About M. Saso

Michael Sasso
Dr. Michael R. Saso Ph.D.
Director, Sino-Asia Institute
Hawaii office: 2530 Dole St. A-310, Honolulu, HI 96822

Born: Dec, 7, 1930

Professor Saso is a scholar of the religious practices of Japan and China, with a particular emphasis on Taoism. He has translated Japanese and Chinese religious texts and related works and has written several books on Asian religion. His knowledge of Taoism and Buddhism comes from within those communities: he is an initiated Taoist priest of the Zhengyi Sect as well as an ordained Tendai Buddhist monk.

His first ordination, however, was as a Jesuit. He left the order in the 1960s, and in 1968 married Nariko Akimoto, with whom he had two daughters. The marriage was later annulled. Saso requested reinstatement as a RC priest in 1997 and is now connected with the Sino-Asian Institute in Los Angeles, California, and serves in the Diocese of San Jose.

B.A. Santa Clara University: Classical Humanities, 1952.
M.A. Gonzaga University Spokane, WA: Philosophy, Anthropology, 1955.
Fu Jen University, Taiwan: Chinese Language and Culture, 1955-58.
Baguio /Ateneo de Manila: Religious Studies/Anthropology, 1958-62.
M.A. Yale University: Chinese Studies, 1963-64.
Sophia University, Tokyo: Japanese Language, 1964-65;
Kyoto University: Classical Chinese Literature, 1966-67;
Ph.D. London Univ. 1971; Taoism and Chinese Religion (thesis published: 1972)

Positions held, teaching and research:
Lecturer: London University, Extramural department, Chinese Studies, 1968-69.
Assistant Prof., Washington State University: Anthropology; 1970-74.
NSF Grant, Research on the Chinese Family 1972-74; 1975-77.
Associate Professor: University of Hawaii, History of Religion, Asian Religions, 1974-78.
Visiting Professor: Yale University, History of Religion, 1978.

Full Professor with Tenure: University of Hawaii, 1978-1990. Emeritus, 1990-present
Research Grant: The Korean Shaman, Smithsonian, 1981; HNEH, 1985

Japan Foundation Grant, Tantric Buddhist Studies, 1986-88.
Comparative Studies; Tantric Buddhism and Taoism in China, 1988-89. NSF.
Research Fellow: Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 1990-1995.
Director, advisor: Institute of Asian Studies, Beijing, 1992-1996;
Research in Tibet 1992-2007; History of Tibet, Buddhist “Tangkha” Art
Advisor: The Beijing Center, 1997-98.
Director: Sino-Asian Institute, 1999-2008.
Diocese of San Jose, CA, 1997…; study and teaching in Asia.
Pilgrimages to Tibet, study  scholarships; built 5 schools in China and Tibet, 1998-2006.
Sino-Asian Institute of America (SAIA), 2006-present.
Dean: Comparative Religions, International University Institute, Macao 2006, Beijing, 2004-2008.
Consultant: International University, Beijing, Kyoto, Los Angeles, 2007-2008; catalogued the Tohgendo Collection, Sanjo Doori, Kyoto, 2008-2009.

