June 11: 50 years ago today, a Buddhist monk named Thich Quang Duc calmly sat down in the middle of a street in South Vietnam in front of the Cambodian Embassy, while a fellow monk poured gasoline over his head. A moment later, he set himself on fire.
He was protesting the systemic religious discrimination against Buddhists by the Roman Catholic regime of dictator Ngo Dinh Diem. Although Catholics were very much a minority in the country, they enjoyed majority status and privileges. Buddhists were not allowed to practice their religion in public, serve in the army, and were routinely discriminated against.[Via Death and Taxes]
On the occasion of Martin Luther King Day, it’s worth reading the letter he wrote to the Nobel Peace Prize committee, nominating the Buddhist monk-activist, Thich Hnat Hanh:
… Read more »
1967 25, January
The Nobel Institute
As the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate of 1964, I now have the pleasure of proposing to you the name of Thich Nhat Hanh for that award in 1967. I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize than this gentle Buddhist monk from Vietnam.
This would be a notably auspicious year for you to bestow your Prize on the Venerable Nhat Hanh. Here is an apostle of peace and non-violence, cruelly
Mariah Jen: The beating and arrest of at least 30 peaceful Falun Gong demonstrators outside the Chinese embassy in Hanoi yesterday is an unacceptable violation of freedom of expression, Amnesty International said today.
The demonstrators were protesting the trial and mistreatment of two local Falun Gong broadcasters, Vu Duc Trung (right, wearing white shirt)) and Le Van Thanh (behind, center), who had worked for the movement’s radio station The Sound of Hope. The trial of Vu and Le is due to take place on Thursday.
“The repression of these Falun Gong practitioners by the Vietnamese authorities is a violation of their rights to freedom …
Followers of a world-famous Buddhist teacher who were forced out of a Vietnamese monastery over the weekend have taken refuge at a nearby pagoda, but they say they have once again been surrounded by police.
The monks’ ongoing standoff with Vietnamese authorities has tested the communist country’s sometimes edgy relationship with religion, which the government views as a potential rival power structure. The government closely monitors all churches in the country.
The Buddhists say the police are now pressuring them to leave the Phuoc Hue pagoda in Lam Dong province, even though local officials of the state-sanctioned Buddhist Church of Vietnam have welcomed them to stay.
The 376 monks and nuns are followers of Thich … Read more »