Self-sacrifice: The statue of Bodhisattva Thich Quang Duc is unveiled in HCM City on Saturday. — File Photo
HCM CITY — A statue of Bodhisattva Thich Quang Duc, who immolated himself to protest repression against Buddhism by the former Sai Gon regime, was inaugurated in HCM City on Saturday.
The inauguration ceremony was organised by the HCM City's Culture Department and the municipal Buddhist Sangha to honour the venerable monk's piety, courage and patriotism.
The bronze statue is 6.3m tall and stands amidst a 2,000sq.m park at the busy intersection of Cach Mang Thang Tam and Nguyen Dinh Chieu streets, where the self-immolation took place.
Behind the statue is a 16m long, 3m high relief work depicting the patriotism displayed by both Buddhist clergy and laity in the nation's revolutionary struggles. It is surrounded by trees and a pond with blooming lotus flowers.
The model of the statue was selected after a competition launched in 2007, and the park was designed by the HCM City Architects Association headed by Truong Luu.
At midday on June 11, 1963, the Most Venerable Thich Quang Duc took a ride in a car to the corner of Phan Dinh Phung and Le Van Duyet streets in central Sai Gon (now Nguyen Dinh Chieu and Cach Mang Thang Tam streets). Pouring petrol over himself, he sat in the middle of the junction, struck a match and immolated himself.
The Most Venerable Thich Quang Duc, whose lay name was Lam Van Tuc, was born in 1897 in a small village in a province in central Viet Nam.
In 1963, after four years of increasing oppression by the US-backed Ngo Dinh Diem administration towards Buddhist priests and the Buddhist community, he decided to sacrifice himself to highlight Buddhist demands for religious equality in South Viet Nam.
The self-sacrifice captured the imagination and admiration of millions around the world, and gave added impetus to the nation's reunification struggle. — VNS