[May 31, 1919 - ]
A Seat at the Table: Huston Smith in Conversation with Native Americans on
Religious Freedom (2006) by Huston Smith with Phil Cousineau,
In this collection
of illuminating conversations, renowned historian of world religions Huston
Smith invites ten influential American Indian spiritual and political
leaders to talk about their five-hundred-year struggle for religious
freedom. Their intimate, impassioned dialogues yield profound insights into
one of the most striking cases of tragic irony in history: the country that
prides itself on religious freedom has resolutely denied those same rights
to its own indigenous people. With remarkable erudition and curiosity--and
respectfully framing his questions in light of the revelation that his
discovery of Native American religion helped him round out his views of the
world's religions--Smith skillfully helps reveal the depth of the speakers'
knowledge and experience. American Indian leaders Vine Deloria, Jr.
(Lakota), Winona LaDuke (Anishinaabe), Walter Echo-Hawk (Pawnee), Frank
Dayish, Jr. (Navajo), Charlotte Black Elk (Lakota), Douglas George-Kanentiio
(Mohawk), Lenny Foster (Dine), Tonya Gonnella Frichner (Onondaga), Anthony
Guy Lopez (Lakota), and Oren Lyons (Onondaga) provide an impressive overview
of the critical issues facing the Native American community today. Their
ideas about spirituality, politics, relations with the U.S. government,
their place in American society, and the continuing vitality of their
communities give voice to a population that is all too often ignored in
contemporary discourse. The culture they describe is not a relic of the
past, nor a historical curiosity, but a living tradition that continues to
shape Native American lives.
The World's Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions (1958, 1991,
Originally titled The Religions of Man, this
completely revised and updated edition of Smith's masterpiece, now with an
engaging new foreword, explores the essential elements and teachings of the
world's predominant faiths, including:
and the native traditions of the Americas, Australia,
Africa, and Oceania.
Emphasizing the inner -- rather than institutional -- dimensions of these
religions, Smith devotes special attention to Zen and Tibetan Buddhism,
Sufism, and the teachings of Jesus. He convincingly conveys the unique
appeal and gifts of each of the traditions and reveals their hold on the
human heart and imagination.
Why Religion Matters: The Fate of the Human Spirit in an Age of Disbelief (2001,
2006) -- Winner Wilbur Award for the best book on
religion published in 2001
His most recent book, Why Religion Matters: The Fate of the
Human Spirit in an Age of Disbelief, offers a timely manifesto on the ur
gent need to restore the role of religion as the primary humanizing force
for individuals and society. Weaving together insights from comparative
religions, theology, philosophy, science, and history, along with examples
drawn from current events and his own extraordinary personal experience,
Smith gives both a convincing historical and social critique and a profound
expression of hope for the spiritual condition of humanity. Despite the
widespread belief that these are halcyon days for religion and spiritual
awareness, Smith shows how our everyday worldview is instead dominated by a
narrow scientism, materialism, and consumerism that push issues of morality,
meaning, and truth to the outer margins of society and our lives. In fact,
he finds that too much of what passes as religion these days is actually a
privatized and ungrounded debasement of true religion.
The Soul of Christianity: Restoring the Great Tradition (2005)
In his most personal and passionate book on the
spiritual life, renowned author, scholar, and teacher of world religions
Huston Smith turns to his own life-long religion, Christianity. With stories
and personal anecdotes, Smith not only presents the basic beliefs and
essential teachings of Christianity, but argues why religious belief matters
in today's secular world.
Though there is a wide variety of contemporary interpretations of
Christianity—some of them conflicting—Smith cuts through these to describe
Christianity's "Great Tradition," the common faith of the first millennium
of believers, which is the trunk of the tree from which Christianity's many
branches, twigs, and leaves have grown. This is not the exclusivist
Christianity of strict fundamentalists, nor the liberal, watered-down
Christianity practiced by many contemporary churchgoers. In exposing
biblical literalism as unworkable as well as enumerating the mistakes of
modern secularists, Smith presents the very soul of a real and substantive
faith, one still relevant and worth believing in.
Smith rails against the hijacked Christianity of politicians who exploit it
for their own needs. He decries the exercise of business that widens the gap
between rich and poor, and fears education has lost its sense of direction.
For Smith, the media has become a business that sensationalizes news rather
than broadening our understanding, and art and music have become commercial
and shocking rather than enlightening. Smith reserves his harshest
condemnation, however, for secular modernity, which has stemmed from the
misreading of science—the mistake of assuming that "absence of evidence" of
a scientific nature is "evidence of absence." These mistakes have all but
banished faith in transcendence and the Divine from mainstream culture and
pushed it to the margins.
