When we were researching Sinxay in Laos we had the honor to meet with the most Venerable Phong Samaleuk, the President of the Lao Buddhist Fellowship Organization at Wat Ong Teu in Vientiane. When we met with in in 2011 he was already 96 years old, and although hard of hearing, he was eager to talk about Sinxay. You can see the photo above that we took of the most Venerable Phong Samleuk after our interview.
We learned last week that he died two weeks ago on October 15, in Vientiane. Luckily, because we’re still in the midst of submitting the interior for a second proof, we were able to add a short dedication to the most Venerable Phong. You can see that page in the photo below that features an illustration of Sinxay by Nick Bowen, one of three artists who drew illustrations for our book.
When we were researching Sinxay in Laos and Isan we discovered most of the older monks were familiar with Sinxay, while almost all of the younger monks knew nothing. I guess it was fitting that the most Venerable Phong was so passionate about Sinxay, more than willing to share his thoughts on the importance of Sinxay. As it is with most books, while we have extensive notes from our interview, we actually included only a little of what he told us about Sinxay in our book. There just wasn’t space to include everything we wanted.
Thinking back to our interview, we remember so vividly when the most Venerable Phong told us that in his quest to free Soumountha, Sinxay forgave everyone regardless of their evil intent, even Nyak Koumphan. The story of Sinxay, he told us, is a powerful example of how one can’t conquer by hate, but only by love. This love manifests, as the most Venerable Phong told us during the interview, with Sinxay and his two brothers, Siho and Sangthong, residing forever in our hearts.
The most Venerable Phong Samaleukt emphasized it is too easy in this life of samsara to become distracted and loose sight of one’s goals, but if one is mindful of what’s most important in their lives, their vision will become crystal clear, revealing Sinxay, Siho and Sangthong.