Thich Quang Duc Memorial

Anyone crossing the green park at the crossroads of Cach Mang Thang Tam and Nguyen Dinh Chieu Streets impressed by a huge statue of a monk sitting calmly in a fire. There is a story hidden behind the statue and this patriotic monk. Let learn about the Thich Quang Duc Memorial which is a brilliant gem in Ho Chi Minh City.

Location

298 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City. Click to view on Google Map. Thich Quang Duc Memorial (Thich Quang Duc Monument) is surrounded by Cach Mang Thang Tam, Nguyen Dinh Chieu and Ho Xuan Huong Streets.

The self-immolation of Bodhisattva Thich Quang Duc

John F. Kennedy once said: “No new picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as that one”. He mentioned the fact that the patriotic Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc self-immolated at the crossroad of Phan Dinh Phung and Le Van Duyet Streets on 11th June 1963. He aimed to protest to Diem’s South Vietnamese regime and its persecution of Buddhists, arresting many Buddhist faithful and ransacking pagodas to advance agenda of country’s Catholic minority.

Ho Chi Minh City Unseen Tour by Motorbike

The self-immolation of Thich Quang Duc was on front pages of most of the newspapers in the world. Even foreigners who had never known about Vietnam knew about this small country through the act of the brave monk. The photo of Thich Quang Duc burning himself by Journalist Malcolm Browne won the World Press Photo of the year 1963. President Ngo Dinh Diem and his government changed the policies, the burning led to a chain reaction. Thich Quang Duc monk has been elevated to the status of a Boddhisattva (Bo Tat) – an enlightened person who forgoes Nirvana to save others. His unburnt heart, also called Xá Lợi (Śarīra) is worshipped in the tower of Viet Nam Quoc Tu Pagoda.

Thich Quang Duc Burned Himselt To Death

Thich Quang Duc was immolating himself

Thien Mu Pagoda houses the car which Thich Quang Duc drove to the place where he self-immolated

The car which Thich Quang Duc drove to the place where he self-immolated is kept at Thien Mu Pagoda

History of the memorial

Venerable Thich Quang Duc Stupa

After Thich Quang Duc died, Buddhists built a tower in the grounds of Embassy of Cambodia, at the crossroads of Cach Mang Thang Tam Street (called Le Van Duyet Street at that time) and Ho Xuan Huong Street to commemorate him. The tower is called Tháp Mộ Venerable Thich Quang Duc Stupa. The stupa has 2 pink and green tiled octagonal roofs with fire decoration around them. A lotus is placed on the top of the stupa. Carvings of Thich Quang Duc calmly sitting in the fire and the pink lotus are impressive parts of the corner.

The stupa is in the middle of a tiny garden with a few green trees providing shape, incense burner. The garden is surrounded by the green and yellow fence in the old Saigon style and the gate with steel doors and 2 pillars. 2 lines “Vì Đạo Thiêu Thân Vạn Hùng Uy Thiên Như Ý Nguyện” (Self-immolation for Buddhism, mighty and strong, Sky made it as purpose) and “Lưu Danh Bất Tử Bá Niên Chánh Khí Địa Sơn Hà” (Remembered, immortal, one hundred of year, righteous, earth mountain river) are engraved on 2 gate pillars.

Venerable Thich Quang Duc Stupa

Venerable Thich Quang Duc Stupa under the shade of green trees

Thich Quang Duc Memorial

On 6th November 2007, the ceremony to start the construction of the Thich Quang Duc Monument was organized solemnly at 70 – 72 Cach Mang Thang Tam, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City where the Buddhist monk self-immolated in 1963.

On 18th September 2010, the Thich Quang Duc Memorial was inaugurated. The memorial covers an area of 1,850 m2 and has dozens of green trees and small lotus ponds. Located in the center of the green space, a statue illustrates the determination and resilience of one human being who has become a Boddhisattva and a hero of the country. The relief tells history and story about the protest against South Vietnam’s regime and the action of Thich Quang Duc.

Thich Quang Duc Memorial

Thich Quang Duc Memorial with the statue of Boddhisattva Thich Quang Duc in the center, altar, incense burner, a large-scale relief behind the statue, green trees and small ponds of lotuses

Statue of Bodhisattva Thich Quang Duc

The center of the memorial is the statue of Thich Quang Duc was designed by the sculptor Vo Cong Thang who won the art competition “Thich Quang Duc statue and reliefs”. Mr. Banjerd Lekkong, known as “the golden hand of Thailand” made this statue from bronze, the frame of the statue is made from steel.

This statue of Thich Quang Duc is approximately 6 meters high, 12 tons weigh and has a diameter of about 4.5 meters. Thich Quang Duc was made to be calm and unconquerable in the fierce fire by the talented sculptor. He sits on a lotus and a round pedestal on which written “Bồ Tát Thích Quảng Đức 1897 – 1963” (Bodhisattva Thich Quang Duc 1897 – 1963).

The pedestal and statue are placed on a about 1-m high round stone station with lotus flower pattern. They installed a system of lights to illuminate the statue at night.

