Just Good Company
A Cyberjournal of Religion and Culture
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Michael Saso, a former California Province Jesuit with a PhD from the University of London, and the author of more than a dozen books on Asian spirituality, has been commuting between Carmel, California, and various parts of China and Tibet for the past 15 years. For 20 years, he was a professor of Religious Studies at the University of Hawaii and he is now on the faculty of Beijing's Capital Wushu University and the California State University Monterey Bay.

He is the founder of the Beijing-based AARLI, THE ADVANCED ASIAN RESEARCH AND LANGUAGE INSTITUTE, designed to meet a growing, worldwide need for high-level, cost-effective study in China under the supervision of a team of renowned scholars.

AARLI works with the Ricci Institute at the University of San Francisco, and with the Jesuits' Ricci Institute in Macau, and receives additional accreditation from California State University Monterey Bay. AARLI is open to qualified young people and adults from anywhere and everywhere who wish to enroll for credit in the courses outlined below. Costs are reasonable -- $3600 per semester -- compared to semester fees of $9,000 to $12,000 at most U.S. universities' study-abroad programs. Candidates can learn more at the AARLI website http://www.aarli.com/ .

Dr. Saso makes a special invitation to readers of JustGoodCompany to join him on one or another of two Tibetan Pilgrimages he is leading this summer, beginning with a "Birth of Buddha" trip, May 25 through June 7, and ending with the North Tibet Summer Festival at Dawu Township, Goluk area, Amdo, July 25 thru Aug. 7. Per person costs for the May-June pilgrimage, round trip airfare from LA or San Francisco included, are $2,800 ($2,300 for students). For the July-August trip: $1,600.

AARLI gives a commission to educational institutions or individuals who help enroll students in its courses. All of AARLI's profits go to building schools and clinics in China, and for scholarships to needy students. This fall, AARLI paid the tuition for the first Muosuo woman to go to grad school in the U.S. (The Muosuo, a matriarchal people, live on the shores of Lake Lughu in Tibet; Dr. Saso has been studying the Muosuo people since 1991.)

You can email Dr. Saso at Msaso@aol.com for further information.

Tell him we sent you!

The Advanced Asian Research And Language Institute, Beijing,
Announces New, Inter-Disciplinary BA, MA, & PhD Programs,
10-14 Day Tibetan Pilgrimages, And Opportunities To Help
In Building And Sponsoring Schools In Greater Tibet

Michael Saso

The Advanced Asian Research and Language Institute, recruiting in cooperation with California State University Monterey Bay, and the Ricci Institute of Macau (assisting the University of San Francisco's Pacific Rim program), offers 100 DAYS OF STUDY IN ASIA, with cost-effective research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, with the option of getting an MA degree in select disciplines.  Students who enroll in the AARLI program spend at least 100 days -- one or more semesters -- of specialized study in select Asian universities, including Beijing, Lhasa (Tibet), Xining (Amdo, North Tibet), Macau, Hongkong, and, by special arrangement, can also choose independent research opportunities in study-related locations.

1. MA, Religious Studies, with inter-disciplinary focus on East Asia, including Buddhism, Taoism (Daoism), Shinto, and Altaic Shaman, with demonstrated understanding of Islam, the Judaic-Christian traditions of Europe-origin cultures, South and SE Asia, and religions of the Southern continents. The reference guide for research is found in A New Handbook of Living Religions, edited by John R. Hinnells, (Penguin: 1998). Candidates for the MA degree must show teaching competence in "World Religions" and expertise in one of the major areas of Asian religions, and produce a written thesis.

2. MFA, Masters Degree in Fine Arts. Inter-disciplinary abilities in computer & information technology, documentary movie or video production, (dance, drama, scenario or documentary script writing), website creation and maintenance, editing, advertising and public relations skills. Candidate must demonstrate competency in teaching and working in at least one of the chosen study fields. They will produce a video or a film documentary illustrating research in the field, and write an MA thesis describing the goals and outcomes of the completed MFA study program.

