Thích Trí Quang


Thích Trí Quang (21 December 1923 – 8 November 2019) was a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk best known for his role in leading South Vietnam‘s Buddhist population during the Buddhist crisis in 1963, and in later Buddhist protests against subsequent South Vietnamese military regimes until the Buddhist Uprising of 1966 was crushed. Thích Trí Quang’s 1963 campaign, in which he exhorted followers to emulate the example of Mahatma Gandhi, saw widespread demonstrations against the government of President Ngô Đình Diệm which, due to the influence of both Diệm’s elder brother, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Huế, Pierre Martin Ngô Đình Thục, mistreated and persecuted the Buddhist majority. The suppression of Buddhists’ civil rights and violent crackdowns on demonstrations, along with the self-immolation of at least five Buddhist monks led to a US-backed military coup in November 1963 in which Diệm and Nhu were deposed and assassinated. From 1964 onwards, Thích Trí Quang was prominent in Buddhist-dominated demonstrations against the military junta of Nguyen Khanh, accusing the general of authoritarianism and not doing enough to remove Diem supporters from positions of power, and then being prominent in protests against the junta of Air Marshal Nguyen Cao Ky, who had fired the pro-Buddhist General Nguyen Chanh Thi from his post in central Vietnam, a Buddhist stronghold. The civil unrest lasted for three months until Ky militarily crushed the Buddhist activists, ending their influence over South Vietnamese politics. Thich Tri Quang was put under house arrest and spent most of the remainder of his life writing and translating Buddhist texts. … In May, Thích Trí Quang went on a hunger strike, denouncing American support for the Kỳ-Thiệu junta, which he viewed as inappropriate interference in domestic affairs. After government forces moved into the streets of Huế, Thích Trí Quang responded to the situation by calling on Buddhists to place their altars onto the street to block the junta’s troops and military vehicles. … Thich Tri Quang later relented and allowed a few hours a day for such traffic. He then penned a letter accusing the US of ‘imperialism’ and went on a hunger strike, until he was eventually ordered to stop in September by the Buddhist patriarch Thich Tinh Khiet. …”
Wikipedia
[PDF] WIN Vol. 4, No. 10 June 1, 1968 – FAU Digital Library
NY Times: Thich Tri Quang, 95, Galvanizing Monk in South Vietnam, Dies

Saigon, South Vietnam – South Vietnam’s most powerful Buddhist leader, Thich Tri Quang (L) arose out of three years of obscurity 3/31 to demand the ouster of President Thieu. Tri Quang led a demonstration of monks, clerics, and laymen from an Quan Pagoda under manners demanding that Thieu resign. Tri Quang was credited for the overthrow of late President Ngo Dinh Diem in November, 1963.

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