Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Self-immolation, suicide bombing and Dharma

Here is an interesting article which begins to explore and compare these different forms of political actions, and also shows significant Dharma practice connections. Please note that this is only a start in exploring these forms, but it is a good start in showing some of the roots, the differences and similarities.

For an excellent and extensive study of self-immolation as Buddhist practice, which will challenge, shake-up and broaden many of your conceptions about Buddhism, see:

Burning for the Buddha:  self-immolation in Chinese Buddhism

Front Cover

"Burning for the Buddha: Self-Immolation in Chinese Buddhism is the first book-length study of the theory and practice of "abandoning the body" (self-immolation) in Chinese Buddhism. Although largely ignored by conventional scholarship, the acts of self-immolators (which included not only burning the body but also being devoured by wild animals, drowning oneself, and self-mummification, among others) form an enduring part of the religious tradition and provide a new perspective on the multifarious dimensions of Buddhist practice in China from the early medieval period to the present time. This book examines the hagiographical accounts of all those who made offerings of their own bodies and places them in historical, social, cultural, and doctrinal context."