The story of the Buddhist that set himself on fire to prove a point to his country's government.


In June of 1963, Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk Thích Quang Duc immolated himself at a busy intersection in Saigon. Quảng Đức was protesting the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government led by Ngô Đình Diệm.

in particular, this was response to the ban of the Buddhist flag, just 2 days after Diem had held a very public ceremony displaying crosses; earlier in his rule he had dedicated Vietnam to Jesus and the Catholic Church.

The growing resentment of Buddhists under Diem was one of the underlying issues of South Vietnam, and eventually led to a coup to put in place a leader who would not alienate Buddhists, who made up 70-90% of Vietnam’s population.

Duc emerged from a car with two other monks. One placed a cushion on the road while the second opened the trunk and took out a five-gallon petrol can. As the marchers formed a circle around him, Duc calmly sat down in the traditional Buddhist meditative position on the cushion.

A colleague poured the content of the container over his head. Duc rotated a string of wooden prayer beads and recited the words Nam mô A di đà Phật (“homage to Amitābha Buddha“) before lighting himself. Black oily smoke emanated from his burning body as people watch in shock.

John F. Kennedy said in reference to a photograph of Duc on fire: “No news picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as that one”. Photographer Malcolm Browne won a Pulitzer Prize for his photograph of the monk’s death.

Quảng Đức’s act increased international pressure on Diệm and led him to announce reforms with the intention of mollifying the Buddhists. However, the promised reforms were not implemented, leading to a deterioration in the dispute.

As protests continued, the ARVN Special Forces loyal to Diệm’s brother, Ngô Đình Nhu, launched nationwide raids on Buddhist pagodas, seizing Quảng Đức’s preserved heart and causing deaths and widespread damage.

several Buddhist monks followed Quảng Đức’s example, also immolating themselves. Eventually, a U.S-backed Army coup toppled Diệm, who was assassinated on 2nd November 1963.


[COLOR=rgb(40, 50, 78)]Matyrdom protesting the Catholic, how lovely

this guy is one of my major inspirations