Publications: books; (articles in learned journals omitted)
1968 Taiwan Feasts and Customs, Hsinchu, Taiwan: Fu Jen Univ Press.
1972 Taoism and the Rite of Cosmic Renewal, Pullman: Washington State University press.
1975 Chuang-lin Supplement to the Taoist Canon (25 vols), Taipei: Chengwen Press.
1976 Buddhist and Taoist Studies, Honolulu: Univ of Hawaii press.
1978 The Teachings of Taoist Master Chuang. New Haven: Yale University (3rd edit., 2008).
1979 A Collection of Taoist Oral Teachings, Tokyo, Ryukei Shosha press (2nd edition, 2008).
1980-84 4 Video programs, DVD documentaries: 1) Taoism; 2) Tantric Buddhism; 3) Korean.
Shaman (NEH, & UH Korean Studies); 4) Chinese New Year Festival. (Funded by HNEH,).
1990 Blue Dragon White Tiger (Chinese Religion) Honolulu: UH Press.
____ Tantric Art & Meditation in Japan; (Tendai Tantric Buddhism), UH Press.
1991 The Agni-hottri Fire Rite of Tendai Buddhism, New Delhi, Aditya Press.
1992 Buddhist Studies in Modern China, Honolulu, Univ. of Hawaii Press.
1994 Chinese Religions and Mysticism; (J. Hinnells, World Religions, Penguin Press)
1995 A Taoist Cookbook; (81 meditations and vegetarian recipes) Boston: Tuttle Press.
1996 Gold Pavilion, Taoist Meditation, Boston: Tuttle Press
1999 Velvet Bonds: The Chinese Family, University of Hawaii press
2000 Zen is for Everyone, Honolulu: University of Hawaii press.
2004-2008 Cultural Festivals of Hong Kong and S. China, CHK Press, monthly;
2008 Comparative Mysticism (Mystic, Shaman, Oracle, Priest) (in press)
____ The Tangkha Buddhist Art of North Tibet (Amdo). (in press)
Seminars: history, philosophy, religion (offered in Beijing and Honolulu):
World History, a Comparison of western and Asian cultures;
A Cultural History of China and Tibet, (intensive seminar course 6 – 12 weeks)
Hist. of Asian Religions, Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian, Shinto, YY 5 Element philosophy
Upper Division & Graduate Seminars in Taoist Studies: Taoist Rites & Meditations; &
Buddhist Studies, Tantric Buddhism in Japan & Tibet, selected religious traditions.
History of World Religions; Judao-Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, Daoist, S. Asia,
Korea, Native America, African religious traditions: Hinnells /Saso, Penguin Press, 2004.
Comparative Mysticism: (Mystic, Shaman, Oracle, Priest). (Textbook in press, 2008).
The Tohgendo Collection, Kyoto: DVD, 3 volumes, History of Asian Art in China, Japan,
Korea, and Tibet; “Conserving, identifying, and dating Asian art objects.”

Special Lecture and video/ DVD presentations with text and discussion:
Three Religions, One Culture, Buddhism Confucianism, and Taoism in China and E. Asia
Tibet today: the religion, customs, art, cultural and ethnic diversity of modern Tibet
Ethnic minorities of China: languages, cultures, customs of Yunnan, and Islamic China.
The healing traditions of Asia: Shiyatsu; Qigong, Zen meditation, Taiji & Bagua movement.
Mystic, Shaman, Oracle, Priest, World Religions, a cross-cultural study.

61 thoughts on “About M. Saso

  1. Michael, if this is direct to you I sent you an e-mail.

    I hope I can find the time to see if you are in Honolulu again. I will try.

  2. Dear Dr. Saso,

    I am wondering if your family came from Trabia, Sicily. My mother is the daughter of Jerome Saso, whose father Giuseppe Saso arrived in New York on King Wilhelm Kaiser in the early 1900’s. I have been researching this family for over 40 years and have extensive family data. I am still gathering more information and in the process plan to compile a record on the family at some future date. In Trabia where my side of the Saso’s were living, I traced the family back to the mid 1700’s. Unfortunately, I have hit a brickwall and not able to get back any further than the 1700’s. Any information you might have, if you wish to share it with me, would be appreciated. Sincerely, Dennis W. Simpson

    1. Hi, Barbara, at last I got back on WordPress, after spending so much time in Tibet and japan, and just now read your comment. I have neen to HN 2x, but was unable to get a reply from you to either e-mails or phone calls. I will be staying at Tendai Betsuin, 23 Jack Lane (off Pali Hiway) from May 29 thru June 12, Hope you can find a moment to say hello. Life is short, filled with good things, amongst which are our very occasional meetings.

