gavesako wrote:As part of the Indian cultural influence into "greater India," elements of MAHĀYĀNA, TANTRA, and MAINSTREAM BUDDHIST SCHOOLS entered different regions of Thailand through the Mon, the expansion of the Sumatran-based Śrivijāya kingdom into the southern peninsula, and the growing dominance of the Khmer empire in the west.
A very good post gavesako. Many people know little to nothing about this incredibly significant maritime empire.
Very good thread btw.
Seeing as you chose that name for your online identity, I am assuming that you know a bit more! Please bear with me then if I add some more for the sake of context for other readers.
Not to derail the thread, but Srivijaya ('exalted victorious'), known to Tibetans as "Ser-ling", in Sanskrit as "Suvarnadvipa" (continent of gold) has very close ties to the second wave of Buddhism into Tibet. Most historians are now quite convinced that it's location was in southern Sumatra.
One of the main figures of that movement was the Bengali master Dipamkara Shrijnana (born a prince, initiated into tantra, ordained a monk), other wise known as Jowo Atisha. Though already highly regarded as a practtioner and scholar, he chose to study for 13 years under his main teacher, also born a prince, in Srivijaya. At the time the maritime empire extended as far as the southern part of today's Thailand (!)
Returning to India (Bengal, where he was the leading scholar of Vimalakirti monastic college) he was eventually invited to Tibet. The main teachings he taught publicly were the graded stages of the path and bodhicitta. This latter was the main subject of his studies in Suvarnadvipa, the reason he undertook what was in those days a hazardous journey. He gave tantric teachings and initiations privately to a select few, but it seems it was not his main interest in Tibet at the time. His main interest in teaching was the basics of Buddhism and bodhicitta.
It is interesting to note that Srivijaya not only had extended up to the Siamese peninsula but also owned villages near Nalanda monastic university in India that paid some kind of tithe to the institution. Srivijaya had become home to one of the foremost exponents (read llineage holder) of the most essential aspects (bodhicitta) of what is now known by the blanket term "Tibetan Buddhism".
Given the highly active state of trade and travel in those days it is not surprising that cultures and religions/philosophies rubbed shoulders and mixed. After all Angkor was in its day the biggest city in the world with a population of 900,000 plus. (At the time Paris, was little more than a village).
It is in this light when I read accounts like "Tantric Buddhism in Burma" quoted a few posts above I tend to keep a large shaker of salt by my side. Particularly when written by so-called scholars who often don't really understand the system. To give one a little taste of how colonial views have affected our modern day knowledge of that period: we have all been conditioned to call Myanmar 'Burma' - a British invention, much like Calcutta for Kalikut or Bombay for Mumbai, so much so that when the inhabitants insist on going back to the original we feel it is "weird". As an Asian I have had to reinvestigate a lot to get a less lop-sided view. Hence the query that started this thread.
This all got a lot longer than intended.
Best wishes to all