Huston Smith: Essays on World Religion

By Huston Smith; M. Darrol Bryant | Go to book overview

This Ecumenical Moment: What Are We Seeking?

Gathered as we are from the ends of the earth, poised on the brink of a week that is sure to be interesting and holds promise of being more than that: What are we seeking? What have we come hoping to find?

I think of four possible areas of gain: social, academic, theological or doctrinal, and personal.

Let's begin with the social.


1. SOCIAL

We live in a world that is scourged with animosity--factions, fratricide, hatred, and war. Governments, profligate in death, are spending over $2 billion a day on war or preparations for war. Religion becomes implicated in these conflicts. Pogroms, crusades, wars of religion--CardinalNewman's anguished cry still rings in our ears:

"Oh how we hate one another for the love of God!"

In their relations with each other, though, Buddhism and Christianity seem to have been spared on this score. Currently at peace with one another, they don't even have much of a history of conflict. This happy absence of friction between our two faiths gives us the opportunity to join ranks in considering how we might work together to temper the nationalism, power struggles, and injustices that plague our world. Three of our five evening sessions will deal

____________________
This essay was originally a plenary address in 1987 at a major international conference in Berkeley entitled "Buddhism and Christianity: Toward the Human Future." It then appeared in Japanese Religions 15, 1 ( January 1988).

-250-

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Huston Smith: Essays on World Religion
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction xv
  • Notes xxix
  • PART I FOUNDATIONS 1
  • Accents of the World's Philosophies 3
  • Accents of the World's Religions 18
  • Conclusion 32
  • Notes 33
  • Truth in Comparative Perspective 37
  • PART II THE SPLENDID PRISM 55
  • East Asia Transcendence in Traditional China 57
  • Tao 1 Now: An Ecological Testament 71
  • A Note on Shinto 93
  • Spiritual Discipline in Zen and Comparative Perspective 96
  • "Celestial Mirages": Reflections on Thought and Truth 113
  • Conclusion 123
  • Notes 124
  • South Asia India and the Infinite 129
  • Vedic Religion and the Soma Experience 135
  • Conclusion 152
  • BIBLIOGRAPRY 155
  • The Importance of the Buddha 161
  • Tibetan Chant: Inducing the Spirit 1 166
  • References 175
  • The West The Western Way: An Essay on Reason and the Given 176
  • The Conceptual Crisis in the Modern West 197
  • Western Philosophy as a Great Religion 205
  • PART III CONSEQUENCES: SOCIAL, EDUCATIONAL, AND ECUMENICAL 225
  • The Relevance of the Great Religions for the Modern World 227
  • Another World to Live in, or How I Teach the Introductory Course 237
  • This Ecumenical Moment: What Are We Seeking? 250
  • Conclusion 260
  • Postmodernism's Impact on the Study of Religion 262
  • References 279
  • Bibliography 281
  • Index 288
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