World: THE FAITH THAT LIGHTS THE FIRES

THE readiness of South Viet Nam's Buddhist monks and nuns to burn themselves to death as a means of protest against the government both moves and repels the West. On the surface, it seems an odd phenomenon in a religion generally regarded as passive, gentle and full of reverence for life. The paradox is caused by the fact that Buddhism, though detached and otherworldly, can at times convulse itself into action, and that its view of life as transitional can lead to an almost indifferent embrace of death. Self-immolation is not merely a sit-in...

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