Dr. Ron M. Davidson
Professor of Religious Studies
o: Donnarumma Hall Rm 344
B.A., M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Current Research Interests
Davidson's long term projects include completing a book entitled At the Threshold of Tantra: Mantra Rituals in Indian Mahāyāna Buddhism.This is a translation and study of the *Mūlyamantra (Taishō 1007), employing this text as a access point for the exploration of Mahāyāna rituals prior to the coalescence of true tantric Buddhism.
He is concurrently working on another book titled Imperial Buddhas, Tantric Origins: The Emperor Arising from the Buddha's Uṣṇīṣa. Imperial Buddhas addresses the earliest form of Indian tantric Buddhism, which mythically emerges from the Buddha's Uṣṇīṣa, a physical attribute that identifies his sacred status and royal authority.
Secrecy and Revelation in Indian Tantric Buddhism concerns the origins and development of religious strategies of secrecy, including secret signs and rituals, and the controlled revelation of such secret matters. The development of secrecy in Buddhism is a peculiar event, as earlier Buddhism had prided itself on being open and transparent, but all that changed in the mid-seventh century for a variety of reasons.
All these projects demonstrate the simultaneous construction upon and shift away from the cultus and ideology of dhāraṇīs (mantra-like coded phrases) in Mahāyāna Buddhism. Professor Davidson has also begun publishing a series of articles exploring the meaning and function of the dhāraṇī phrases.
Beyond these research interests, he has pieces written toward a volume on the hagiographies and poems of enlightenment focusing on the Buddhist siddha Virūpa.
- AN 310: Asian Studies Seminar (Div)
- RS 10: Intro to Religious Studies
- RS 101: ER: Asian Religions
- RS 101B: ER: Asian Religions
- RS 280: Hinduism
- RS 288: Buddhism
- RS 289: Tantrism
- RS 388: Buddhist Spirituality