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In June of 1963, Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức burned himself to death at a busy intersection in Saigon. The self-immolation was done in response to the persecution of Buddhists by South Vietnam’s Ngo Dinh Diem administration. The Catholic regime had cracked down on practicing Buddhists by banning the flying of the traditional Buddhist flag; prohibiting Buddhists from exercising the same religious freedoms as Catholics; and the continued detainment of Buddhist monks and nuns — a moment referred to as The Buddhist Crisis.

 As he was consumed by flames he never moved a muscle, never uttered a sound, never showed emotion or pain. His demeanor did not change, and he eventually collapsed. 

Self-immolation as a form of peaceful protest has been used 23 times this year alone, and is seen as the ultimate political protest among Buddhist monks.

This post is posted on Monday 20 February 2012.
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