      1. yes, we are from Trabia, Sicily, thank you so much for your e-mail, and forgive my long silence, I am just back from China, Tibet, and Japan, and am at last back on my wordpress site. We are actually from Segovia, in Spain, “murano” or sephardic Jews, expelled 3x from Spain, once in 1095, again in 1395 (during the “crusades”) and again under Ferdinand and Isabel. Our relatives also went to Bagdad, Istanbul, and Teheran, where they are still Jewish (the Istanbul Saso’s still wear the yamaka), and even to China, and Shanghai until 1949. Our family, both the Saso’s, and the Sanfelipo (grandmother’s) family, were/are “murano”, and were forced to become Catholic when we got to Palermo, and Trabia. If you look at the baptismal register, you will see that it says in Latin “Usuri Fuerunt”, ie, “they were usurers (jews)”, ie, Christains and Musilms were not allowed ever to take interest on lonaed money, but Jews were allowed to, which is why we/they were always caled “usurers” in baptismal records. The reason why it is hard to trace us to times earlier than the 1700’s is because our real ancestry was kept hidden. We all moved to Portland Oregon on 1908, and from thence to Santa Clara valley in California between 1930-1936. My name and biogrpahy also appears on Wikipedia, but one of these days I want to make them inlude our Jewish ancestry, of which we are very proud (that’s why we are so “smart”). Please write again, there us much more to say.

  3. Dear Dr. Michael Saso,
    I am a buddhist. I am practicing the Buddha’s teaching according to Varjayana of Tibet. I am also studying and researching about Chinese Dao. I really love it. In your book “Taoist Master Chuang”, you indicated that there are some missing marterials from Cheng-i Tz’u T’an. May I ask that I can kindly have those missing materials from you? The “Taoist Master Chuang” book is very, very valuable. It can be kept for generations. But, the book will be incomplete withhout having those missing materials. Please help me. Thank you, Sir, so much.


    Phuc (Geoffrey) Nguyen

    1. Thanknyou for your message, Mr. Nguyen (Geoffrey). There is a whole book which contains Master Chuang (Zhuang)’s teachings and mijue documents in Chinese, please send me your address, I can mail one to you. It is called “Dokyo Hiketsu Shusei” in Japanese, or “Daojiao Mijue Jicheng” in Chinese.

  4. Dear Cousin Michael,

    I figured you were probably overseas and I understand how busy you are. Thank you for getting back to me and sharing your side of the family. Several years ago I attended one of the Saso reunions in Pacifica, the gentleman who hosted the reunion has since past away, occasionally I do hear from his brother Steve Saso. I was introduced to that side of the family by Laural Ragona, who lives in Napa, California. At the reunion we had a long discussion about our ancestors, and the subject of where they originated from. Most of the people there agreed the Saso’s were not originally Italians, but middle eastern. We thought Lebanonese or Jordanian, but as you pointed out, through your research and I have to agree, we are descendants of Jewish ancestors.

    Not only were the Saso’s very intelligent, the men were very handsome and the women extremely beautiful. It is no wonder we find cousins marrying eachother in this family. If you would like, I could send you an invitation to view the records I have on the Saso’s in ancestry.com. I would need to have you send me your regular email to send you the invitation. Over the years, the family grew and there are so many Saso’s living on the American continent, that it is hard to tie them all together, but we are all related. The difference between Saso and Sasso is the Sasso’s living on the mainland are supposidly not related. Whereas the Saso’s are all Sicilians steming from a common ancestor who wasn’t Italian at all, but middle eastern and with a different surname.

    Off the subject matter. I have a half sister, whom I never met, her name Meke Ka. My father married a Korean and had a daughter who was born in Yokohama, Japan about 1948. My father was stationed at Sagamo Prison and was there when Tojo and several other Japanese war prisoners were held there for war crimes. From there he was sent to Korea. My father mastered the Korean language, the first Southern to do so, and was part of the team to translate for the peace accord after the conflict was winding down. I have always hoped to find her, but fear I will not be able to, considering the fact that I have very limited information about her. I don’t even know her married surname is.

    What is also interesting is my father’s mother’s maternal grandmother, Amelia Catherine Harbin descends from the Harbin family of Yeovil, England. Apparently one of the Harbin’s migrated to Northern China and thus the city of Harbin, China was founded. At least that is what I have been told. They say Harbin is one of the most coldest places in Asia, the weather during the winter can get way below 20 degrees below zero. I had a girlfriend who was born and raised in Harbin, and I was just about ready to go there to visit her family, but things just didn’t work out to let me go. And I missed my opportunity.

