Sinxay and weaving our own transformation

Sinxay and weaving our own transformation

When we were writing our introduction to Sinxay we wanted to include references to the transformation power of Sinxay. Sinxay, as a bodhisatta-hero, clearly follows the classic archetypal hero quest summarized by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces:

“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won:the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”

Sinxay, as the son of Phanya Kousarat, honors his duty to his father, despite his having been banished from the palace when he was only several days old. He, unlike his six younger brothers, is willing to make the necessary sacrifices and heroic gestures in pursuit of fulfilling his father’s request. This is in stark contrast to his six younger brothers who covet the fame, glory, and power that would be Sinxay’s if he was successful in rescuing his aunt. The six brothers, although yearning to be acclaimed as heroes, cowered at the thought of actually doing anything heroic. They were unable to comprehend, as Joseph Campbell writes, that the hero can only be heroic when “we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation,” because that’s when “we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.”

We agree with Joseph Campbell and believe Sinxay holds the power to be transformational, While doing our research, both in Laos and Isan, person after person told us what a dramatic effect Sinxay had made in transforming their lives and how excited they were that we were bringing to light such a little-known, but highly revered story.

As Jean Houston writes in The Wizard of Us, “Myth is the loom on which we may weave our own journey of transformation.” This is such a powerful analogy when one considers that weaving is the foundation of Lao culture. We really like the illustration above that shows a weaver taking a break from her loom and reading Sinxay from a palm leaf manuscript. This scene actually portrays how Dr. Thongkham, a literary scholar in Laos, learned the story of Sinxay, when as a young boy in his village he was lucky to live close to the weaver and listen to the weaver read it out loud.

For fun we’re including one of our many weaving videos on our YouTube channel below. Watching the Lao women weave is mesmerizing and provides a greater appreciation of their artistry and amazing skills.



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