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Dr. Davidson discusses the complicated relationship between compassion and awakening with regards to Buddhism. He talks about the Buddha’s awakening and the responsibility of all Buddhists to become Buddha, then discusses both sides of the argument of whether awakening and compassion are inherently related, a topic that has been debated by Buddhists for many years. He also mentions the idea of a "moral mandate" to teach the word of Buddha and how a Buddhist monk must be asked, formally, three times before he will be allowed to teach.

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About the Interviewee: Dr. Ronald Davidson was trained in Sanskrit and Chinese Buddhist studies at the University of California Berkeley under Drs. Padmanabh Jaini, Lewis Lancaster, and Michel Strickmann. For seventeen years before and during his graduate career, Dr. Davidson studied with Tibetans. He has taught at Fairfield University since 1990, and has previously taught at Santa Clara University and at the Institute of Buddhist Studies (Graduate Theological Union) in California. His primary area of expertise is the history of tantric Buddhism in India and Tibet, especially in the relationship of religious history to social history during the medieval period, from 500-1200 CE. He is the author of several books on these topics such as Tibetan Renaissance: Tantric Buddhism in the Rebirth of Tibetan Culture and Tibetan Buddhist Literature and Praxis: Studies in Its Formative Period, 900-1400.

About the Interviewer: Dr. Alfred Benney is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Fairfield University. He has a Ph.D in Theology from the Hartford Seminary Foundation and taught courses in Non-Traditional American Religions and Christian Religious Thought. His research interests include “how people learn”; “the appropriate use of technology in teaching/learning”; and “myth as explanatory narrative”. He has published work on teaching with technology.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.