Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Peace in the middle of the fire.

Thích Quảng Đức was a Vietnamese Buddhist priest who set himself on fire as protest against the abuse of Buddhists by the government. This singular act was seen as the pivotal point that ultimately toppled the then-reigning regime.

But that is not my main point in writing about him. I'd like to mention what journalist David Halberstam wrote after witnessing the event:

I was to see that sight again, but once was enough. Flames were coming from a human being; his body was slowly withering and shriveling up, his head blackening and charring. In the air was the smell of burning human flesh; human beings burn surprisingly quickly. Behind me I could hear the sobbing of the Vietnamese who were now gathering. I was too shocked to cry, too confused to take notes or ask questions, too bewildered to even think... As he burned he never moved a muscle, never uttered a sound, his outward composure in sharp contrast to the wailing people around him.

This is courage. You have to wonder how he endured that until the very end.

I oftentimes quit some endeavors even though I haven't poured out all my effort into them. Sometimes I feel I lack guts, or the determination to press on. I can learn some things from Thích Quảng Đức.

(img from Wikipedia)
blog comments powered by Disqus