The Heart that would not Burn 

In 1963,  Thich Quang Duc “burned himself to death as a protest to the South Vietnamese Diem regime’s discriminatory Buddhist laws. He hoped to show that to fight all form of oppression, a sacrifice must be made.”

Quang Duc’s body was re-cremated at his funeral. “His heart did not burn and remained intact. It was considered to be holy so they placed it in a glass chalice at Xa Loi Pagoda. The heart became a symbol of compassion.”

How the offering happened

When the time came, ” … one Monk placed a cushion on the road, while the other took out a five-gallon petrol can from the trunk of the car.

“Duc rotated a string of wooden prayer beads, recited the words “Nam mô A di đà Phật” (homage to Amithabha Buddha), stroked a match and dropped it on himself.”

“As he burned he never moved a muscle, never uttered a sound, his outward composure in sharp contrast to the wailing people around him.”

— David Halberstam


“Discontent erupted in early May of the year when Buddhists were banned from flying the Buddhist flag during Vesak, the celebration of Gautama Buddha’s birthday. A large crowd of Buddhists defied the government and proceed on flying Buddhist flags during Vesak and marched on the government broadcasting station with their flags. Government forces fired on them, killing 9 protesters.”


Information, including direct quotes, is from “The Story Behind the Burning Monk, 1963”
By John Titor | May 11, 2016