Huston Smith quotes

  • The most powerful moral influence is example.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Powerful #Example #Moral

  • If we take the world’s enduring religions at their best, we discover the distilled wisdom of the human race.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Race #World #Endure

  • All -isms end up in schisms.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Isms #Schism #Ends

  • Every society and religion has rules, for both have moral laws. And the essence of morality consists, as in art, of drawing the line somewhere.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Art #Law #Essence

  • When I read the Upanishads, which are part of Vedanta, I found a profundity of worldview that made my Christianity seem like third grade.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Christianity #Grades #Made

  • The goal of spiritual life is not altered states, but altered traits
    -- Huston Smith

    #Spiritual #Goal #Life Is

  • As human beings we are made to surpass ourselves and are truly ourselves only when transcending ourselves.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Inspirational #Made #Humans

  • When there are miles to go before we sleep, altered traits are more important than altered states.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Sleep #Important #States

  • We all carry it within us: supreme strength, the fullness of wisdom, unquenchable joy. It is never thwarted, and cannot be destroyed.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Joy #Fullness

  • I simply wanted to experience the presence of this man who had revolutionized my understanding. After a while we sat in silence, gazing at the barren canyon walls. And the mute desert seemed to carry on our conversation for us.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Wall #Men #Silence

  • Practice giving things away, not just things you don't care about, but things you do like.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Practice #Giving #Collaboration

  • In the post-individualistic era, science and spirituality will become allies, and human beings will realize a vast potentiality now only dimly felt.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Allies #Eras #Spirit

  • God is defined by Jesus but not confined to Jesus.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Jesus

  • One reason education undoes belief is its teaching of evolution; Darwin's own drift from orthodoxy to agnosticism was symptomatic. Martin Lings is probably right in saying that more cases of loss of religious faith are to be traced to the theory of evolution ... than to anything else.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Religious #Teaching #Loss

  • Built into human makeup is a longing for a 'more' that the world of everyday experience cannot requite.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Spiritual #Makeup #Everyday

  • I think it matters almost infinitely that we practice one of the authentic religions. But if you mean does it make any difference which. The answer is no, as long as each is followed with equal intensity, sincerity, dedication.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Mean #Thinking #Dedication

  • Only while they are conforming their actions to the model of some archetypal hero do the Arunta feel that they are truly alive, for in those roles they are immortal. The occasions on which they slip from such molds are quite meaningless, for time immediately devours those occasions and reduces them to nothingness.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Hero #Mold #Roles

  • I'm not a chauvinist. I'm a universalist. I think that God imploded, like a spiritual big bang, to launch the eight civilizations that make up recorded history and the religions in those civilizations.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Spiritual #Thinking #Eight

  • After his great awakening, the Buddha continued to meditate and to devote himself to others; otherwise his vision would have receded into a pleasant memory.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Memories #Vision #Awakening

  • God enters our lives when through our creative interchanges we make history more just.
    -- Huston Smith

    #God #Creative #Interchange

  • ...conversation can be as mutually incomprehensible as foreign languages. We need the different and complementary perspectives of the various yogas - and ideally of all religions - not only to reach God but to reach each other.
    -- Huston Smith

    #God #Yoga #Perspective

  • ...like a magnetic compass turning north, I always tried to head in the direction of the better, which is the direction to God. ...the directions that appeared to lead away from Christianity led me deeper into it.
    -- Huston Smith

    #God #Compass #Christianity

  • Plato described ordinary life as unthinking, lived in a dim cave of shadowy reflections, but said that it is possible to leave the cave and see things in sunlit clarity as they actually are.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Plato #Reflection #Ordinary

  • I've spent the last 50 years or so steeping myself in the world's religions, and I've done my homework. I've gone to each of the world's eight great religions and sought out the most profound scholars I could find, and I've apprenticed myself to them and actually practiced each faith.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Eight #Years #Profound

  • It is commonly said and known that each civilization has its own religion. Now my claim is that if we look deeper, the different civilizations were brought into being by the different revelations.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Civilization #Different #Looks

  • The self is too small an object for perpetual enthusiasm.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Self #Enthusiasm

  • We are a blend of dust and divinity.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Dust #Divinity

  • Sex is the divine in its most available epiphany.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Sex #Epiphany #Divine

  • It has been estimated that one third of our Western civilization bears the mark of its Jewish ancestry.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Civilization #Bears #Ancestry

  • Not only is the destiny of the individual bound up with the entire Church; it is responsible for helping to sanctify the entire world of nature and history.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Destiny #Church #World

  • In mysteries what we know, and our realization of what we do not know, proceed together; the larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder. It is like the quantum world, where the more we understand its formalism, the stranger that world becomes.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Islands #Together #Realization

  • Beware of the differences that blind us to the unity that binds us.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Differences #Unity #Blind

  • The proper response to a great work of art is to enter it as though there were nothing else in the world.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Art #World #Great Work

