Personally, I try not to be too dismissive of some vernacular and cultural aspects of practice. I would not presume to damn what the lay followers, described in the above article, as akin to performing rites and rituals or engaging in something akin to the dog ascetic or ox ascetic practices as was inferenced above.
The western form of Buddhism which attempts to occupy a spiritually purified and universalist approach to the Dhamma, is equally an artefact of cultural contexts inherited and invented. I believe it is worthwhile to have an acutely reflexive attitude to one's own Dhamma practice.
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725Compassionate Hands Foundation
(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global Relief