cover image Huston Smith: Essays in World Religion

Huston Smith: Essays in World Religion

Huston Smith. Paragon House Publishers, $14.95 (290pp) ISBN 978-1-55778-447-6

Marked by clarity, rare philosophical depth and a truly global perspective, these 19 essays in comparative religion are filled with challenging ideas and bold speculations. Smith ( The Religions of Man ) argues that each of the world's three great civilizations has overspecialized--the West in natural wisdom, China in social ethics, India in religious psychology--with disastrous consequences for each culture. He looks to Taoism for guidance in solving the ecological crisis, faults postmodernism for its blindness to transcendent experience, and interprets Western philosophy as a great religious enterprise fueled by a thrust toward transcendence. On a more mundane level, Smith discusses spiritual discipline in Zen, analyzes Tibetan lamas' chants and offers insights on Japanese Shintoism, the Christian ecumenical movement, ancient Vedic priests' imbibing of soma (possibly a psychedelic mushroom, he concludes) and how to teach religion. These highly accessible essays previously appeared in scholarly journals or books. (June)