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News Archive for February, 1998

Woman sues firm for bias: She wouldn't TM, The Des Moines Register, Wednesday, February 25, 1998
A former employee of a Fairfield company has filed a discrimination lawsuit, claiming she was denied promotions and other benefits because she didn't practice transcendental meditation. In a series of accusations filed in federal court in Des Moines, Abby Kisling contends that the situation at USA Global Link Inc. left her with "severe humiliation and emotional distress." Global Link, whose leaders and most employees are meditators, according to Kisling, denies the accusations and says it will fight them in court. Civil rights authorities say the case is unusual and raises serious questions about what constitutes a religion. Kisling's grievance is based on what she describes as religious discrimination. Followers of transcendental meditation have denied their practice is a religion. Kisling alleges that her work day began at 8 a.m. but that TM followers regularly showed up at 9 a.m. without complaints from supervisors. Meditators were permitted to go to the "dome" at nearby Maharishi University of Management on company time to "cleanse their spirit," but nonmeditators had to account for all their hours and make up lost time. Kisling, who was fired in June 1997 for reasons not disclosed in the documents, contends that TM followers got heftier raises than non-meditators and won other recognition, including promotions and bonuses, if they graduated from Maharishi University. He said the commission has not determined whether meditators are practicing religion, although a federal judge has held that transcendental meditation is a religion.
Theme parks: Veda lost?, The New York Times Sunday, February 22, 1998
It's been a decade since Doug Henning, the big-haired magician, and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the big-bearded founder of Transcendental Meditation, announced plans to build Maharishi Veda Land, a $1.5 billion, 1,400-acre New Age theme park near Niagara Falls, Ontario. Veda Land was supposed to haul in six million visitors a year with unique attractions like a "Magic Flying Chariot Ride," a "Corridor of Time Ride" and something called "the world's only levitating building." It's 1998, and Veda Land is just Land: 700 acres or so of shrubs and junk a couple miles from the falls. Meanwhile, the project is still levitating somewhere between Maharishi Veda Land Canada's 13th-floor office in Toronto and the desk of Wayne Thomson, Niagara Falls's Mayor, who hasn't seen any of the required permits for the levitating building, or anything else for that matter.
Death penalty decision nears in Japan cult case, Saturday, February 28, 1998, 8:35 p.m. PST
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese prosecutors will reveal on Monday whether they are seeking the death penalty for a member of the doomsday cult which killed 12 people in a nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway three years ago. It will be the first recommendation by prosecutors against any of the 14 main defendants accused of staging the attack, which also made thousands ill and left the nation in a state of shock. The recommendation will be made during the closing stages of the trial of Ikuo Hayashi, a doctor who was a senior member of Aum Shinri Kyo (the Supreme Truth Sect). The charges against Hayashi, arising from five separate cases, involve anti-terrorism laws as well as murder. Both can carry the death penalty. Hayashi, who has pleaded guilty, admits he was one of five cultists who used sharpened umbrella tips to puncture plastic bags containing deadly sarin nerve gas on crowded trains on March 20, 1995.
The Maharishi bestows Doctor's weight in gold for "Supreme Scientific Discovery," Maharishi Vedic Education Development, February 6, 1998
Vlodrop, Holland--On Friday, February 6, in a live Internet broadcast, "Maharishi European Research University" Professor Tony Nader, M.D., Ph. D., received his weight in gold. MERU is represented as performing research into consciousness by the Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation movement. Professor Nader was honored for his supposed discovery that Hindu Vedic literature is at the basis of human physiology. The Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and Natural Law Party movements contend the structure and function of natural law is the "managing intelligence of the universe." This was the first endowment of the $400 million "Maharishi Global Development Fund," recently set up in the U.S. to support "the development and reconstruction of the world according to Natural Law." [Editor's note: Critics contend that natural law is a TM synonym for Hindu gods and goddesses, as well as what TMers consider the self-revealed Hindu scriptures. It should also be noted that the connection between the human body and the "cosmic body," called Purusha, is an ancient belief in Hinduism, and is in no way a "new discovery."] Professor Nader's colleagues, Dr. Volker Schanbacher from Germany, and Dr. Keith Wallace and Ted Wallace from the United States, and Dr. Walter Molk and Dr. Rainer Picha from Austria, also received their weights in silver. Web sites carrying the broadcast:,
Natural Law Parties from 60 countries urge USA and Britain to send in TMers to "fly" for Iraq peace, Maharishi International Council of Natural Law Parties News Service, February 7, 1998
The Maharishi's Natural Law Party has urged U.S. President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair to adopt a "scientifically proven" solution to the Persian Gulf crisis. The Natural Law Party's solution is the deployment of a few thousand experts in the Transcendental Meditation and Yogic Flying program of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It is the NLP's claim that such a group would immediately reduce stress and tension in the region by changing "collective consciousness," and creating a "coherent and harmonious environment" surrounding Saddam Hussein. [Editor's note: Despite the TM movement's more than twenty-year old claims to teach flying or levitation, there has yet to be a single public demonstration of the phenomenon. Similarly, despite TMer's "scientific" claims of reducing crime rate, violence, and even war through large gatherings of levitators, their research has been subject to severe criticism by mainstream scientists.]
