Thursday, September 23, 2010

Michael Saso

Michael R. Saso (born December 7, 1930) is a Professor Emeritus of the University of Hawaii Department of Religion. He is a scholar of the religious practices of Japan and China, with a particular emphasis on Taoism.

He earned the following degrees: B.A., Literature, St. Clara University, 1952; M.A., Philosophy/Anthropology, Gonzaga University, 1955; M.A., Chinese Studies, Yale University, 1964; Ph.D., Classical Chinese/Anthropology, University of London 1971. He joined the University of Hawaii as an associate professor in 1974, later becoming a professor of Chinese religion.

Saso 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 priest.

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 to the Catholic priesthood in 1998 and is now connected with the New Life Center in Carmel, California, as a priest in the Diocese of San Jose.

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