Prof. Michael Saso, Ph.D., born in Oregon, USA, is a Catholic priest. He received his education mainly in California where he did postgraduate studies in Philosophy and Anthropology. As early as 1955, he engaged himself in Chinese Studies, first in Taiwan, studies joined with research in Theology and Anthropology, and later in the Ateneo de Manila and Yale University in the USA. He did Doctoral Research in Classical Chinese at Kyoto University, and in 1971 obtained a Doctorate from London University, School of Oriental Studies with a dissertation on Taoism and Chinese Religion, published in 1972. He has held various teaching positions, particularly at the University of Hawaii, where up to the present he is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Religious Studies. He has also been Visiting Professor in the Religion Department of Yale University (1978), Japan Foundation Scholar (1986-1988), and Fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in Beijing (1990-1995). From 1992 to the present, he has been the director of various Chinese language and culture programs, in Beijing and China.
The special dossier offered to its readers by the inaugural issue of Chinese Cross Currents , is entitled "Culture and Religion." It is made of several articles, where the authors reflect on the importance of spiritual quest in the modernisation process of China.
Professor Saso, based on his extensive studies, academic research and field work on the various religious traditions of China (mainly liturgical and monastic Taoism, plus Buddhist meditation schools) will present his observations and reflections to the interested audience.
In contemporary China, how are these precious spiritual and religious traditions preserved and developed? Do they differ or are there any points of similarity with non-Chinese spiritual quests?