    I am always opened to learning more about our ancestors. I have been researching the family for over 40 years. Unfortunately, mid 1700’s and I am stuck. It would be nice to learn the original surname, before it became Saso. I supposed the family suffered tremendously when Fernand and Isabella were in power. Christopher Columbus was also of Jewish Descent, and good thing he kept that hushed, or America might not have been discovered until years later, by someone else. Unfortunately, Columbus allowed his men to kill the men, rape the women and kidnapped the children for slaves once he came to America.

    I am wondering if you knew Dr. Samuel Saso who had a dentisty in San Jose, before his death? His father Michele Saso, was my great-grandfather’s, Giuseppe Saso’s brother.

    I also noticed the surname Saso is used in the Philippianes. Several migrants to California tell me it was a Spanish name, which makes sense because they were living in Spain before arriving in Trabia. They couldn’t tell me when they moved to the Philippines.

    It is enjoyable hearing from you, and I do look forward talking more with you.

    1. There is a third edition currently in the works. Hopefully it will be ready for distribution by fall.

  5. Dear Dr. Saso,
    I am unable to locate any copies of ” Taoist Master Chuang” for purchase. Would you be able to assist me in obtaining a copy ? Many Thanks,

  6. dear Dr.saso,
    i am an indian student,who studiying in M A Social Exclusion & Inclusive Policey, jamia millia islamia,new delhi.i would like to do my further studies in the field of tibetan refugees in india.i would like to get guidence from you.

  7. I am honored by your request, Rajeev, I do know some Tibetan people and monks in India, and will make contacts with them, then get back to you at once. Please use my e-mail, michael_saso @yahoo.com

  8. I’ve just stumbled across all of this information and am so excited! I am very interested in learning more about my ancestors. My father was born in Sciarra, Italy (just outside of Palermo). His name was Pietro Saso. His parent’s were Irena & Francesco Saso.
    I live in Thousand Oaks, California – just outside of Los Angeles.
    Would love to hear from you.

  9. Thank you for getting in contact, Camille, I am in Honolulu attending meetings, return to Los Angeles on Sunday, my e-mail address is michael_saso@yahoo.com , when I get back I can send you the picture taken in Portland, Oregon, in 1908, when the entire Saso and Sanfelipo clans arrived in Portland Oregon from Trabia, Sicily. Yes, we are all related, and the history is truly fascinating. We have relatives in many places, all with the same name Saso, will send more when I return on Sunday.

  10. Dear Professor Saso,

    I know of you through Ruth Vickers. For the past several months I have tried to get a hold of you to let you know that Ruth has past on. If you are the Professor Saso from the early 1980’s that Ruth talked of then you will know that she was a very special person to many people. Her worked touched many people.


    Alan Holmes

    1. Thank you, Alan, yes, I heard that Ruth passed, and will offer Mass again for her tomorrow, easter Sunday. What wonderful days when we were at UH, good students, classes, thnk you for getting in touch!

  11. Hi. This is Yoting Chen’s Speaking. Miss you! My old friend!
    Now I am staying at Sydney, until Nov. this year.
    Reading Your Website, I am surprised. So wonderful! So great!
    Love you, My old friend!
    Best regard !

    1. How great to hear from you, Chen Jiaoshou! what an honor! yes, we are working very hard to publish the rest of the 三山滴血派祕訣本,that were in Zhuang Dengyun’s collection, as well as making a dvd of the entire 莊林續道臧。So few foreign scholars realize that the orla tradition in Daoism is more important than the written, and that the Daoist Canon 道臧 is incpmplete. Your inout is very necessary, hope we can talk more.

  12. Hello Michael, it’s Gerardo your old student from CSUMB. i hope all is well with you, i have been doing great.

    i now have a young daughter married and just finninshed my masters in social work. i’ll be heading to your old playing ground of hawaii for a break in the next week. over all life is pretty good.

    how are you, and the old crew.

    i see you still in Makau, i hope the weather is a little cooler than the last time i visited. LOL.


    1. Hi, Gerardo! congratulations on new baby, your MA, and great life! I left macao long ago, have been in China, and kyoto, research and other work. Am giving a Vipassyana retreat here in Honolulu, return to LA on the 16th, hope we can meet up soon. Hi to Miranda and your artist brother Nick as well!

  13. good day to you sir!

    im from the philippines and very much interested in my ancestry (saso). there’s not much information about where our clan started.

    1. Great to hear from you! Please read the other responses below, there are many Saso relatives who are studying our ancestry. We are in fact Sephardic Jewish people
      expelled many times from Spain, and related to many other clans who like us are sephardim or “murano.” Besides the Catholic (convert) side of our family, we have
      relatives in many other places who are still Jewish. I have responded to you on my regular e-mail, michael_saso@yahoo.com

  14. Su Lao Shir,

    Nice talking to you yesterday, I was too excited to fall asleep last night, it was long time no see and my family and I certainly miss you so much. I started to read your website this morning and found it is very interesting just by reading it. I will keep touch with you and Xiu. Look forward to seeing you again in BJ:)

    1. Yes, it was really good to meet and talk, Xina, let us encourage Dorje to continue his work of studying the Daba rituals, and preserving authentic Muosuo culture.
      It is also important that we establish a school for educating Muosuo children in their own culture, so it will always be valued and preserved.

  15. Hello Mr.Saso,
    Sir i have been searching the web recently on a local temple, and the only article or research i could find is a pdf file format saying how you have made a 30minute video of the taoist temple “wong tin tin hu” located in Oahu. The film is called Rites of Origin: A Taoist Celebration, which is filmed from dec 12-16 1976. I was also wondering if there is a way for me to obtain a copy of this. I am currently in Oahu and i am very interested. Also here is the website i have found the info on, just in case i forgot to state other information http://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/publications/afs/pdf/a369.pdf.

    I hope to here from you very soon,

    Thank You so much Mr.Saso

    1. Greetings, Chris, I plan to come to Honolulu soon, please contact me by my yahoo e-mail address, I will try to get a copy of the video to you, it is copyrighted, and should not be marketed, any profits from Daoist ritual and prayers of blessing must be sued for the poor, or works of charity, “Dao for Dollars” brings with it a bog curse! BUt the video is on line, can be seen on Youtube as well.

  16. Dear Mr.Saso,
    Thank you very much for letting me know about the video being posted on youtube :). I have watched it and found great fascination in this celebration in the Wong tin tin hu temple. Also i do understand the copyrights of this film, and i will not use this for profits and etc. Also since it is on youtube, there is no need for you to give me a copy, but i am very grateful for the offer 🙂

    Thanks SO Much Mr.Saso.

  17. Dear Fr. Saso,
    I hope you are well. You may not remember me but not too long ago our paths crossed at Santa Catalina School in Monterey. There you helped Dr. Murphy and I work with students in a confirmation class, and you escorted a student group with Dr. Murphy to China. Well, I am now an associate professor of religious studies at Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan. Since I am working with some students on a study of Daoism, I began thinking of you and would love to be able to speak with you. If you respond with some contact information to my email address, I would give you a call. Peace

    1. Great to hear from you, Joe, yes, I remember our many meetings, and the joy of teaching for you at Sta Catalina. It would be an honor to collaborate with you on Daoistas well as Buddhist studies for high school and college students, and equally great to bring them on pilgrimage to Kyoto, Beijing, and Tibet. Please see the recent posts on the wordpress site michaelsaso.org showing Kyoto contemplated with red and gold autumn leaves. I plan a booklet soon that will explain “Dao as a prayer path for everyone”.

  18. My son and I would like to take this time and occasion, during this holiday season to “Thank You” for your gift of the “Healing workshop” here in Hawaii. It removed the anger, fear, and blockages that we were going through been homeless. We are honored and appreciation to a workshop that brought invaluable and significant impact for the both of us. Once again “Mahalo”.

