Thanks for raising this subject. Actually, I too was thinking of Venerable Thich Quang Duc's act today.
To be honest with you, while I revere Venerable, his self-immolation is an act that I have trouble reconciling. Whether, as you said, killing oneself in that way is wholesome and, whether Venerable's equanimity was genuine or was based on deeper and subtle aversion.
And being mere putthujanas and without knowledge of the state of mind of Venerable, it might be hard to really do anything other than rationalise the act according to our own predelictions. But its worth having a go.
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725
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