Ronald M. Davidson F'10
ACLS Fellowship Program 2010
Imperial Buddhas, Tantric Origins: The Emperor Arising from the Buddha’s Turban
This project explores the origins of Buddhist Tantrism in seventh- and eighth-century India, examining more than a dozen Buddhist documents in Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan. They describe the earliest tantric Buddhist system, “the Emperor Arising from the Buddha’s Turban,” and have not been critically discussed previously. The project’s historical contribution is to clarify the emergence of Buddhist tantrism, which spread throughout Eurasia within a century of its origins. The project’s theoretical contribution will be to non-Western religio-political discourses among minority communities, to inter-religious intertextuality, and to the theory of ritual speech acts in historical texts.