    Alice Greenwood

    1. You are most welcome, I am so glad and honored that your attendance at the Healing Workshop was so fruitful. May you continue to have much blessing, joy, and inner fulfillment this coming year! If the inter-faith workshop to be held at Tendai Betsuin on Samatha-Vipassyana Zen meditation on Jan 2, 2-4 pm, sounds interesting to you, please feel welcome to attend this event too.It is the first stop light, to the left, going up Pali Hiway (Tenmpe Emmanuel is on the corner, Tendai Betsuin is next door, also to the left, near the bus stop).

  19. Hello, Michael, your cookbook got me through graduate school! 🙂 I am looking for information about the U.S. Taoist Association. Does it still exist? Did it ever exist? Is there a credible Daoist association for English-speaking people with a scholarly bent? Thank you so much, and thank you for your many wonderful books and photos.

    1. Thank you, Linda, yes there are some great Daoist scholar-practitioners now in the US, Livia Kohn, (truly enlightened by all of her years of work on Daoism) has a group, and we are also planning to start a “Daoist center” in Los Angeles soon, with a library and research facilities. Thank you for your kind words, I am updating many publications, hope to have them available soon. Please also use my michael_saso@yahoo.com as well as the Facebook site. Look forward to more discussion and mutual learning.

  20. 你好苏老师!最近身体好吗?你近期计划来成都吗?我和真如都很想念你!祝福你一切都自在如意安好!你的学生,李合春

    1. 谢谢李道长,很高兴受到您的消息。十月分一定要去成都,拜访您。

  21. 苏老师你好!听真如说你受伤了,很是伤心。近日上海音乐学院的刘红博士希望我能和你取得联系,确认你来中国的时间和到上海音乐学院的具体安排,他们好帮你提前安排机票等相关事宜。不知你方便的情况下可否告你你的联系电话。大家都很希望能和你通个电话。谢谢你!上天福佑你早日康复诸事吉祥。李合春叩上

  22. 蘇教授您好:
    目前派讀您的大作<> 〈Red-head and black head:The classification of the 61th generation heavenly master〉 〈Lushan (廬山) Ling Shan (閭山) amd Mao Shan (茅山):Taoist fraternities and rivalries in North Taiwan〉等研究 是否可以向您請教書中一些問題?

  23. 不好意思漏掉這本書<>! 謝謝

    1. 吳道兄的問題小弟很高興,希望能好好的回答!最近右閭山派,神霄派,很多科儀本在台灣出版了,我們應該多多研究各種道派。

  24. geven dr saso i was wondering if could give me reference to where i can buy the Daoist Mijue manuals available at last
    thank you in advance

    1. Thank you so much for your email, Gerard, I too am waiting patiently for the press to get ISBN numbers for the manuals, so they can be published and marketed safely. Will post again on this ste as soon as they are ready!

  25. Dear professor Saso, I am a Hungarian writer and orientalist,yesterday I found your kind letter from April,l986 in yourexcellent book Taoism and the Rite of Cosmic Renewal of which I thought to have lost during moving from one flat to another and it turned up from somewhere by accident…karma.In the meantime I met Taoists in Nerw York in l987 Michael Winn,Mark Johnson and others and also in Taipei during an official visit in l99l unfortunately I had no time to go to Tainan.I have written some books on Taoism one of them would be interesting for you too,it is Tao and Christianity.I hope that this message will get to you I am writing on the computer of my wife.Best wishes sincerely yours
    Laszlo Tabori Dr,phil.buddh.h.c. address – postal lll8 Budapest Somloi 6o.B.Hungary-

    1. Thank you for your kind message, Laszlo, yes, I would be very interested to see your book on Tao and Christianity. Best wishes for the benificent Year of the Water Dragon!

  26. Dear Mr. Saso

    I am a student of cultural anthropology and sociolgogy in Basel, Switzerland.For my B.A. final thesis I decided to take the chiao festival as a subject of observation. and will probably work with ritualtheroy (or theories) from victor turner. however, I am very glad that i found this internet site and am very excited to write to you. your life and spiritual way seems very unique, and with that, very interesting. I already got copied some pages from your book “taoism and the rite of cosmic renewal” and am reading it with great interest. i searched the web for more literature about the ritual but without much success. and thats why i am writing to you. maybe you’ve got some more recent literature about the ritual? or any other recommendations? that would be amazing.

    thanks already in advance,

    my best regards,
    laura c.

