Perfume River cruise to the Thien Mu Pagoda and royal mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc

Perfume River cruise to the Thien Mu Pagoda and royal mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc

Among the more traditional artifacts housed at Thien Mu Pagoda on Hue’s Perfumed River, the steel and curves of a small blue car is the most incongruous and perhaps most confronting element of your Perfume River cruise. On June 11, 1963 Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc alighted from its interior and assumed the lotus position in the middle of a busy Saigon intersection. With the help of two other monks who had driven him, he poured gasoline over his body and proceeded self-immolate. Images of his extreme act of protest was broadcast around the world and is seared into the era’s collective memory, after which it was attached to several causes and ideals. The monk was particularly concerned with the then government’s persecution of Buddhists, but since then he has become a hero in Vietnam for all manner of reasons. Legend has it that his heart was the only thing that did not burn in the flames and it is now housed at the Reserve Bank of Vietnam.

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