Though the situation is grave, these modern misapprehensions can be
corrected, says Smith, by reexamining the great tradition of Christianity's
first millennium and reaping the lessons it holds for us today. This fresh
examination of the Christian worldview, its history, and its major branches
provides the deepest, most authentic vision of Christianity—one that is both
tolerant and substantial, traditional and relevant.
Buddhism: A Concise Introduction (2004) with Philip Novak
Cleansing the Doors of Perception : The Religious Significance
of Entheogenic Plants and Chemicals (2000, 2003)
Huston Smith, one of the world's most respected religious scholars and
The World's Religions, now
offers Cleansing The Doors of Perception, a course-correcting
assessment of the connections between
religious experience, and the divinely inspired life.
The entheogens are plants and chemicals that have been used, some of them
for thousands of years, and are being used today around the world, as means
for going beyond the ordinary and encountering the sacred.
The greatest single impediment to understanding the entheogens is "psychedelia":
the entire range of cultural baggage dating from the 1960s, from Day-Glo
painted minibuses to lava lamps, tied together by the implicit belief that
the most important use of entheogenic mushrooms, peyote, and their chemical
cousins is to have a perpetual Happening.
Cleansing The Doors of Perception aims to undo that confusion. It
does not restate the extreme claims of the 60s about liberation through
intoxication; rather, it asserts that those claims were profoundly mistaken
and helped cause some people to lose their spiritual way. It communicates
the key role that entheogens can play when used in contexts of faith and
discipline, and it sets out what the entheogens show us about the nature of
mind and spirit.
Smith explains that he has kept his eye on this issue throughout the last 40
years of his career because he shares
Aldous Huxley's opinion that nothing is more curious, or to his thinking
more important, than the role that mind-altering plants and chemicals have
played in human history. "My intent," writes Smith, "has been to produce a
work that touches on the major facets of its enigmatic subject as seen
through the eyes of someone (myself) who, given my age, may have thought and
written more about it than anyone else alive."
The Way Things Are: Conversations with Huston Smith on the Spiritual Life (2003)
Working with Phil Cousineau, Smith has recently
completed a collection of over thirty interviews he has given over the last
four decades. This book will reveal the roots of Smith's search for the
fundamental mystical truths at the heart of religion.
Islam: A Concise Introduction
The world's premier authority on religious
traditions presents a concise and timely guide to the history, teachings,
and practice of Islam.
One Nation Under God: The Triumph of the Native American Church (1996), Huston Smith and Reuben Snake,
Gregorian Chant: Songs of the Spirit (1996), Huston Smith, ed. with Don Randell,
Contributor and David Wakely, Photographer
The Illustrated World's Religions: A Guide to Our Wisdom
Retaining all the beloved qualities of Huston Smith's
classic The Religions of Man and the current fully revised and
updated The World's Religions, this stunning pictorial presentation refines
the text to its wonderful essentials. In detailed, absorbing, richly
illustrated, and highly readable chapters on Hinduism, Buddhism,
Confucianism, Taoism, Islam,
primal religions, we find refreshing and fascinating presentations of both
the differences and the similarities among the worldwide religious
traditions. The approach is at once classic and contemporary, retaining all
the empathy, eloquence and erudition that millions of readers love about the
earlier editions, while being edited and designed for a contemporary general
readership. This delightful marriage of winsome text and remarkable pictures
vividly brings to life the scope and vision of Huston Smith's expertise and
Forgotten Truth: The Common Vision of the World's Religions
This classic companion to The World's
Religions articulates the remarkable unity that underlies the world's
Huston Smith: Essays on World Religion (1992), M. Darrol Bryant,
Beyond the Post-Modern Mind: The Place of Meaning in a Global Civilization
(1982, 1989, 2003)
"Rationalism and Newtonian science has lured us into
dark woods," says Huston Smith, "but a new metaphysics can rescue us." In
this new revised edition, Smith explores the "dark woods"—modernity—which
can be characterized by a loss of faith in transcendence. Through his
fourteen critically acclaimed essays, he invites us to step outside our
current Western outlook to see our worldview in perspective. He
distinguishes between the "traditional" worldview that placed God at the
center of the universe; the "modern" view in which science ruled; and the
"postmodern" view that doubts whether the universe makes sense at all.
Smith begins by tracing the course of Western civilization that has brought
it to the postmodern period. This enables him to establish a vantage point
for viewing the Modern/Postmodern scene, and then to examine several aspects
of contemporary culture, such as science, theology, education, and the
humanities. In the final chapters, Smith offers suggestions for moving out
of the woods and into a twenty-first century that affirms the ultimate
truths of love, the human soul, and the Divine. With a new preface and a new
final chapter, this edition proves to be a guiding light in a time of doubt.
The Religions of Man: Our Great Wisdom Traditions (1965)
Music of Tibet: The Gyuto Multiphonic
Click here to purchase
from A Gems Tone Non-profet Project.
