A Mind of Compassion

Abby Zimet

Fifty years ago today, in what has been described as a revolution ignited by a single match, a 66-year-old Buddhist monk named Thich Quang Duc sat down calmly in the lotus position in a busy intersection in Saigon and lit himself on fire. The first and most famous public self-immolation was to protest the US-backed South Vietnamese Ngo Dinh Diệm's Catholic Government’s repression of Buddhists. Ultimately, this one act helped lead to the toppling of Diệm, and all that followed. Video of the event is horrifying, but in the words of one observer, sometimes - think of our wars- we need to be horrified.

Thich Quang Duc’s last words in a letter:


Never Miss a Beat.

Get our best delivered to your inbox.

“Before closing my eyes and moving towards the vision of the Buddha, I respectfully plead to President Ngo Dinh Diem to take a mind of compassion towards the people of the nation and implement religious equality to maintain the strength of the homeland eternally. I call the venerables, reverends, members of the Sangha and the lay Buddhists to organise in solidarity to make sacrifices to protect Buddhism.”

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news outlet. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Won't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Share This Article

More in: