The Vietnamese monk,
Thich Nhat Hahn, said,”To burn oneself
By fire is to prove that what one is saying
Is of the utmost importance.”

If you can endure the most hellish pain there is
– That of being burnt alive –
While you request that the US call it a day
After killing four million
Of your fellow countrymen
In South East Asia,
Or while you entreat the Chinese to leave Tibet
And travel back to their own country,
Or while you are praying for the Dalai Lama
To return so you may hear his laughter
Echoing through the mountains
– Then it should be obvious
That you mean business:

You’re prepared to die
To get your message across
Although you attach no importance
To your own individual life
Because life goes on forever.


A Buddhist nun sits cross-legged
Then she anoints herself with volatile liquid
And takes out a match and says,

“Lord Buddha,
Help us to avoid engaging ourselves more
In mutual slaughter because of the will of others
To power and to predominance.”

Then the match is lit.


Heathcote Williams

Graphic: Mike Lesser



By Heathcote Williams

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