3. M.A.S.H., Masters Degree in Social Humanities, with inter-disciplinary focus on cultural history, ethnography, language, literature, festivals, and the philosophical assumptions behind chosen fields of ethnographic research: East Asia, China, Japan, Tibet, SE Asia, the cultures of the Philippines, SE Asia's Mienh-Yao, Hmong-Miao, Aini-Hani-Akka, Lisu, Lahu, Wa, Muosuo, Bulang, Pumi, and related cultures on the China-Burma-Laos-Vietnam borders; Mexico, Central, and South America's non-European cultures, festivals, and languages; South Pacific-Hawaiian cultures, and Native American (Canada & USA) cultures, with an emphasis on the languages and festivals of California and the Southwest. To qualify for the IMA degree, candidates must be able to teach elementary, high school, or university courses in the chosen fields of research, prepare a video-documentary of research in the field, and write an MA thesis to be used as an instructional tool in the chosen fields of expertise,

AARLI also offers upper division undergraduate and beginning graduate level courses in Asia during the 100 day study abroad program in Asia:

1. A Cultural History of China and Tibet. A 3-4 unit intensive seminar, taught by Michael Saso, CSUMB professor of World Language & Culture, and of The People's University, Beijing, chaired by Prof. Huilin Yang, PhD, and conducted in English by Prof. Shen Wei (ABD). Students must demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the 25 dynastic histories, and modern China, the literary classics, the philosophical schools, and the "three religions one culture" (Confucian, Buddhist, Daoist) system of China. Content and structure of the course is based on the Harvard University textbook of J.A.G. Roberts, A Concise History of China, (Harvard: 2000), and Dr. Saso's Blue Dragon White Tiger: A Structural Study of Chinese Religion and Culture, (Univ. Of Hawaii Press, Honolulu: 2000). Tests and grades for the course are determined by essay and written examination.

2. The Ethnography of China.   (Anthro 395) In China, ethnography is considered a social science and a hard science: a social science because it records the structure and function of cultural-ethnic groups within the boundaries of greater China, and a hard science because it demands the proof of a linguistic and cultural origin hypothesis, through an accurate and detailed description in written and visual documentary form of one or more of China's 65 recognized minorities (with over 100 sub-divisions of official, state-recognized ethnic groups), including Tibetan, Chinese Turkestani, Yunnan-Tibeto-Burmese and Austronesian, Mongol, northeastern Altaic, and folk cultures of rural and urban Han China.

The Study Abroad program run by AARLI (in collaboration with CSUMB's Continuing Education, and the Study Abroad Office) allows students to take part in Ethnography courses taught at the Beijing University of Ethnography, (Minzu Daxue) and its research sites throughout China. Students who enroll in Anthro/Ethnogr. 395 spend one semester studying with China's best known scholars in fields of special interest. They do: a) intensive training in Beijing, to learn ethnographic methods, and the specialized vocabulary of Ethnography in the Chinese language; b) directed research in one or more of China's minority cultures; and c) guided field experience recording the customs and festivals of a chosen ethnic minority group. AARLI students will elect to study with one of the following university professors of Ethnography in their specialized field of interest:

Prof. Li Ziran, PhD, Ethnography; world renowned expert on Hani-Aini linguistics and culture; Prof. Li is author of extensive books and articles on The Hani-Aini-Akka culture, a cultural-linguistic group found along the China-Laos-Burma border, with branches extending as far south as the golden triangle in north Thailand. The Hani are linguistically of Tibeto-Burmese origin, migrating from Mongolia in ancient times through Szechuan, Yunnan, into a wide area which include the Yunnan Red River and Xishuangbanna areas, portions of Thai, Burma, and Laos. Study of the Hani focuses on the Red River and the Xishuangbanna areas within China, where the cultures are preserved in their more primitive forms, with short trips to the Yao-Mienh, Miao- Hmong, Bulang, Wa, Lisu, and/or Lahu tribal villages in SW Yunnan. Before enrolling in Anth 395, CSUMB students are advised to have one semester of Chinese language study at CSUMB/DLEE/USF, or an intensive summer session with AARLI in Beijing.

