Aumism

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Mandarom, seen from the other side of Castillon Lake

Aumism is a minor religious sect founded in 1969 by Gilbert Bourdin (1924-1998). Centered on the "holy city" of Mandarom, near Castellane in the French Alps, it has approximately 400 members, down from 1200 at its peak. It is a synthesis of a number of religions, notably buddhism. Its name derives from the mystical "aum" sound used in Hindu meditation.

Bourdin[edit]

Gilbert Bourdin (1924-1998), also known as Hamsah Manarah self-proclaimed "Cosmoplanetary Messiah of Synthesis" founded the movement in 1969 after immersing himself in many oriental religions.

Mandarom[edit]

The holy city of Mandarom Shambhasalem was founded in 1969, about 50 kilometres northwest of Cannes. Bourdin progressively built a number of temples and statues. Amongst these is a 22 metre statue of Buddha Maitreya, constructed in 1981, and a 21 metre statue of "Cosmic Christ" wielding a sword and shield, constructed in 1987. In 1990, a 33 metre statue of Bourdin was constructed at Mandarom. The legitimacy of the building permit was later challenged, and eventually, in June 2000, the statue was deemed illegal after a long legal dispute.[1] As a result, it was demolished by the authorities on 6 September 2001.[1][2][3] The sect denounced the demolition of Bourdin's statue, saying that it was comparable to the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamyan by the Taliban in Afghanistan earlier in the year.[1][3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "French guru crashes to earth", BBC News, 6 September 2001.
  2. ^ Thierry Boinet, "Statue of Cult Leader Destroyed", Associated Press (WorldWide Religious News), 6 September 2001.
  3. ^ a b Pierre Thebault, "'Cosmoplanetary' French statue plunges to earth", Reuters (WorldWide Religious News), 6 September 2001.

External links[edit]