10-year prison term sought for wife of Aum cult leader, Yomiuri Shimbun, February 26, 1998
(Japan) - Prosecutors demanded on Wednesday 10 years' imprisonment for Tomoko Matsumoto, the wife of Aum Supreme Truth cult leader Chizuo Matsumoto, also known as Shoko Asahara, at the Tokyo District Court for her role in the murder of a former member of the religious group in 1994. According to prosecutors, Mrs. Matsumoto, 39, was involved in a conspiracy to kill Kotaro Ochida, then 29, when the former Aum member secretly entered the cult's facility in Kamikuishikimura, Yamanashi Prefecture. Ochida was strangled with a rope on Jan. 30, 1994. Submitted by: Steven Hassan M.Ed LMHC
In Taiwan, mixing U.F.O.'s and religion may empty your bank account, New York Times, February 27, 1998
AIPEI, Taiwan -- Former medical professor named Chen Heng-ming spent last year busily assembling devotees into his sect, the God Saves the Earth Flying Saucer Association (Chen Tao). Chen has taken about 100 of his followers to the wide open ranges of Texas where they will, in the words of a follower, Wu Chun-sheng, "be meeting God, who would arrive on a flying saucer to save them." From Dallas, the believers will be whisked to Mars neat year in flying saucers. Living a year in a flying saucer, she said, "would be like 10 years on earth." Interplanetary travel, however, appears to come with a price tag. The parents of several sect members have complained to the police that their children gave Chen huge sums of money for the privilege of a saucer ride.While Chen was scuttling off to Texas for his promised encounter of the third kind, a man named Wu Tai-chung has been corralling members into his own sect, the Sky and Earth Enlightenment Association, by assuring them that he arrived from outer space to save them from planetary Armageddon. Brandishing photographs taken in Taiwan's central mountain district, Wu told his growing number of followers that the dots of sun glare marring the pictures were in fact "points of inner energy" from outer space; merging with those dots would, Wu declared, allow believers to soar into outer space on a flying saucer.
Judge sentences "vampire" cult leader to death; urges prosecution of victims' daughter, Posted at 8:18 a.m. PST Friday, February 27, 1998
TAVARES, Fla. (AP) -- A judge sentenced Rod Ferrell, the teen-age leader of a vampire cult to Florida's electric chair today, and he urged the prosecution of the victims' daughter. Ferrell showed little emotion as state Circuit Judge Jerry Lockett stayed with the jury recommendation of death sentences for the crow-bar slayings of a central Florida couple in their home. Ferrell pleaded guilty to killing Richard Wendorf and Naoma Ruth Queen of Eustice, about 30 miles northwest of Orlando, on Nov. 25, 1996, when he and three members of his blood-sucking cult came to Florida from Kentucky to help the couple's daughter run away.
