from the series There Is More to This Life

I have been haunted by this image since I first glimpsed it on a Rage Against the Machine album cover.  Until then it was merely a story of some sacrificing monk who doused himself in gasoline and self-immolated in protest of the Vietnam War.  It wasn't until much later, when the !Armageddon Prevention Team began using the image for performances and video, that I returned to the image--and found that it carried a certain visceral power.  By this time I had studied Buddhism, meditation, Zen, and my perspective on this monk, Thich Quang Duc, had shifted.  The manner in which he remains sitting so calmly and serenely during his death demonstrates that he had so clearly transcended any suffering of the body. I began thinking it was less of a martyrdom and more the utter conviction and confidence that the skin-encapsulated ego is not the totality of existence, that beyond this life, there is more.

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