Book Review: Soul Wisdom: Practical Soul Treasures to Transform Your Life by Zhi Gang Sha
by Rich Deem

Spiritual Snake Oil

I don't usually review books on New Age or Eastern spirituality, but since Simon & Schuster sent me an unsolicited copy of Soul Wisdom, I figured I would take a look. The first sentence caught my attention: "The purpose of life is to serve." I thought that this book might be different from the usual "do this and you will get what you want" approach of most spirituality books. However, to my disappointment, instead of advocating true service to humanity, this book says that you can provide "universal service" merely by chanting and getting "Divine Downloads" by reading the book. Not only that, but you can make yourself well and get all the money you need using the same technique. Of course, since this is a book series on "Soul Power," the author will probably benefit financially through all those "downloads."

Rich Deem


Soul Wisdom: Practical Soul Treasures to Transform Your LifeZhi Gang Sha is a grandmaster of several Eastern disciplines, in addition to being a "Western medical doctor" (although his online CV indicates that his medical degree is from China). However, I can assure you that the "wisdom" provided by his book did not come from Western medicine. According to Zhi Gang Sha, "the Divine" appeared to him (but not to the others in the room) in 2003 to announce the "Universal Law of Universal Service." However, unlike service that requires hard work (such as housing the homeless, helping underprivileged children with schooling, clearing trash from the environment, etc.), this "service" merely requires some chanting and reading this book for "enlightenment." What could be easier! Later in 2003, the Divine appeared again and announced that he had chosen Zhi Gang Sha as the instrument through whom "Soul Software" could be "downloaded" to souls everywhere. The new "Soul Light Era" began on August 8, 2003 and will supposedly last 15,000 years. According to Zhi Gang Sha, he was chosen because he had "served humanity for more than 1000 lifetimes." The problem with this idea is that, according to Wikipedia, Zhi Gang Sha is the 373rd generation of a kingly line stretching back 4,300 years. Even so, this would make his average lifespan during each of those 1000+ lives only 4 years long. I guess it is possible that he began serving as a Neanderthal or bug! Zhi Gang Sha doesn't seem to offer a section on humility, but that is not really surprising.


According to Soul Wisdom, every living and non-living  entity contains a soul. This includes "Mother Earth", rocks, and even DNA and RNA (probably can be found within their electron clouds?). For this reason, every problem that could possibly exist can be solved through a "soul transplant." During this "Soul Light Era" "Soul Power" is the means by which humanity will evolve and transform. During Zhi Gang Sha's interaction with the Divine, he was told that "My Soul Software is a golden healing ball that rotates and clears energy and spiritual blockages..." Sounds like Western medicine to me!

Comparison to the Bible

Soul Wisdom says that all objects - both living and inanimate possess souls. However, according to the Bible, only certain higher animals (nephesh),1 posses souls, and other than God Himself2 and angels,3 only human beings posses a spirit.4 Inanimate objects do not contain souls. Contrary to the claim of Soul Wisdom, in my years of molecular biology research, I have never encountered an RNA or DNA molecule with a soul. Just think, when we run PCR we are actually cloning souls!

Soul Wisdom says that ones obtains "Soul Software" through repetitive chanting. In Zhi Gang Sha's description, the chanting begins slowly and builds up speed through several sets of repetitions until one can chant no faster. Is the Divine hard of hearing so that we have to repeat ourselves over and over? Does he have to be told over and over again before he acts? Does speaking rapidly get the Divine's attention and cause him to give us what we want? In contrast to this Eastern approach, the Bible says to simply make your requests be known to God.5 Jesus said that we were not to "use meaningless repetition" to pray to God.6

Not wanting to just "preach to the choir," Zhi Gang Sha throws out a couple bones to a potential Christian and Roman Catholic audience, claiming Jesus and Mother Mary were great souls that had been given "Divine Soul Power." During the 15,000 year "Soul Light Era, all souls will join as one and align their consciousness with the divine consciousness." However, the Bible says that God alone defines morality and how people should behave. Human beings do not join consciousnesses to tell God how things should be done!

Conclusion Top of page

Soul Wisdom might be better subtitled "The Lazy Man's Version of Universal 'Service'." Like other spiritual self-help and name-it/claim-it books, Zhi Gang Sha provides a way to "enlightenment," health, and wealth simply by reading his book and blindly following his directions. However, no matter how well one follows the directions in Soul Wisdom, one is going to die someday and come face to face with the Divine. If the real purpose of life is not to gain health and wealth and do soul transplants, but instead to follow God's directions for living, then all that chanting will have been worthless. One must consider that possibility that Jesus was right about the greatest commandments - the first being to love God, and second to love your neighbor.7 Jesus made it clear that loving one's neighbor involved providing tangible help to them (food, water, shelter, caring for the sick, etc.).8

References Top of page

  1. Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew Definitions:
    nephesh nephesh (Strong's H5315)
    1. soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion
      1. that which breathes, the breathing substance or being, soul, the inner being of man
      2. living being
      3. living being (with life in the blood)
      4. the man himself, self, person or individual
      5. seat of the appetites
      6. seat of emotions and passions
      7. activity of mind
        1. dubious
      8. activity of the will
        1. dubious
      9. activity of the character
        1. dubious
    Part of Speech: noun feminine
    A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: from H5314
    Same Word by TWOT Number: 1395a
  2. "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24)
  3. Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)
  4. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)
    Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
  5. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)
  6. "And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words." (Matthew 6:7)
  7. "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And He said to him, " 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' " (Matthew 22:36-39)
  8. "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.' Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?' Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (Matthew 25:31-46)
Last Modified March 6, 2008


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