Esoteric Theravada: The Story of the Forgotten Meditation Tradition of Southeast Asia. By Kate Crosby. Boulder, CO: Shambhala Publications, 2020. xiii + 304 pages. $22.95 (paperback). ISBN: 9781611807943.
Kate Crosby’s new work makes available the results of years of very important research into the tradition of esoteric meditation in Southeast Asia. Crosby recovers what had been the most widespread form of Buddhist meditation in Southeast Asia prior to the modern period. In her introduction, Crosby explains that she uses the phrase the “old meditation” (borān kammaṭṭhāna) because the kind of meditation practice that she is examining existed prior to those promoted during the “revival period” that began in the nineteenth century, such as vipassanā or insight.