Lâm Văn Túc was a Vietnamese monk who protested against the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government.  During a protest on 11 June 1963, he placed a cushion on a busy Saigon road and sat calmly in a lotus position while a colleague emptied the contents of a gas can over his head and lit a match.


The scene was described by David Halberstam of The New York Times who witnessed the event. Flames were coming from a human being; his body was slowly withering and shriveling up, his head blackening and charring. In the air was the smell of burning human flesh; human beings burn surprisingly quickly. Behind me I could hear the sobbing of the Vietnamese who were now gathering. I was too shocked to cry, too confused to take notes or ask questions, too bewildered to even think … As he burned he never moved a muscle, never uttered a sound, his outward composure in sharp contrast to the wailing people around him.