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Inciting self-immolation is extreme crime: Buddhist master
2013/01/09

Inciting self-immolation is an extreme crime and runs against Buddhist doctrine, a Buddhist master has said, while advising followers to "discern good and evil."

Committing suicide or goading others to do so violates Buddhist tenets of mercy and compassion, said Chuan Yin, president of the Buddhist Association of China, at a seminar with personages from different Buddhist circles in southwest China's Yunnan Province on Wednesday.

While feeling "deep sorrow" for people who were deceived into setting themselves alight, he condemned those who incited others to self-immolate.

He advised Buddhists to promote good teachings, defeat evils and "not to be duped," adding, "A single slip may cause lasting sorrow."

According to media reports, several self-immolations have occurred recently in Tibetan-inhabited regions in west China's Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu provinces bordering Tibet. These were due to others' incitement, instigation and coercion, according to the master.

The self-immolators include both monks and lay people, which "makes me extremely sorrowful and regretful," the eminent monk said.

Buddhist doctrine opposes killing and suicide and it preaches protecting lives, he said, stressing, "Buddha explicitly bans and scolds suicides."

The belief that self-immolations do not violate Buddhist doctrine is "completely ungrounded," said Chuan Yin, who instead described inducing, encouraging or even praising suicides as "an extremely severe crime."

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