Holy Heretic Devotional – March 15, 2017-Sheroes and Heroes

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Compiled by Holy Heretic/ Freelance Agent Benjamin Foster

“Before closing my eyes to Buddha, I respectfully plead to President Ngo Dinh Diem, asking him to be kind and tolerant toward his people and to enforce a policy of religious equality.” -Thich Quang Duc

Thich Quang Duc was born Lam Van Tuc in the village of Hoi Khanh in central Vietnam in 1897. Though the date of Thich Quang Duc’s birth is unknown, history would forever retain the date of his death, June 11th 1963. It would be on this date; at a busy intersection in the heart of Saigon, that Thich Quang Duc would burn himself to death in protest of the persecution of Buddhists under the rule of the South Vietnamese government. Quang Duc’s act of self immolation would increase pressure on the fascist state and eventually result in leader Ngo Dihn Diem announcing reforms in the militarized regime and attempts to pacify the Buddhist population. Malcolm Brown would win a Pulitzer Prize for his photographic journaling of the incident and upon seeing the photos, then president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, would remark “No news picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as that one.”

However, Thich Quang Duc’s life would have been a historic one, spiritually speaking, regardless of his final acts of martyrdom for his beliefs. The seventh of seven children, at the age of seven, Lam Van Tuc left his home to study Buddhism under his maternal uncle and spiritual master. At the age of 15 Lam Van Tuc would take the novice vows and was ordained a monk under the Dharma name of Thich Quang Duc. Living as a hermit for most of his young life, Thich Quang Duc would go on to become the Abbot of the Phuroc Hoa pagoda, as well as Chairman of the Panel on Ceremonial Rites of the Congregation of Vietnamese Monks. Though Thich Quang Duc lived a life of peace, prayer, and meditation, it is easy to see how his convictions would have led him to the decisions made on that June day in 1963.The image of his death would go on to inspire revolutionaries, protesters, and civil rights leaders for decades to come.

Daily Action: We talk a lot about the sacrifices made by renowned revolutionaries and people’s of faith but it is important to remember that change is sustained by the everyday actions taken by less than renowned revolutionaries and people’s of faith, just like you and me. While your sacrifices don’t have to be on the same level as Thich Quang Duc’s, today consider what you can do to expose oppression and injustice.

Daily Sharing: Share just how you plan to further expose and bring to light acts of injustices and oppression with us and the community at facebook.com/holyhereticzine.


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