The Way Things Are: Conversations with Huston Smith on the Spiritual Life

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9780520238169: The Way Things Are: Conversations with Huston Smith on the Spiritual Life

"Where can we find what is ultimately meaningful? How can we discover what is truly worth knowing?" In one form or another Huston Smith has been posing these questions to himself—and the world—all his life. In the course of seeking answers, he has become one of the most interesting, enlightening, and celebrated voices on the subject of religion and spirituality throughout the world. The twenty-three interviews and essays in this volume, edited by cultural historian and filmmaker Phil Cousineau, offer a uniquely personal perspective on Smith's own personal journey, as well as wide-ranging reflection on the nature and importance of the religious quest.

In The Way Things Are, readers will find Smith in conversation with some of the world's most influential personalities and religious leaders, from journalist Bill Moyers to religion scholar Philip Novak, and recounting his personal experiences with such luminaries as Joseph Campbell, Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, Daisetz Suzuki, Ram Dass, and the Dalai Lama. Throughout these engaging exchanges Smith speaks with passion and humor of his upbringing as the son of missionary parents in China, of the inspiring and colorful individuals he has known, and of his impressions of the different religious and philosophical traditions he has encountered. A fascinating view of the state of world religion and religious leadership over the past fifty years, the book also looks to the future with a final interview on the vital importance of the transcendent message of religion for the post-9/11 world. Readers will find The Way Things Are to be Huston Smith's most and accessible book to date.

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From the Inside Flap:

"My idea of heaven (here on earth) is sitting in a room and listening to Huston Smith talk (and sparkle and sing); the next best thing, surely, is having him here, as he is in these pages, passing on his contagious delight and excitement in the Real in a voice of miraculous clarity and humanity. I can't think of a more moving and beautiful, more rigorous and wise, book to help us through these troubled times."—Pico Iyer

"In this his new book, Huston Smith gives us his readers a priceless gift during our time of struggle with the nature of good and evil, carefully differentiating between the concepts of good and perfect."—Robert A. Johnson, author of Inner Work and We

"Huston Smith, in conversation, sometimes becomes as spontaneous and radiant as the ineffable beauty he talks about. Not all the time. He admits to having a spiritual flu on some days. Wherever he is, though, a clean wind of truth blows through his presence. He always makes me feel more alive! He knows, and lives, and loves whereof he speaks."—Coleman Barks, poet and translator, Rumi: The Book of Love

About the Author:

Huston Smith, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Syracuse University, is considered the country's preeminent public scholar of world religions. The author of The Religions of Man (1958, republished as The World's Religions in 1991) and Why Religion Matters (2001), Smith has influenced multiple generations of readers, artists, scholars, and students. He has been profiled in a PBS series by Bill Moyers and appears frequently on national TV and radio. Phil Cousineau is the author and editor of numerous books, including, most recently, Once and Future Myths: The Power of Ancient Stories in Modern Times (2001), The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker's Guide to Making Travel Sacred (1998), and Soul Moments: Marvelous Stories of Synchronicity (1997).

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