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.