    1. Thank you for your kind email, Laura, and forgive me for not answering sooner, in a more complete form. Besides the Washington State Univ press book, there is also “The teachings of Taoist Master Chuang” (Daoist Master Zhuang, 3rd edition), that is about to appear in a new version, but I believe can be downloaded for free, on line. I can send an unedited 3rd edition copy, by e-mail, please use my e-mail address, michael_saso@yahoo.com this book was very controversial, then skyrocketed for an outlandish price in 2nd edition, for which I put it on the web for free. The Daoist Jiao 醮 ritual can be performed in many formats, some more complicated thwn others. I will soon post a more detailed article on this site. Thank you for your interest. Also, I think I can scan and send you a copy of “Taoism and the Rite of Cosmic Renewal”, that is also suppose to come out in a new edition. For popular Daoists who serve the temples and families of Chinese culture, itis a way of presenting the petitions of the people to the spirit mandarins who rule the cosmos. For the higher levels, it is a way of inner contemplation, leading to “Union with the Dao.”

  27. […] Dr. Michael Saso, Ph.D. | Michael SasoDr. Michael R. Saso Ph.D. Director, Sino-Asia Institute of America; Hawaii office: 2530 Dole St. A-310, Honolulu, HI 96822 ; Los Angeles office: 1250 Longbeach Ave, #204, Los Angeles, CA 90021; michael_saso@yahoo.com Born: Dec, 7, […]

  28. Dear Dr, Saso,
    I have been a long time practioner of Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong (40years) and to limited extent some Taoist meditation. In searching the web I came across your site and noted your writing in particular your book on Chuang Zhu. I also would be interested in a copy of the upcoming 3rd edition and Taoism and the Rite of Cosmic Renewal under whatever terms you prefer.

    All of my chinese friends have extremely high regard for both your your knowledge and practice in taoist arts. Are you still teaching? and when will your LA center be operationally up and running?

    Thanking you in advance for your reply.



    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Terry, I hope to be able to make the above mentioned works available, as soon as possible, final editing and getting a new ISBN number for the new editions should be completed soon. I do hope to also have a real study center available soon for students to come and attend class and lectures, occasional scholars and practitioners do come to visit my 2nd floor library, housed above a printing press, (a fine place for a hermitage, but a larger space is needed for serious scholars and those who actually practice to spend more time). Laozi Ch 66, “be like the ocean, stay in lowest place, and let everything flow into Dao presence. Please use my regular e-mail address, michael_saso@yahoo.com to inquire about getting preliminary copies of these works on CD or DVD

  29. Hi Michael

    Just sent you an email at your Yahoo address. Let me know if not received and I’ll paste it here


    1. Hi, Dick, thank you for the e-mail, I did receive it, and will answer

  30. Dr. and Rev. Michael Saso,
    Hi, I have several questions and I hope you can answer them. It would also be great if you could me where I can find explainations for things like these in any published books of yours or others.

    The first is regarding the use of green onions (cong/chung) by my family whenever attending funerals or the cemetary. I understand they are for protection against misfortune, but can you explain to me how and why?

    The second is the pomelo leaf used in blessings. Again why and how this came to be?

    The third is, i have heard the the term Green Dragon Moves/wWgs its Tail. Is there some significance and meaning/story to the it?

    I would appreciate it very much. Thank you.


