Saturday, May 29, 2021

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #383 - 29MAY21

This week on The Mystical Positivist, we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Professor Kate Crosby, author of Esoteric Theravada: The Story of the Forgotten Meditation Tradition of Southeast Asia. Theravada Buddhism, often understood as the school that most carefully preserved the practices taught by the Buddha, has undergone tremendous change over time. Prior to Western colonialism in Asia—which brought Western and modernist intellectual concerns, such as the separation of science and religion, to bear on Buddhism—there existed a tradition of embodied, esoteric, and culturally regional Theravada meditation practices. This once-dominant traditional meditation system, known as boran kammatthana, is related to—yet remarkably distinct from—Vipassana and other Buddhist and secular mindfulness practices that would become the hallmark of Theravada Buddhism in the twentieth century. Drawing on a quarter century of research, scholar Kate Crosby offers the first holistic discussion of boran kammatthana, illuminating the historical events and cultural processes by which the practice has been marginalized in the modern era.

Kate Crosby is professor of Buddhist Studies at King’s College London. Her work focuses on Sanskrit, Pali, and Pali-vernacular literature and on Theravada practice in the pre-modern and modern periods. Her other publications include Theravada Buddhism: Continuity, Diversity, Identity and The Bodhicaryavatara.

More information about Kate Crosby's work can be found at:

Esoteric Theravada at the Shambhala:,

Interview with Kate Crosby at Tricycle:,

Kate Crosby at King's College London:

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