Yes, the event we are referring to is the self-immolation of Thích Quảng Đức, a Buddhist monk, on June 11, 1963, in Saigon, South Vietnam (now Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam). Thích Quảng Đức’s act of self-immolation was a powerful and iconic form of protest against the religious and political oppression faced by Buddhists under the rule of the South Vietnamese government at that time.
Thích Quảng Đức was a member of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and belonged to the Vietnamese Buddhist organization known as the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam. The government, led by President Ngô Đình Diệm, primarily favored Roman Catholicism and imposed various restrictions on Buddhist practices and institutions.
In response to these discriminatory policies, Buddhist monks and nuns launched a campaign of civil disobedience and nonviolent protests. Thích Quảng Đức’s self-immolation was an extreme act of sacrifice and resistance. He calmly sat in the lotus position at a busy intersection in Saigon while fellow monks doused him in gasoline. As he set himself on fire, he remained remarkably still and silent, demonstrating a deep state of meditation.
The photographs of Thích Quảng Đức’s self-immolation spread worldwide and sparked outrage, drawing attention to the situation in South Vietnam. The act became a turning point in the Buddhist struggle for religious equality and freedom. It also brought international scrutiny and condemnation upon the South Vietnamese government.
The self-immolation of Thích Quảng Đức symbolized the depth of Buddhist conviction and their commitment to nonviolence. It remains a significant event in history, highlighting the power of peaceful resistance and the struggle for human rights and religious freedom.