Scientologists organize opposition to German delegation, 2:21 a.m. PST Thursday, February 26, 1998
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Scientologists are enlisting the support of ministers and scholars from other faiths as they demonstrate against a 10-member group of German parliamentarians that was meeting with members of Congress today. The Rev. Alfreddie Johnson, a Baptist minister from Compton, Calif., accused the Germans Wednesday of trying to establish "a permanent, government-funded witch hunt that has absolute power to blacklist and punish any citizen who dares to hold or share religious beliefs not approved by the state." The German delegation visiting Congress today is part of a larger parliamentary commission made up of Bundestag members and experts that, Scientologists said, includes Scientology's most vehement critics. A religious scholars' letter was sent to the State Department and said if such a commission were formed with the same mandate in the United States it would be investigating the religions of President Clinton and 20 percent of Congress.
Ananda church head says he can't pay damages,  San Francisco Chronicle, Wednesday, February 18, 1998
The head of the Ananda Church tried to convince a Redwood City jury yesterday that his group has little money or possessions to pay the damages awarded in a civil suit against the church. J. Donald Walters, swami for the Ananda Church of God Realization, and author of numerous new age books, said he has given most of his wealth to his group. Walters said he even used most of a $400,000 inheritance to help run the church and that he has only several thousand dollars in his bank accounts. Ananda claims a net worth of no more than $1.5 million, said spokeswoman Sara Cryer.
Japan prosecutors urge 10-years for guru's wife, 4:51 p.m. PST Wednesday, February 25, 1998
TOKYO, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Japanese prosecutors on Wednesday recommended a 10-year prison term for the wife of the doomsday cult guru accused of masterminding a nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995. Tomoko Matsumoto, wife of Aum Shinri Kyo (Supreme Truth Sect) guru Shoko Asahara, is accused of conspiring with her husband and other cult members to kill former follower Kotaro Ochida when he tried to leave the cult. The court will hand down a ruling after the defence gives its closing statement on March 9.
2 AUM members get jail terms for aborted Shinjuku gassing, 6:49 a.m. PST Monday, February 23, 1998
TOKYO, Feb. 23 (Kyodo) -- The Tokyo District Court on Monday sentenced two former members of the AUM Shinrikyo religious cult to prison terms for their roles in attempted murder in the aborted cyanide gas attack in Shinjuku Station in May 1995. Satoshi Matsushita, 30, was sentenced to four years and two months in prison against five years demanded by prosecutors while Zenji Yagisawa, 35, got four years in jail compared with the demanded five years. The sentence was the first to be handed to the two members who are among seven former AUM members to be indicted on charges of abetting the abortive mass murder scheme. Yagisawa admitted the allegation while Matsushita pleaded not guilty to the charge. Former Heaven's Gate follower apparently kills himself in Arizona, Friday, February 20, 1998, 5:49 p.m. PST EHRENBERG, Ariz. (AP) -- Dressed like the 39 Heaven's Gate cult members who killed themselves near San Diego last year, a former follower was found dead in the Arizona desert in an apparent suicide. Authorities found the body of Charles Edward Humphrey, 55, Tuesday in a small tent near Ehrenberg, just across the Colorado River from Blythe, Calif., said Lt. Don Davis of the La Paz County Sheriff's Department. Humphrey's head was sealed in a plastic bag with pipes running to a car's exhaust pipe and a tank marked "carbon dioxide," Davis said. Next to his body was a purple shroud, an item found with the cult members whose bodies were discovered on March 26 in a mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Humphrey was wearing black sweatpants and a black T-shirt with a patch on the sleeve that read "Heaven's Gate Away Team," Davis said. Two months after the mass suicide, Humphrey, of Denver, and another cult member took alcohol and phenobarbital in a hotel room four miles away from the Heaven's Gate mansion. Authorities saved Humphrey but his companion died. Natural law habitat, Friday,Akron Beacon Journal, February 20, 1998 A group of followers of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi are out to change our ideas about architecture. The group, the Campaign to Rebuild Ohio in Accord with Natural Law, introduced its building concepts to Akron at a seminar last week. The group advocates the use of Maharishi Sthapatya Veda, an ancient system of community and home planning in accord with natural law. The premise is that natural phenomena such as sunlight and electromagnetic fields affect how people think and feel, so buildings should be