All proceeds exclusive of actual production costs benefit Gyuto
Tantric University through the Dalai Lama.
The style of chanting heard on this tape was
introduced into Tibet from India (where the art has long been lost)
by Marpa in the eleventh century. In 1474, Gyuto was founded (along
with Gyume) as one of the two Tibetan monasteries that were
dedicated to using this mode of chanting for the ritualistic
transmission of the most ancient, sacred, and esoteric teachings of
the Buddha. The extraordinary vocal abilities this chanting requires
first came to the West’s attention in 1968 through Huston Smith’s
The Music of Tibet (Anthology Records), and it is from the masters
for that disc that this CD was recorded.
The Roots of Fundamentalism: A Conversation with Huston Smith and Phil Cousineau
After watching this interview, you may find yourself asking whose
side Huston Smith is on. In the present atmosphere of "with us or
against us," Smith’s informed and dispassionate take on
Fundamentalism falls into neither familiar, comfortable camp.
The occasion for the interview was a Phil Cousineau article,
entitled Why Fundamentalism Matters, for Parabola Magazine. The
interview begins with Christian Fundamentalism, a topic Smith came
to, in his own words, "loaded for bear," having just written the
book The Soul of Christianity: Restoring the Great Tradition.
However, the topic develops into fundamentalism as it manifests
itself in religion in general.
The Wisdom of Faith with Huston
Smith: A Bill Moyers Special
For half a century Huston Smith has immersed himself in the
world's religions, seeking to understand their hold on the human
heart and imagination. Now, Bill Moyers talks with Smith about how
the six great religions -- Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism,
Christianity, Judaism and Islam -- differ, and what they hold in
Richly embellished with art, architecture, music and poetry from
around the world, the series leads you to an understanding of the
common heart of religious experience. Smith relates how he
discovered the mysteries of multi-phonic chanting during a
sabbatical among Tibetan monks. He discusses the intertwining of
opposites, the key to Confucianism,
Taoism and Buddhism. Smith
offers his interpretation of the meaning of prayer in Western
religions, and speaks of the difficulty of achieving spirituality
today. He sees all of the world's religions offering windows to the
same transcendent truths. Titles are: "Hinduism and Buddhism,"
"Confucianism," "Christianity and Judaism," "Islam," and "A Personal
A Personal Philosophy
This program summarizes and distills what we
have learned about the great religions in this series. Smith's
lifetime of experience and study helps him to go beyond the
differences between each tradition. He shows how the cultivation of
virtues valued by all religions -- intelligence, compassion,
creativity, truth, beauty, and goodness -- can lead to
transcendence. In the many faces of God he has contemplated, Huston
Smith sees no conflict. He believes them all to be windows on the
same transcendent truths. All wisdom traditions ultimately make the
same claim, that everything emanates from an absolute perfection.
Christianity and Judaism
Born in China of missionary parents, Smith
learned about Chinese language, culture, and religion while
growing up near Shanghai. Smith explains how the intertwining of
opposites is key to understanding the great religions of China
Taoism, and Buddhism. Smith shows that Eastern
religions provide "an emphasis on direct experience and a method
for attaining that." He introduces yoga, which he has been
practicing for 50 years, as one such method.
Hinduism and Buddhism
This program explores the two great
religions to come from India.
The historian of religion can find almost anything
he wants in India, enacted with intensity. What remains is to carry
its insight into everyday life.
Smith uncovered the mysteries of multiphonic
chanting among Tibetan lamas, previously unknown in the West.
Characterizing these chants as "the holiest sound I have ever
heard," Smith reveals the chanting to be a form of meditation. Smith
spent ten weeks with a Zen master silently meditating 8 hours a day,
where he derived insights that help the viewer understand the way of
Note: This series can also be bought it its entirety
at the PBS website.
The Sacred Unconscious
At the height of his extraordinary career, a
man who exemplifies the virtues of the spiritual path speaks of some
of his own transforming experiences and insights.
With anecdotes, humor, radiance, and a twinkle in
his eye, a giant in the field of world religions shares profoundly
personal experiences which have changed his life. Speaking at
Kentucky's Cathedral Heritage Foundations' Festival of Faiths 2000,
Professor Smith observes that the Festival's theme, Healing Mind,
Body, and Soul "comes down to who we "are"-the recovery of the
original divine station." Professor Smith describes what he
considers to be the "deep lying elements" for understanding the
healing of mind, body, and soul. He answers the basic questions of
"who we are" by providing an insightful analysis of the four levels
of the unconscious, the most important being the sacred which, he
maintains, is linked with God as our "imago Dei." And, he recounts
his own transforming experience of this place of Beauty, Bliss, and
Joy, which each of us knows in dreamless sleep. Were the mind, body,
and soul not re-charged or "healed" every night by direct contact
with the Divine, we could not endure our lives. Professor Smith
believes we must think more highly of our "selves." Additional
treats are his mention of a personal hero: Wendell Berry, and his
moving tribute to Ram Dass/Richard
Alpert (Be Here Now), whose paralyzing stroke gave him the "gift
of suffering": closeness to God and the dismantling of the
"persona." But what is most moving about this precious footage is
the wise and luminous presence of Huston Smith himself, a man who
clearly embodies the virtues of the spiritual path.