The altar in front of the station is always full of flowers offered by Buddhists, Saigon people and visitors. Candles that never stop burning is similar to the fire in the patriotic monk, his love for the nation and Buddha. Incenses and kerosine lamps are always available. Visitors are free to burn incenses place them in the big incense burner in front of the altar.

Thich Quang Duc Memorial

Thich Quang Duc Memorial

The steel frame of Thich Quang Duc statue

The steel frame of Thich Quang Duc statue

Thich Quang Duc statue pedestal

The pedestal for Thich Quang Duc statue

Thich Quang Duc statue on a lotus - Thich Quang Duc memorial

Thich Quang Duc statue on a lotus

The round station was made from stone and concrete. There is a lighting system on the top of the station

The round station was made from stone and concrete. There is a lighting system on the top of the station

The illuminated statue of Thich Quang Duc become stunning at night - Thich Quang Duc Memorial

The illuminated statue of Thich Quan Duc become stunning at night

The relief

The curved staircase leads to the 16 m long, 3 m high relief behind the statue – an impressive one at the memorial. The relief illustrates the story of Thich Quang Duc, Buddhism and the nation in the Vietnam War.

see lines of monks and Buddhists sitting on their knees and standing, praying while looking at burning monk Thich Quang Duc. On the right is the scene of Saigon people including women and the elderly fighting for nationality, Buddhism, and peace.

The curved staircase leads to the relief

The curved staircase leads to the large-scale relief

Relief at Thich Quang Duc Memorial

The forces of South Vietnamese Army of the Republic hit Buddhist monks and civilians including women on Vesak – Buddha’s birthday in Hue. A pollice held a woman on her hand and hit her because she joined the march and raised flowers (lotus). The other polices tore religious flags which were flied by Buddhist and monks on the day.

Relief at Thich Quang Duc Memorial

The crowd raised banners on which written “Phật giáo đồ quyết tâm bảo vệ chính pháp” (Buddhists resolve to protect the principle), “Kính mừng Phật Đản” (Greeting the Buddha’s Birthday), “Phản đối chính sách bất công chúng tôi không từ chối sự hy sinh” (Oppose unfair policies we do not refuse sacrifice), “Phật giáo bất diệt” (Immortal Buddhism). The police officers and armed forces shot people in the march down.

Relief at Thich Quang Duc Memorial

Buddhist monks prayed while Thich Quang Duc monk self-immolated next to his car.

Relief at Thich Quang Duc Memorial

Buddhist monks, Buddhists and civilians grab their hands, pray for Thich Quang Duc and Buddhism. The banners said “Chúng tôi đòi thi hành đúng” (We demand action properly), “Phản đối bất công” (Protests against inequality), “Hãy chấm dứt mọi hình thức khủng bố và áp bức Phật giáo đồ” (Stop all forms of terrorizing and suppressing Buddhists)

Relief at Thich Quang Duc Memorial

Buddhists and monks celebrates Vesak in peace

Garden

The memorial has nearly 1,850 square meter garden with lotus pond, walking paths, green trees and grass. The species of trees in the garden include Areca Catechu (cau hương), Roystonea regia (cau vua), Plumeria (cây hoa sứ), Wrightia religiosa (mai chiếu thủy), Banian (cây đa)

Thich Quang Duc Memorial Park Tracy

Thich Quang Duc Memorial with a green park, two stone boards providing information about the memorial and Thich Quang Duc

Roystonea regia (cau vua) at Thich Quang Duc Memorial

Roystonea regia (cau vua)

Plumeria (cây hoa sứ) at Thich Quang Duc Memorial

Lines of Plumeria (cây hoa sứ) and pictures, stories about Buddha

Symbols of Vietnamese beauty

Tour guide and kids enjoy lotus flowers at Thich Quang Duc Memorial on a motorcycle tour

Old banian (cây đa)

Old Banian tree (cây đa)

The garden and statue at Thich Quang Duc Memorial were decorated fancifully on Vesak in 2018

The garden and statue were decorated fancifully on Vesak in 2018

Multicolor lotuses illuminated with ellectric lights were placed on green grass

Multicolor lotuses illuminated with ellectric lights were placed on green grass

A Hidden Gems

Thich Quang Duc Memorial has become a favorite place of Saigon people for taking a rest, calming themselves, breathing in fresh air, praying for good luck and happiness. As mentioned above, visitors can burn the incenses and insert them into the large burners in front of the statue to show the respect to Thich Quang Duc.

Today, Thich Quang Duc Memorial is more and more famous with tourists thanks to the green space, the heart-broken story about the patriotic Buddhist monk, the unique statue and relief. Travelers can go to the memorial themselves or book a tour including a stop at the attraction.

If you would like to drive around Saigon and see iconic sights of the city and listen to history, do not hesitate to book a Ho Chi Minh motorbike tour with Tracy’s team. The Thich Quang Duc memorial will be one of the destinations.

You might like this:

Saigon Street food tour by night

Saigon sightseeing and local street food tour

Saigon in contrast

Leave a Reply