designed and oriented to best take advantage of those forces. Woman awarded $1 million in Ananda Church case, Friday,San Jose Mercury News, February 20, 1998 A Redwood City jury awarded $1 million in punitive damages Thursday to a woman who accused leaders of the Ananda Church of Self-Realization of abusing their authority to sexually exploit her. The verdict brought the total assessed against the church and its founder to $1.6 million. The award signaled the end of a 3 1/2-month-long case that has been marked by unusual twists and flurries of accusations between the plaintiff, 34-year-old Anne-Marie Bertolucci, and the leader of the church, J. Donald Walters -- also known as Swami Kriyananda. Bertolucci, who began taking meditation classes at the church's Palo Alto branch in an effort to relieve the pressure from her job as a computer programmer in the early 1990s, was out of state Thursday. Walters, 72, was at the church's community in Italy, and was not present for the verdict either. Bertolucci alleged that Walters made an inappropriate sexual advance toward her five years ago. During the case, seven other women also testified that Walters had sexually propositioned or exploited them. Asha Praver, minister of Ananda's Palo Alto church, said Ananda will appeal the decision -- a process that could take two years. Parents of slain lawyer, wife comes to terms with AUM,1:05 a.m. PST Thursday, February 19, 1998 YOKOHAMA, Feb. 19 (Kyodo) -- The parents of a lawyer and his wife who were allegedly killed by AUM Shinrikyo members in 1989 have agreed to sign a compromise with the religious cult to end a 490 million yen damages suit against the group, lawyers for the parents said Thursday. The two couples are likely to arrive at a compromise with the AUM group next month following a court hearing Friday to set the date for the signing, the lawyers said. The amount of compensation to be paid will be about 100 million yen, they said. The plaintiffs are Yoshio and Sachiyo Sakamoto, the parents of lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto, then 33, and Tomoyuki and Yai Oyama, the parents of Satoko Sakamoto, 29. The four parents allege in their suit that Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, planned the murder because he considered Sakamoto a threat to the group's activities. Cult awareness network, inc. emerges from bankruptcy, CAN, Kingston, PA.-- The authentic Cult Awareness Network, Inc. ("CAN") will emerge from bankruptcy on Thursday, February 5, 1998. [Important Note: We do not recommend contacting the Cult Awareness Network, or CAN. An extraordinarily courageous and useful organization in the past, CAN was recently forced into bankruptcy with the help of the Church of Scientology, who now owns their records and mans their phones.] As ordered by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ronald Barliant in Chicago on November 7, 1997, management of CAN's remaining assets now reverts to its Board of Directors. CAN was accused of complicity in the kidnapping of a young man, Jason Scott, by his own mother, who wanted him "deprogrammed." The jury assessed over $1 million of actual and punitive damages against CAN. CAN appealed to the 9th Circuit in San Francisco, saying it opposes holding adults against their will and had nothing to do with kidnapping Jason Scott. CAN appellate counsel, Paul Lawrence, Esq. (of Preston Gates & Ellis of Seattle), argued the appeal on September 11, 1997, and the 9th Circuit stayed collection of any damages until that court finally decides CAN's appeal. The Illinois Supreme Court unanimously ruled on September 18, 1997, that the authentic CAN is entitled to sue Scientology for numerous, allegedly-malicious, Scientology-supported law suits. CAN's case was argued by Robert Dow, Jr., Esq. (of Mayer, Brown & Platt of Chicago). Scientology has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case and CAN's response, opposing such review, is due on February 10. Treasurer and Acting Chairman of the Board of Authentic CAN Edward A. Lottick, M.D. Contact information is available by contacting Clinton aide denies deal with Travolta over film, 1:29 p.m. PST Sunday, February 15, 1998 WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Clinton's national security advisor, Sandy Berger, denied Sunday the White House tried to win soft treatment from actor John Travolta in the film version of the book ``Primary Colors.'' Berger dismissed questions on NBC's "Meet the Press'' about the matter as "conspiracy theories'' and "a lot of time to spend on a small matter.'' According to the March issue of George magazine, Clinton met Travolta in April 1997 during a break in filming and agreed to help the Church of Scientology in a dispute with Germany, with the result that the movie's lead character was portrayed in a better light. Scientology used by President Clinton?, New York Times, Fri., Feb 13,1998 8:22:24 AM EST LOS ANGELES -- John Travolta stood in the parking garage below City Hall, waiting