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David Germano

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I teach Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at the University of Virginia. My own research focuses on eighth through fourteenth century Tibetan religious and intellectual movements, as well as their broader historical contexts. I direct the UVa Tibet Center and the Tibetan and Himalayan Library” since 2000, a major international initiative aimed at stimulating and publishing innovative research on the region. Since 2008, I am directing the new SHANTI program promoting innovation in social sciences, humanities, and the arts at the University of Virginia.


    Associate Professor, University of Virginia
    Director, UVa Tibet Center
    Director, Tibetan & Himalayan Library


    BA, University of Notre Dame
    PhD, University of Wisconsin (Buddhist Studies)


    International Association of Tibetan Studies
    American Association of Asian Studies
    American Academy of Religions
    Department of Religious Studies (UVa)


Fluency in spoken and literary Tibetan. Extensive experience in guiding content and tool development in digital humanities initiatives.

Current Focus

My current focus is split between three areas – my personal research on esoteric movements in eighth to fourteenth century Tibetan Buddhism and Bön religion; my work at facilitating multidisciplinary, collaborative, and engaged scholarly work in Tibetan and Himalayan Studies; and my participation in helping facilitate new academic models at UVa made possible by the use of new technologies.

Future Goals

I hope over the coming years to stabilize the Tibetan and Himalayan Library, and SHANTI, so that I can myself return more to my personal scholarship, which I expect to channel increasingly through THL’s own publishing forums.


From 1988-1992, I was largely living in Tibetan areas of Asia doing dissertational fieldwork on Tibetan religion – first in India and Nepal, and then chiefly in Tibet itself (Lhasa and Kham). From 1992-1999, I was taught and researched at the University of Virginia, and more or less behaved like a typical faculty member – teaching undergraduates, co-directing a large graduate program, and pursing various print publication projects.

From 2000-2007, my time was increasingly taken up with directing the Tibetan and Himalayan Library initiative ( This involved creating an infrastructure for collaborative work and engaged scholarship on Tibet and the Himalayas, as well as considerable intellectual investment in specific projects. In 2007, I became involved with UVa’s efforts to create an initiative for promoting innovative forms of scholarship and scholarly activity as faciliated by new technologies.


My main academic interest is in Tibet, Buddhism, and Tantra; I am especially focused on religion in the tenth to fourteenth centuries in Tibet. I also have strong interest in contemporary Tibet, though this expresses itself in the facilitation of collaborative programs of research, study, and engagement. On other fronts, I have many years of work in the field of digital humanities, and am interested in the innovations in higher education facilitated by new digital technologies.

Scholarly Disciplines

    Buddhist Studies (5), Digital Humanities (6), Religious Studies (8), Tantric Studies (2), Tibetan Studies (4)

Time Periods of Interest

    11th century (2), 12th century (2), 13th century (2), 14th century (1), 21st century (5)

Places of Interest

    China (5), India (6), Kham (3), Lhasa (1), Nepal (5), Tibet (10)

Technologies of Interest

    Ruby on Rails (11), XML (13), XSLT (4)


My works include standard format publications in the form of books and articles on Tibetan Buddhism, but also involve numerous web sites that I have played key roles in developing, as well as many tools that I have designed in terms of functionality and presentation in conjunction with technologists.


    David Germano (2007). “Re-membering the Dismembered Body of Tibet: Contemporary Tibetan Visionary Movements in the People’s Republic of China.” An abridged version published in Defining Buddhisms: A Reader edited by Karen Derris and Natalie Gummer in the series “Critical Categories in the Study of Religion,” edited by Russell T. McCutcheon for Equinox Publishing.

    Germano, David F. (2007). “The shifting terrain of the tantric bodies of Buddhas and Buddhists from an Atiyoga perspective”. In The Pandita and the Siddha: Tibetan Studies in Honour of E. Gene Smith, ed. Ramon Prats. Amnye Machen Institute.

    Germano, David and William S. Waldron (2006). “The Arising of Ālaya: History and Doctrine”. In The Buddha’s Way: The Confluence of Buddhist Thought and Contemporary Psychology in the Post-Modern Age, editor D. K. Nauriyal, Routledge Curzon Press.