Note: This video is available from
Paths beyond Ego: The Transpersonal Vision
(1993), Frances Vaughan and
Roger Walsh, eds.
Aldous Huxley, Bill Devall,
Charles Tart, Christina Groff, the
Huston Smith, Jack Kornfield, Jayne Gackenbach, John Welwood,
Ken Wilber, Kenneth Ring,
Ram Dass, Sri Aurobindo,
Stanislav Grof, Stephen LaBerge,
William James and many, many more.
Timothy Leary: Outside Looking In: Appreciations, Castigations, and Reminiscences (1999) by Robert Forte
A memorial volume to one of this century's most
colorful and pioneering figures in the consciousness movement
A wide array of individuals from all stages of Leary's life provides a
comprehensive view of the man and his impact on American culture
One of the most influential and controversial people of the 20th century,
Timothy Leary inspired profound feelings--both pro and con--from everyone
with whom he came into contact. He was extravagant, grandiose, enthusiastic,
erratic, and an unrelenting proponent of expanding consciousness and
challenging authority. His experiments with psilocybin and LSD at Harvard
University and Millbrook, New York, were instrumental in propelling the
nation into the psychedelic era of the 1960s. From the 1980s until his death
in 1996 he fully embraced the possibilities of freedom offered by the
developments in computer technology and the instant communication made
possible by the Internet.
The essence of Leary's life has often been reduced to the celebrated formula
of "Turn On, Tune In, and Drop Out." The wider implications of this esoteric
call to communion have been lost, just as the multifaceted nature of Leary's
personality was obscured by the superficial spin put on his life and ideas.
In this book a wide array of individuals from all stages of Leary's life,
friends and foes alike, provides a more complete view of the man and his
impact on American culture.
It is still too early to know how posterity will judge the man and his
ideas, but Timothy Leary: Outside Looking In shows that Leary was
often so far ahead of his time that few could follow the extensive range of
Includes Appreciations, Castigations, and
Reminiscences by Allen Ginsberg, Andrew Weil,
Hunter S. Thompson,
Huston Smith, Ram
Dass, William Burroughs,
Winona Ryder, and Others.
Higher Wisdom: Eminent Elders Explore The Continuing Impact Of Psychedelics (2005),
Charles S. Grob and
Roger Walsh, eds.
Psychedelics have been a part—often a central and
sacred part—of most societies throughout history, and for half a century
psychedelics have rumbled through the Western world, seeding a subculture,
titillating the media, fascinating youth, terrifying parents, enraging
politicians, and intriguing researchers. Not surprisingly, these curious
chemicals fascinated some of the foremost thinkers of the twentieth century,
fourteen of whom were interviewed for this book. Because no further human
research can be done, these researchers constitute an irreplaceable
resource. Higher Wisdom offers their fascinating anecdotes, invaluable
knowledge, and hard-won wisdom—the culmination of fifty years of research
and reflection on one of the most intriguing and challenging topics of our
time. Includes interviews with
Albert Hofmann, Alexander T.
Shulgin, Ann Shulgin,
Gary Fisher, Huston
Smith, James Fadiman,
Laura Archera Huxley,
Myron J. Stolaroff,
Peter T. Furst,
and Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
The Road To Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries (1978, 2004)
by Carl A. Ruck,
Albert Hofmann, Danny Staples, Huston Smith,
Jeremy Bigwood, Jonathan Ott, and R. Gordon Wasson
Hallucinogens: A Reader (2002) by
It's been forty years since Timothy Leary sat beside a
swimming pool in Cuernavaca, Mexico, ingested several grams of the genus
Stropharia cubensis, and experienced a dazzling display of visions that led
him to herald the dawning of a New Age. And yet, from the counterculture
movement of the 1960s, through the War on Drugs, to this very day, the world
at large has viewed hallucinogens not as a gift but as a threat to society.
In Hallucinogens, Charles Grob
surveys recent writings from Donald M.
Glenn H. Shepard,
Jeremy Narby, Lawrence Bush,
Myron J. Stolaroff,
Rick J. Strassman,
Terence McKenna, and
Thomas Riedlinger -- illustrating
that a reevaluation of the social worth of hallucinogens-used
intelligently-is greatly in order.
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