for his sleek black Jaguar. He had just accepted an award on behalf of the Church of Scientology from the public works commission, and he was talking earnestly about what the religion means to him. The Church of Scientology has cultivated a potent roster of celebrity members -- including actors Tom Cruise and Kirstie Alley, musicians Isaac Hayes and Chick Corea and television legal analyst Greta Van Susteren -- in its struggle to win acceptance as a mainstream religion and spread its message at home and abroad. Last fall Travolta criticized the German government's stand on Scientology before Congress. In its March issue, George magazine quotes Travolta describing a conversation last April in which President Clinton promised to try to help ease the treatment of Scientologists in Germany, where the church is locked in a fight with the government over accusations of discrimination. Tom Cruise wrote to Congress on behalf of German Scientologists last fall, and he and his wife, Nicole Kidman, praise Scientology's founder in an exhibition on Hubbard's life at a Scientology center here. Scientologists argue that they are victims of religious intolerance. Editors note:The New York Post also has and extensive article reporting similar information. Scientology leader denounces German raid, 11:50 a.m. PST Tuesday, February 10, 1998 LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The U.S.-based head of the Church of Scientology denounced German police on Tuesday for raids they carried out on church premises in Munich. State prosecutors in Germany said more than 100 police officers carried out the raids, which were linked to separate investigations into the death of a businessman who allegedly received medical advice from Scientology members, three cases of suspected arson and the reported distribution of insulting material against the psychiatric hospital. The businessman died last year after allegedly being told by members of the group to take a ``vitamin preparation'' for an illness. A second inquiry involves three cases of suspected arson on a house, car and a summer-house. The original suspect has claimed the fires were started by Scientology members. Cat lovers target of anonymous flier, Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber, Wednesday, February 4, 1998 Island animal lovers are rallying behind Robert and Stacy Young days after an anonymous flier alleged the Youngs brought an "illegal and diseased" cat kennel to Vashon. About two months ago they moved their operation to Vashon and have been remodeling a house as a cat sanctuary. The flier, distributed days before Robert says he was scheduled to testify against the church in Germany, alleges that the Youngs "have between 200 and 300 cats but that a final tally is hard to determine because of all the births and deaths from disease." The flier asserts the cats have FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) which is also known as AIDS." (FIP is a completely different virus then FIV, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus). The flier also alleges the couple received 10 citations for "illegal actions" while living in West Seattle (they had received 10 citations in the past for unlicensed cats). The couple say the fliers are part of an ongoing effort by the Church of Scientology to silence their criticism. Scientologist Linda Clotti in Seattle denies the church is involved. Japan court backs verdict on subway cult spokesman 12:04 a.m. PST Tuesday, February 10, 1998 TOKYO, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Japan's high court on Tuesday upheld a three-year prison term for perjury and forgery imposed on the spokesman of the doomsday cult accused of carrying out a gas attack on the Tokyo subway three years ago. Tokyo High Court upheld a 1997 district court decision in finding Fumihiro Joyu, 35 guilty of conspiring with other cult members to give false testimony and forge documents in connection with a land purchase. Niimi denies AUM woman's role in '95 abduction case, 5:32 a.m. PST Tuesday, February 10, 1998 TOKYO, Feb. 10 (Kyodo) -- A senior member of the AUM Shinrikyo religious cult, testifying for the first time about the 1995 kidnapping and death of a Tokyo notary clerk, said Tuesday senior female cult member Eriko Iida had not proposed the abduction. Appearing in the trial of Iida at the Tokyo High Court, Tomomitsu Niimi disputed an account by another senior AUM member Yoshihiro Inoue that Iida made the proposal to kidnap Tokyo notary clerk Kiyoshi Kariya. The Tokyo District Court has sentenced Iida to seven years in prison for her role in the kidnapping and death of Kariya in February 1995. Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, is being tried in 17 criminal cases, including the killing of a lawyer and his family and the March 1995 lethal gas attack on Tokyo subways that killed 12 and injured thousands. "Vampire" cult leader pleads guilty to killings, Friday, February 6, 1998 7:23 a.m. TAVARES, FLA. (AP)--Rod Ferell, 17, a young man who believed murder would ``open the gates to hell'' -- pleaded guilty Thursday during opening statements, to killing the parents of one of his disciples and could get the death penalty. Ferrell admitted taking part in the slaying of Richard Wendorf and Naoma Queen, who were beaten with a crowbar in 1996 in their home in Eustis, 35 miles from Orlando. Police found a ``V'' surrounded by circular marks burned into Wendorf's body as a cult symbol. Wendorf was a native of Wausau, Wis., who moved to Florida with his mother years ago. Woman awarded $625,000 in sex suit against Ananda Church, San Jose Mercury News, Friday, February 6, 1998 8:15 a.m. REDWOOD CITY (Contra Costa)-- Anne-Marie Bertolucci was awarded $625,000 Thursday after the jury agreed with her claims that spiritual leaders of the Ananda Church of Self-Realization abused their authority and used her for sex. The jury awarded the 34-year-old woman $625,000 in compensatory damages, finding the church liable for fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent supervision of its spiritual leader, J. Donald Walters, 71, also known as Swami Kriyananda. The jury found the church was liable for $330,000, Walters for $265,000 and senior minister Daniel Levin, 42, for $30,000. The jury considers punitive damages Monday. Japanese cult rebuilding ranks and coffers, 7:30 a.m. Thursday, February 5, 1998, TOKYO (Kyodo): The AUM Shinri Kyo doomsday cult is bolstering its ranks and rebuilding its financial muscle. The cult appeared broken after the March 20, 1995, gas attack, which killed 12 people. Dozens of followers confessed to a series of crimes, membership plummeted and guru Shoko Asahara went on trial for murder. But government officials say the cult is making a comeback. More than 500 cult members are back in their communes, busy rebuilding their shattered finances through lucrative computer sales. The cult operates branch offices and is recruiting on college campuses, the report said. The cult is far from having the power it wielded at its zenith. Prior to the 1995 attack, it claimed 10,000 members in Japan and 30,000 others in Russia and had amassed a fortune from business dealings. Trial of `teenage vampire' transfixes a Florida town, Miami Herald, 9:30 a.m. Thursday, February 5, 1998 TAVARES, Fla. -- Rod Ferrell, 17, is now on trial for first-degree murder in the bludgeon slayings of the girl's parents. If he's convicted, prosecutors will seek the death penalty. Opening statements begin today. Ferrell is charged in the brutal deaths of Richard Wendorf and Naoma Queen. On Nov. 25, 1996, their beaten, broken, bloodied bodies were found in their home in Eustis, about 35 miles northwest of Orlando. Ferrell seemed airily disengaged as events unfolded in the courtroom. Showing no emotion, the supposed vampire appeared pale and anemic. He's so young, he still has acne. Ferrell does not deny being a vampire. His mother recently pleaded guilty in Kentucky to trying to seduce a 14-year-old boy during a vampire initiation rite. Cult members would take drugs and have group sex, according to a report of a psychological examination of Sondra Gibson, Ferrell's mother. Ms. Gibson was examined by a court-appointed psychologist in Christian County, Ky., after she was arrested for enticing a 14-year-old friend of Ferrell's to have sex. She pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the charge in November and was in court Wednesday. Ms. Gibson, 35, told the psychologist that members of Ferrell's vampire group gathered at her house and were abusive toward her. She said she couldn't control them and a member of the group raped her repeatedly during vampire ritual sessions. Her alleged rapist "told her that she would have to get with one of the men in the group to `cross over,' which apparently meant engaging in sex and mutually drinking each other's blood in order to become vampire," according to the report. She said she chose the man's 14-year-old brother, believing he was 18 years old. Ms. Gibson believed at the time that the vampire group had supernatural powers. She denied using any drugs, but said she believed she was drugged several times by members of the group. Other members of the cult have told police that they often drank blood and engaged in other dark ceremonies. They said Ferrell tortured animals and employed fear to control his human followers. AUM should still be monitored closely, agency says, 4:54 a.m. PST Monday, February 2, 1998 TOKYO, Feb. 2 (Kyodo) -- AUM Shinrikyo should continue to be placed under close surveillance, according to a government study released Monday. The cult has been rebuilding its organizational structure while strengthening its financial base through the operation of personal computer stores, said a study conducted by the Public Security Investigation Agency. The study said the number of AUM followers currently stands at more than 500. The study adds that a textbook used to teach followers says the world will end in 1998.

