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Is Self Immolation necessary?

by Aik Theng Chong, Singapore, The Buddhist Channel, July 11, 2010

I refer to your article of 7 July 2010 on the self immolation of the Ven. Moonsu.

The twenty-third chapter of the Lotus Sutra recount the Bodhisattva Medicine King demonstrating his insight into the selfless nature of his body by ritualistically setting his body aflame. This unfortunately seems to serve as the main inspiration for monks and nuns to carry out self immolation to highlight on issues they feel very concern on.

Does these Venerables need to take such extremes measures on causes they feel so strongly about?

After all, the Lord Buddha also teaches us moderation in all our action, speech and mind. Even the first Buddhist precept of ‘Do not Kill’ should includes the self as well. All lives are precious especially when born as a human.

If they feel so strongly on certain cause to such an extent that they are even prepare to sacrifice themselves, then they should have shown more resolve and patience and devoted the rest of their life to achieving their aims instead of needlessly taking their own life.

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