    Bill Lee

    1. Thank you for your interesting questions, Billy. The use of “tsong” (green onion) is a homonym for “tsongming”, ie, we hope to use wisdom and gain more insights and blessings by praying for our ancestors. The Chinese notion that family blessing extends from the ancient past into the distant future is symbolized in this simple usage, common to almost all of China. The pomelo leaf is used throughout SE China, ie wherever the Pomelo tree grows, as a vehicle to dip into sacred water and purify the altar, the offerings, and our domicile. Pomelo is a large, round, golden yellow fruit, thus symbolizing “yang” light, blessing, and fullness. I prefer the color “blue-green” or “blue” dragon, ie, the term “qing” 青 stands for spring, renewal, planting and growth of new crops; thus the “blue=green dragon” brings new life to the earth by moving it’s tail. All three of these images are common to Fujian, Guangdong, Taiwan, HK, Aumen. There is much more to say, hope this is not too simplified an answer. Also, I have written a book called “Blue Dragon White Tiger,” it can be ordered through Duplicat Press, will send the address and e-mail in a separate message, with other book titles.

  31. Dr. and Rev. Saso, so you are saying that the green onions are not used for protection against badluck? I was told to throw away the green onions after leaving the feneral/cemetary but before coming home.

    I have heard of the metaphor for bright and intelligent. However, I thought there was another purpose. I have seen lion dance teams in Singapore place pomelo leaves and/or green onions with the red ribbon and horn.


    1. I may have answered your interesting query and information on Faceboom, instead of here, Bill. The green cong onion is also used for th 1st year celebration of a baby, and during the kuan capping ceremony, as a homonym for “congming”, ie praying for intelligence or the Child. See my book “Blue Dragon White Tiger” (hope to have new 2nd edition soon), for the explanations, based on the famous 1800’s scholar Lin Botung, from Guangdong. The use of the cong, pomelo leaves, and other items during the “return home” procession after the burial is meant to specifically leave behind, ie entice those elements of the human spirit not to come home and bother the living. In this sense, the Chinese consider the soul-spirit to have 7 “po” 魄or emotional – physical elements, and 3 “hum”魂 or spiritual elements, specifically qi, shen, and jing. Only the shen is brought home to be commemorated in the ancestor tablet on the family altar. Customs differ all over China, for which see the “fengsu zhi”,風俗志 a late Qing dynasty work, republished in Taipei.

  32. Yes, thank you again for sharing these details, Bill. The “cong” green onion symbol for “tsongming/congming” is used at the first year birthday of a child, during the kuan capping ceremony, and during funeral ritual. The use of it in the first 2 instances is described in my book “Blue Dragon White Tiger,” pp 132 ss; the famous Qing dynasty scholar Lin Botung wrote a 3 volume work describing the differences for Offical mandarins, Scholars, and ordinary folk used in all 4 rites of passage, ie birthing, puberty, narriage, and burial. Also the “Fengsu Zhi” (late Qing, republished in Taipei, 1960’s) describes differences found in every province of China! When used in the burial ritual, ie discarded on the way home from the actual burial, the idea is to keep the vengeful elemtns of the 3 Hun (qi, shen, jing) and seven po (emotional partsof the body left behind i the grave) from returing home to the ancestor shrine, where hopefully only good memories of the deceased are enshrined. Thus, “cong” for unfulfilled desires to be “congming” and pomelo leaves for purification are left behind for the 7 po in the grave. I have seen modern burials in Beijing where the Po are lured away from return to the famkily by dancers and acrobats, who perform in the streets and then walk away in a zigzag from the returning burial procession. I shall try to post pictures of this soon.

  33. Dr. Saso,
    Thank you. By the way when is the planned release for the 2nd edition of your book Blue Dragon White Tiger scheduled?

    I take it, it will be avaiable via the UH Press?



  34. What does version of the seven stars in this flag represent? Or is it even the & star. Why is one star moved from the ladel to the opposite end?





    1. sorry for being so late in answering! it is a very important question, the 7 stars of the dipper always point at the Beiji, north pole star, indicating that we should always be aware of Dao presence in our belly, ie xiadantian! thank you for the question! I will post on this in the main body of the blog as well!

  35. Blessings.

    1. Thank you so much, james! see you and Ellen when I return!

  36. 尊敬慈悲智慧的苏老师你好!很久没有和你联系了,你最近还好吗?请你方便时和我联系。I wish you all the best !我的联系方式。lehechoung@yahoo.com +86-1355-8759-328.

    1. 很高兴有您的消息!希望能建立los angeles 的道教中心,欢迎您和别的龙门道师过来!

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