Personally, the only reason I am talking about the Thai context is because it is the one that I know about. Actually, when I was in Thailand and was talking with various monk/scholars studying at Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University they tried to "blame" the Reusi/Lersi tradition on Cambodian influence. But this just leads me to suspect that the Reusi/Lersi practices were also common in Cambodian (and possibly Lao) Theravada. I also find it extremely difficult to believe that Sri Lankan Theravada did not also incorporate regional practices into their schools. Sri Lanka has a Hindu "tantric" tradition dating back to the time of the Ramayana epic.Astus wrote: ↑Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:28 amFirst of all, that is only Thailand, not the whole of Theravada. Secondly, even in Thailand the Dhammayuttika Nikaya is still a small minority (around 10% of all monks) after over a century of strong state support.
So stating that the current form of Theravada is the product of a 19th century reform still looks very much like an oversimplification. It is actually similar to how 20th century "reformed" Japanese Zen was projected on the whole of East Asian Buddhism, while it was just the idealised image of a few people (like DT Suzuki).
The then king of Sri Lanka, Ravana, was a renowned "magician" who it is claimed penned seminal texts on:
1. Astrology - Ravan Samhita narrated to him by Shiva.
2. Medicine - The Ravanakumara Tantra
4. Spirituality - The Samkhya scripture known as the Ravana-bhasya, the Shavite scripture Shiva Tandava Stotrama and others.
Looking at how Thai Theravada was influenced by the Reusi/Lersi, I find it very difficult to believe that Lankan Theravada would not have been influenced by this long-standing spiritual and academic tradition.