Phra Sri An (Maitreya) as a Hero: A Structural Analysis of Phra Sri An Myths in Thai Society

In: Manusya: Journal of Humanities
Aphilak Kasempholkoon
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This article aims to study “Phra Sri An” myths in Thai society as hero myths using the ideas relating to heroes of Joseph Campbell and other scholars, especially the idea of the stages of heroes of Christopher Vogler, whose ideas were developed from Campbell’s. This study shows that Phra Sri An’s character in Thai society is both that of a universal hero, in having the call for adventure, enduring tests and going pass the parameter of the profane to the sacred world; and a particular type of Thai hero, passing to, not only Tusita heaven, but also to Phra Sri An’s world, as well as in the absence of the stage of “refusal the call” according to Vogler’s stages of the hero’s journey since this concept in Buddhism states that the person who will be the future Buddha must have firm determination and strong faith. All of the stages of progress to becoming a hero express the long cycle of Phra Sri An’s journey, emphasizing the idea of the Buddhas as heroes having to overcome obstacles, gathering good deeds and finding “sacred things,” those being the four noble truths, in order to achieve enlightenment, leading Buddhists to have more faith in the Buddhas.

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