbed in our salvation story, I immured myself, I lost sympathy which a person should have towards others.

Nevertheless, I was under the vain conceit of presuming that I was a Bodhisattva-destined to bear the burden of the suffering of others. And so I had come to view all things on my own convenient terms, on the mistaken premise that I was doing good for the sake of my fellow man. In the end, we imposed our "salvation" on a general public who didn't want Aum's salvation at all. We took the irreplaceable lives of others.

As I look on such serious crimes, I become dejected at the seriousness of my crime and the sorrow. However, the more my despair deepens, the more I feel the power of life that thrives within me. I feel that this power visits me not only from my desire to live, but also from life's love, which is more grand and keeps an eye on every life.

The more I feel the love for the life of the boundless affection of living creatures, I keenly feel how horrible and sinful it is to have taken away these lives. I feel so sorry for the victims. I was overflowing with tears that wouldn't stop.

Why did this kind of thing happen?

At least, I can't help asking myself again and again so that this kind of incident can never occur again in the name of salvation.

The End.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

So As Not to Have the Mistake Repeated by Future Generations, Chapter 9

Click here for the eighth chapter.

Chapter 9 The Awareness of the Crimes

When I turned my face toward my parents just after the second trial judgment was pronounced in court, my mother called my name strongly in no voice and cried with her face crumpling, and my father closed his eyes still with his face distorted bitterly. The figures of my parents are branded in my mind, and tears well up in my eyes whenever I remember them.

I terribly worried about my parents than myself and keenly recognized for the first time how deeply the families who had been suddenly bereaved of their family members were pained, sad and tortured. The thoughts how much the fatalities would have been concerned about their families, been regretful and fearful about being suddenly snatched were approaching me clearly. And I understood I absolutely had to reward my too serious crime.

On the other hand, I was incredibly shocked that the life imprisonment sentence of the first trial was assumed to be misconception and therefore I was sentenced to death in the second though no new criminal evidences were presented, the fact situation was not confirmed by the examination of the accused and I was not given even an opportunity to explain the misconception from the beginning in the second court.

However, this cannot be compared with the regret of the victims who lost their lives though there were no faults on their parts, so I just bowed my head without being able to find the words.

I agreed to the proposal of my legal counsel for the final appeal. All my words and actions were by no means such that the second trial judgment could assume the first to be misconception.

"The Group supporting Yoshihiro Inoue, a criminal condemned to live and continue atoning for his crimes and sins" started on January 11th, 2007 in relation to Mr. Yusyo Koto who had taught me religious studies in my first year at Rakunan Senior High School and gave testimony at the first trial. Mr. Gyoyo Kodama acting as a representative of the group is the former director of the institute for Shinshu sect religious doctrines of Otani school of Shinshu sect and one of the Buddhist priests inheriting the teachings of Shinran. Furthermore, my teachers and friends of the group besides my parents lent me a helping hand and gave me the opportunity to look back on my own crimes and sins.

I had thought it my responsibility to have committed the crimes until then, but in the back of my mind, I had defended myself by thinking "I had no choice but to commit the crimes because I had been deceived and given the fear of death by Asahara". To put it another way, I had attributed my crimes to Asahara and turned my eyes away from them actually. However by facing up to my death, I got to be aware of having to take the full responsibility for the crimes and also the sins of having believed his teaching by myself. Thereby the overwhelmingly strong sense of not excusing myself for them any more surges up within me.

In the admonition given in the first trial judgment, Mr. Hiromichi Inoue spoke to me as follows:
"You must throw away all of your pride, self-esteem, arrogance and conceit that caused you to commit these incidents, and spend your days apologizing as an obedient person."

What I think honestly when I apply myself to his words and phrases again now is described below.

My pride caused me to try to support the murder deceiving myself though I realized that I was not able to carry out it. Because of my pride in saving others and being ascetic, I avoided accepting my inability to act as required.

My self-esteem caused me to join Aum Shinrikyo and to be absorbed in it. I was confident of my ability in the religious training. The other members of the Aum group believed it to be unusual as well and I was proud of it. Such my self-esteem made me try to deal with the difficult tasks assigned by Asahara. As a result, I had committed many crimes.

My arrogance caused me to take the irreplaceable lives of others in the name of salvation. I thought the world to be destroyed by Armageddon seriously as if I had understood everything in it despite no sufficient experiences in the complex society. In addition, I didn't try to know the reality of living of others and looked down on them for spending their lives meaninglessly in ignorance of the truth. And, I blindly believed that we had to save many people from Armageddon even though there would be sacrifices to be made by. Such my thoughts were arrogance itself.

My conceit caused me to lose the social skills. At that time, I entirely believed that guru's will were absolutely right and I could not make a mistake as long as I practiced what the guru intended to do. And I completely lost the viewpoint of judgment on my actions and was not be able to look at the world outside of Aum Shinrikyo any more. Such my conceit made me lose the social skills and the human heart gradually.
In conclusion, such my desire caused me to commit the incidents.

I continued suppressing my conscience by my pride, self-esteem, arrogance and conceit. This is why I supported the murder without considering the lives of others and the other followers of Aum. I denied the dignity of others that should be called "life" by suppressing my conscience.