Image of faculty member, Ronald Davidson

Dr. Ronald M. Davidson

Professor of Religious Studies
o: Donnarumma Hall Rm 251
p: x2489


B.A., M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Current Research Interests

Davidson's long term projects include completing a book entitled On the Threshold of Tantra: Mantra Rituals in Indian Mahayana Buddhism.This is a translation and study of the *Mūlamantra (Taisho 1007), employing this text as a access point for the exploration of Mahayana 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 UsnisaImperial Buddhas addresses the earliest form of Indian tantric Buddhism, which mythically emerges from the Buddha's Usnisa, 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 dharanis (mantra-like coded phrases) in Mahayana Buddhism. Professor Davidson has also begun publishing a series of articles exploring the meaning and function of the dharani phrases.

Courses Taught

  1. HR 300: Interdisciplinary Inquiry
  2. HU 301: Humanities Institute Seminar
  3. RS 101: ER: Asian Religions
  4. RS 101B: ER: Asian Religions
  5. RS 280: Hinduism
  6. RS 285: Buddhism
  7. RS 289: Tantrism

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