As reported by the Democratic Voice of Burma Ashin Wirathu has dismissed rumours on social media that he intends to perform a self-immolation if the proposed ‘Race Protection Laws‘ are not adopted in Burma by the end of November. Reports circulated that the controversial monk would douse himself in petrol and set himself on fire on Decmber 2nd if the laws were not adopted.
Acts of self sacrifice have a long history in Buddhism, going back to the Jatakas. The most famous Buddhist self-immolation in the textual tradition is perhaps that of Bhaishajyaraja in the Lotus Sutra (Saddharmapuṇḍarīka Sūtra). The most notable image is that of Thích Quảng Đức as a protest against the war in Vietnam.
Ashin Wirathu commented on the rumours ‘I did not say that or made any written statement about it – I have rejected these rumours on my social media pages.’ His comments were said to be made at a meeting of the Burma Race and Religion Protection Organisation.