The Huston Smith Reader

The Huston Smith Reader

The Huston Smith Reader

The Huston Smith Reader

Synopsis

For more than sixty years, Huston Smith has not only written and taught about the world's religions, he has lived them. This Reader presents a rich selection of Smith's writings, covering six decades of inquiry and exploration, and ranging from scholarship to memoir. Over his long academic career, Smith's tireless enthusiasm for religious ideas has offered readers both in and outside the academy a fresh understanding of what religion is and what makes it meaningful. The Huston Smith Reader offers a comprehensive guide to understanding religion and spirituality as well as a memorable record of Huston Smith's lifelong endeavor to enrich the inner lives of his fellow humans.

Excerpt

Who is Huston Smith? the answer seems straightforward. He is a retired college professor in Berkeley who taught at various universities, and he wrote books, one of which sold incredibly well. Oh yes, there’s one thing more. Huston Smith did something that nobody, no one else in the history of the world, had done or even had thought to do before.

What has Huston done that no one else had done? Simply this: he was a practitioner of practically all the major world’s religions, a unique feat in the annals of spirituality. There used to be on official forms a box where you had to write in your religion; Huston would have had a hard time squeezing into that small space Judeo- Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam.

In the beginning: Huston was born in 1919 to missionary parents in China. To that little boy Christianity was the only religion there was, identical with faith, synonymous with spirituality itself. Next: as a young man Huston met a Hindu swami in St. Louis—the only true saint he feels he ever met—and the scales, as it were, fell from his eyes. Before he had been like the bumpkin who thinks his language—English, Inuit, or whatever—is the only language there is. When Huston learned there were other languages, or rather other religions, other worlds opened for him, and for the next decade he practiced Hinduism. in middle age Huston discovered Hinduism’s stepchild, Buddhism. He had not suspected there could be such a thing: a spiritual path rooted not in faith but in experience, and at the root of experience was not Original Sin to be overcome but an innate perfection to be realized. For ten years Huston sought out Buddhist teachers and gurus, stayed in a Zen monastery in Kyoto, and strove for satori, or enlightenment. Huston had by then acquired the knack of knocking on unfa-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.