July 23, 2021 • ISSUE 582
Computer Science Alumnus and Daoist Master
Master Zhang was on faculty at Zhejiang University in China in the 1980s when he learned the Transcendental Meditation® technique. In 1986 he learned about MIU’s holistic approach to education and decided to enroll.
“When I arrived at MIU, I was deeply touched by the genuine care and friendliness the MIU leaders, faculty, and staff gave us,” said Master Zhang.
After graduating from MIU, he worked in the US and earned a green card. However, a few years later he returned to China to pursue his new goal. At a sacred Daoist site at Tiantai Mountain in Zhejiang province, he has built a cluster of 12 temples, known as Tong Bai Gong Palaces, and established the first Daoist college in the province. The palaces are among the most visited Daoist places in China.
Over the years, Master Zhang stayed in touch with MIU and in 2012 received a visit from MIU President Bevan Morris.
The college has hundreds of students who grow vegetables on the campus grounds and follow a vegetarian diet. They also perform Daoist ceremonies every day to prevent natural disasters, such as typhoons, which plague the area every year. Master Zhang said that these practices have protected Tiantai county from typhoons over the past 17 years.
“Like Maharishi’s Vedic knowledge, the Daoist practices have produced all of these miracles in the past many decades,” he said. “Maharishi’s Vedic knowledge is the knowledge of Dao.”
These achievements have attracted the attention of environmental organizations and world leaders, and Master Zhang spoke at a 2015 climate summit in Paris and met with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in 2017. In the same year, he became the general secretary elect for the World Federation of Daoism.
One of the central aspects of Master Zhang’s mission is the protection of the environment. “The Chinese Daoists focused on the unity of human and nature,” he said. “The world is united now, we are united as one to protect our only home, planet Earth.”
For his contribution to the Daoist tradition, to education, and to world peace and harmony, MIU awarded Master Zhang with an honorary doctorate at the 2021 commencement ceremony. In his acceptance speech, Master Zhang invited all MIU alumni and students to stay at his complex for free. “Just mention TM and MIU,” he said.