Prof. Tudeng Puntsok, Ph.D., Tibetan Religion, Medicine, and Culture. Prof. Puntsok is a world renowned expert on Tibetan medicine, and the Cultural-religious history of Tibet. He is a native of the Kham (eastern) province of Tibet, has studied as a Kagyupa monk in Derge, the Buddhist printing press city of Kham, has written and published extensively on Tibetan medicine, Tibetan Buddhism, and the relationship between Daoism and Tantric Buddhist ritual meditation. He is a regular invitee to Buddhist Studies conferences in the USA, and lectures in English, Chinese, and Tibetan language.

Course materials include: a) participation in the "Cultural History of Tibet" seminar; b) basic principles of Tibetan medicine, herbal collection and identification (with field work in Kham identifying and collecting herbal remedies); c) a comparative study of the Daoist Yinyang, Five Element, 8 trigram and 12 stems (months) system with the practice of Tibetan Tantric meditation and healing, in Kham cultural area field work.

• One full length written paper with video or power-point presentation are required for credit in either of these two courses, earning up to 4 upper division or graduate units.

• Students with special interest in the Islamic areas of China, Uighur, Tajik, Khirgiz, and Kazhak, OR the Mongol related cultural and linguistic areas of Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang (Daoba, Owenke, Olunchun areas) may also arrange for analogous courses in these fields, with case-by-case permission from specialized university professors of Ethnography.

3. Intensive Language Courses in Asia. AARLI students take intensive Chinese Language courses while on the 100 days in Asia program. Languages include Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Mandarin Chinese, Tibetan, Cantonese, and the languages of Chinese minority cultures, taught at The Beijing University of Ethnography. To enroll in these language courses, phone Dan Granger, (831) 582-4500, Ric Donovan, (831) 582-3512, Michael Saso, (831) 625-7635, or www.aarli.com

4. PhD programs administered through AARLI: Upon completing an MA course of studies, and being awarded the MA degree, successful MA candidates may opt for the special research AARLI/BEIJING PhD degree, administered in the manner of the European system. Candidates choose three "readers" or academic specialists in the chosen field of doctoral research. Under their guidance, after two years of intensive field and textual research, they write a publishable (or published) PhD thesis, consisting of an original research project, and a full length video documentary for teaching purposes. To be awarded the interdisciplinary PhD, candidates must successfully defend the thesis-and-documentary during their third year of doctoral work before a board of examiners,


AARLI degree courses are offered at the AARLI Center in Beijing (11 North 3rd Circle Rd., the Shoudu Tiyu Daxue Campus) in conjunction with the People's University (Renmin Daxue), and the Ethnography University (Minzu Daxue) of Beijing, and the Macau Ricci Institute, in conjunction with the International University of Macau (IUM). Students may enroll in IUM's MBA, MIT, and MAE programs, after completing the AARLI 100 days in Asia courses.

TIBET PILGRIMS: each summer, from May through August, AARLI offers special pilgrimages to the sacred sites and festivals of Tibet. The Pilgrims fly from LA or San Francisco to Beijing, then visit Lhasa's Jhokang, Potala, Sera, and Nechong monastery shrines, Shigatse's Tashilumpo, Gyantse's Kumbun Stupa and Monastery, Neji Kangsa Snow Mtn pass, Yamtso Lakes, Ganden Khora, Zongkapa's meditation cave, and the Ganden sky burial site. Finally, they visit Beijing's Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and Silk Alley markets. See www.aarli.com for dates.

SCHOOLS AND CLINICS IN TIBET: AARLI has raised funds and built five schools and one clinic in greater Tibet. Pilgrims are invited to visit these sites and participate in AARLI's cultural and educational preservation work in Tibet.

AARLI's economical courses are open to participating universities, and all students who seek to do serious quality focused research and linguistic work in China.


Michael Saso, a former California Province Jesuit with a PhD from the University of London, and the author of more than a dozen books on Asian spirituality, has been commuting between Carmel, California, and various parts of China and Tibet for the past 15 years. For 20 years, he was a professor of Religious Studies at the University of Hawaii and he is now on the faculty of Beijing's Capital Wushu University and the California State University Monterey Bay.

He is the founder of the Beijing-based AARLI, THE ADVANCED ASIAN RESEARCH AND LANGUAGE INSTITUTE, designed to meet a growing, worldwide need for high-level, cost-effective study in China under the supervision of a team of renowned scholars.