    Germano, David F. (2005). “Atiyoga/Great Perfection”. In Encyclopedia of Religions, Macmillan Reference USA. Germano, David F. with Gregory Hillis (2005). “Tibetan Buddhist Meditation”. In Encyclopedia of Religions, Macmillan Reference USA.

    Germano, David F. with Gregory Hillis (2005). “Klong chen rab ‘byams pa”. In Encyclopedia of Religions, Macmillan Reference USA. Germano, David F. (2005). “The History of Funerary rDzogs chen”. In the Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, vol. 1 ,

    Germano, David F. with Eveline Yang and others. “Tibetan Furniture Making: Traditions and Innovations” (2004): a documentary produced and exhibited at the “Wooden Wonders” exhibition, Pacific Asian Art Museum in Los Angeles, November 2004.

    Germano, David F. and Kevin Trainor (co-editors, (2004). Embodying the Dharma: Buddhist Relic Veneration in Asia. SUNY. This volume of essays on Buddhist relic traditions across Asia is drawn from our four year seminar on the subject in the [[American Academ} of Religions]].

    Germano, David F. (2004). “Relics of the Living Buddha in Tibet”. In Embodying the Dharma: Buddhist Relic Veneration in Asia, editors David Germano and Kevin Trainor, SUNY. Review, of Goldstein, Melvyn (2003), The New Tibetan-English Dictionary of Modern Tibetan, Berkeley: the University of California Press. In Geolinguistics, vol. 29.

    Germano, David F. (2002). “The Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library”. In the “In Brief” column of D-Lib Magazine (May 2002, Republished in ACCESS (

    Germano, David F., co-editor (2002). The Many Canons of Tibetan Buddhism. Brill Press. Germano, David F. (2002) “The Seven Descents and the Nature of sNga’ ‘gyur: The “history” of rNying ma tantras”. In The Many Canons of Tibetan Buddhism, Brill Press.

    Germano, David F. with Nathaniel Garson (2001) “The Rise of “Thematic Research Collections” in the study, teaching and transmission of Buddhist scriptures”. Journal of Electronic Buddhist Texts, Volume 3, December 2001, pp. 147-190. Published by Electronic Buddhist Text Institute, Seoul, Korea.

    Germano, David F. (2001) “Encountering Tibet: The Ethics, Soteriology and Creativity of Cross-cultural Interpretation”. In the Journal of the American Academy of Religions. Germano, David F. with Janet Gyatso (2000). “Longchenpa and the Posessions of Dakinıs”. Tantra in Practice, edited by David White, Princeton University Press.

     Germano, David F. (1998). “Re-membering the dismembered body of Tibet: The contemporary Ter movement in the PRC”. In Buddhism in Contemporary Tibet: Religious Revival and Cultural Identity (editors Melvyn Goldstein and Matthew Kapstein); Berkeley, California: [[|University of California Press]].

    Germano, David F. (1997). “Dying, death and other opportunities”. In Religions of Tibet in Practice (editor Donald Lopez), pp. 458-493; Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

    Germano, David F. (1997). “Food, clothes, dreams and karmic propensities” In Religions of Tibet in Practice (editor Donald Lopez), pp. 293-312; Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

    Germano, David F. (1997) “Preliminary practices: craziness, the elements and the letter Hum”. In Religions of Tibet in Practice (editor Donald Lopez), pp. 313-334; Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

    Germano, David F. (1994). “Architecture and Absence in the Secret Tantric History of rDzogs Chen”. In The (Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, vol. 17.2, pp. 203-335.


The Tibetan and Himalayan Library ( gives access to a number of websites of which I have been the publisher in my capacity of being director of THL. In addition, I have provided considerable intellectual support to each of these websites in terms of content and design.

I have been the co-designer of a number of tools and technical systems in collaboration with technologists. These include * QuillDriver: a Java-based tool for authoring time-coded rich transcripts of recordings. * Place Dictionary: a RoR system for building and delivering information about geographical features * others to be detailed.