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Myanmar Monks March for Freedom

The bravery and boldness of Buddhist monks displays the hard edge of spirituality.

One of the most startling images from the Viet Nam war was the self-immolation of Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc. On June 11, 1963, the monk burned himself to death at a busy Saigon intersection. (You can see Malcolm Brown's famous news photo here and read part of David Halberstam's eyewitness report for the New York Times halfway through this Wikipedia article.)

Thich Quang Duc was protesting the anti-Buddhist discrimination of Ngo Dinh Diem's regime. But the disturbing image of his sacrifice seared itself into the brains of people around the globe. At the time, I didn't understand the logic of self-immolation, but I was deeply moved.

Today Buddhist monks are once again taking to the streets of a South Asian nation, risking their bodies in nonviolent protest against an oppressive regime. This time the country is Myanmar (or Burma, as most Americans still refer to it).

This morning, the AP reported from Yangon (Rangoon):

Soldiers in Myanmar pounded down on dissenters Friday ...
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