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Creation has two sides: intelligence, which is the cause of everything, and the manifestations of intelligence, which are the physical and psychological features of the everyday world. Because Transcendental Meditation directly approaches intelligence, rather than the manifestations of intelligence, it solves problems by introducing harmony and well-being at the most basic level, and not by dealing with problems themselves. That's why it is so effective.

Consider this example: The gardener supplies water to the root of a tree. That water, that nourishment, then reaches all parts of the tree - leaves, branches, flowers, fruit - through the sap. We can think of the sap as analogous to intelligence and the green leaves or yellow flowers as analogous to the manifestations of the intelligence. The leaves and flowers are the intelligence of the sap, after it has been transformed. So intelligence - like the leaves and flowers of a tree - appears as the many different forms of manifest life. Those manifestations include every aspect of existence, from the material and physiological, through the psychological, intellectual, and spiritual. All of those features of life come from transformations of intelligence. In meditation, we directly meet this essential intelligence. Therefore, we have the possibility of nourishing all of its other levels, and thus all levels of manifestation, in a way that is harmoniously related to the whole universe.

How is Transcendental Meditation different from the various other forms of meditation?

Maharishi: The basic difference is that Transcendental Meditation, in addition to its simplicity, concerns itself only with the mind. Other systems often involve some additional aspects with which the mind is associated, such as breathing or physical exercises. They can be a little complicated because they deal with so many things. But with Transcendental Meditation there is no possibility of any interference. So we say this is the all-simple program, enabling the conscious mind to fathom the whole range of its existence.

Transcendental Meditation ranges from active mind - or performing mind - to quiet mind - or resting mind. In this resting mind, one has purity and simplicity, uninvolved with anything other than the mind, uninvolved with any other practice. In Transcendental Meditation, because we deal only with the mind, we nourish all expressions of intelligence.

The mind meditates, gains Transcendental Consciousness and brings about transformation in different fields of manifestation. All fields of life, which are the expression of intelligence, are nourished or transformed and made better through experiencing Transcendental Consciousness.

The mind, of course, is always concerned with other aspects, such as the physiology of the body, the environment, and the whole universe for that matter. But since Transcendental Meditation deals only with the performance of the mind, from its active states to its settled state, it remains unconcerned with those other aspects, though it deals with them all, because intelligence deals with them all. -- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, unknown interview, copyright presumablyheld by Maharishi Vedic University, The Maharishi Foundation, or another group within the TM family.

Cults come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Categories of cults that are recruiting successfully today include:

Eastern meditation: characterized by belief in God-consciousness, becoming one with God. The leader usually distorts and Eastern-based philosophy or religion. Members sometimes learn to disregard worldly possessions and may take on an ascetic lifestyle. Techniques used: meditation, repeated mantras, altered states of consciousness, trance states.

Religious: marked by belief in salvation, afterlife, sometimes combined with an apocalyptic view. The leader reinterprets the Scriptures and often claims to be a prophet if not the messiah. Often the group is strict, sometimes using physical punishments such as paddling and birching, especially on children. Members are encouraged to spend a great deal of time proselytizing. (Note: included here are Bible-based neo-Christian and other religious cults, many considered syncretic since they combine beliefs and practices). Techniques used: speaking in tongues, chanting, praying, isolation, lengthy study sessions, many hours spent evangelizing, "struggle" (or criticism) and confession sessions.

Political, racist, terrorist: fueled by belief in changing society, revolution, overthrowing the "enemy" or getting rid of evil forces. The leader professes to be all-knowing and all-powerful. Often the group is armed and meets in secret with coded language, handshakes, and other ritualized practices. Members consider themselves an elite cadre ready to go to battle. Techniques used: paramilitary training, reporting on one another, guilt, fear, struggle sessions, instilled paranoia, long hours of indoctrination. -- Captive Hearts, Captive Minds, Lalich and Tobias, Hunter House, 1993.