The Shocking Act Of Self Immolation

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The startling act of self-immolation was witnessed during the Vietnam War in the 1960’s and early 1970’s when Buddhist monks and nuns, in efforts of protesting political oppression, publicly set themselves on fire. Unfortunately, recent and similar instances are being reported in Tibet. Certainly, there are specific motivations for the self-immolation. Ultimately, these acts of self-immolation are gaining media attention in the West as a result of the extreme nature of these protests. Furthermore, the question of whether or not the act of self-immolation is in accordance with Buddhist teachings on non-violence is highly debatable. The Vietnam War made for a rather tense and stressful time and these feelings were certainly expressed through the self-immolation of some Buddhist monks and nuns. Self-immolation is defined as, “voluntary sacrifice or denial of oneself, as for an ideal or another person” ( In reference to the circumstances in which self-immolation occurred during the Vietnam War, it is stated, “Under the communist regime that has ruled the reunited country since 1975, conditions have been difficult” (Reynolds). While the Buddhist protestors had tried to produce positive political change and alleviate the hardships brought about by the war, their efforts were relatively unsuccessful. This lack of advancement propelled the Buddhist monk and nun protestors to more extreme measures. In efforts to bring global attention to the political turmoil, a

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