  • What is Zen? Simple, simple, so simple. Infinite gratitude toward all things past; infinite service to all things present; infinite responsibility to all things future.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Gratitude #Future #Responsibility

  • A nation can assume that the addition of the words "under God" to its pledge of allegiance gives evidence that its citizens actually believe in God whereas all it really proves is that they believe in "believing" in God
    -- Huston Smith

    #Believe #Giving #Citizens

  • Ancient wisdom and quantum physicists make unlikely bedfellows: In quantum mechanics the observer determines (or even brings into being) what is observed, and so, too, for the Tiwis, who dissolve the distinction between themselves and the cosmos. In quantum physics, subatomic particles influence each other from a distance, and this tallies with the aboriginal view, in which people, animals, rocks, and trees all weave together in the same interwoven fabric.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Distance #Animal #Rocks

  • When historians look back on our century, they may remember it most, not for space travel or the release of nuclear energy, but as the time when the peoples of the world first came to take one another seriously.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Space #Energy #Nuclear

  • Poetry is a special use of language that opens onto the real. The business of the poet is truth telling, which is why in the Celtic tradition no one could be a teacher unless he or she was a poet.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Teacher #Real #Special

  • Reserved as he [Confucius] was about the supernatural, he was not without it; somewhere in the universe there was a power that was on the side of right.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Sides #Universe

  • The object of pilgrimage is not rest and recreation – to get away from it all. To set out on a pilgrimage is to throw down a challenge to everyday life.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Challenges #Everyday #Recreation

  • Exclusively oral cultures are unencumbered by dead knowledge, dead facts. Libraries, on the other hand, are full of them.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Hands #Library #Culture

  • Seen through the eyes of faith, religion's future is secure. As long as there are human beings, there will be religion for the sufficient reason that the self is a theomorphic creature - one whose morphe (form) is theos - God encased within it. Having been created in the imago Dei, the image God, all human beings have a God-shaped vacuum built into their hearts. Since nature abhors a vacuum, people keep trying to fill the one inside them.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Heart #Eye #Self

  • ...but with my clamoring ego solidly in place, I considered the title, 'Memories of a Failed Nobody'.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Memories #Ego #Titles

  • Imagine a man besottedly in love: he won't waste time speculating whether other women equally merit his affection.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Love #Men #Waste

  • Walnuts have a shell, and they have a kernel. Religions are the same. They have an essence, but then they have a protective coating. This is not the only way to put it. But it's my way. So the kernels are the same. However, the shells are different.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Essence #Different #Shells

  • I grew up taking it for granted that missionaries were what American boys grew up to be.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Boys #Granted #Grew Up

  • In order to live man must believe in that for which he lives.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Believe #Men #Order

  • Religion is the call to confront reality; to master the self.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Reality #Self #Masters

  • The faith I was born into formed me.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Born

  • If Rumi is the most-read poet in America today, Coleman Barks is in good part responsible. His ear for the truly divine madness in Rumi’s poetry is really remarkable.
    -- Huston Smith

    #America #Ears #Today

  • Swami Ashokananda was a brilliant and accomplished spiritual teacher in the West.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Spiritual #Teacher #West

  • Religion teaches us that our lives here on earth are to be used for transformation.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Earth #Transformation #Used

  • A religion made up solely of heightened religious experiences would not be a religion at all. ...The major religious traditions address the mysteries (with or without entheogens), but they have other business to do: widen understanding, give meaning, provide solace, promote loving-kindness, and connect human being to human being.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Religious #Kindness #Giving

  • As the twentieth century began, science equaled a materialistic worldview. As the twenty-first century began, the worldview of science, at least of physics and astronomy, may have traded place with that of religion. Consider Einstein's famous equation E = mc2. Nothing of matter dies but continues on in another form, elsewhere. The church divines and theologians for two thousand years have devised arguments and "proofs" of immortality but nothing equal to this.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Years #Two #Religion

  • It must have been providence that directed Joel Morwood to dig in the right place, for he struck a lode of pure gold, as wide (comprehensive) as it is deep (profound). What he mined from that lode is a spiritual treasure.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Spiritual #Profound #Gold

  • In India there was a sense of time that does not tick with modern clocks, just as there is a knowledge that is not gained through science and empirical experiments. In the modern West knowledge is of objective, finite particulars in historical time. India recognizes that kind of useful information: it calls it "lower knowledge." Higher knowledge (paravidya) proceeds differently, or rather it doesn't proceed at all but enters history full-blown on the morning of a new creation.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Morning #Science #Historical

  • Modernity sees humanity as having ascended from what is inferior to it - life begins in slime and ends in intelligence - whereas traditional cultures see it as descended from its superiors. As the anthropologist Marshall Sahlins put the matter: We are the only people who assume that we have ascended from apes. Everybody else take it for granted that they are descended from gods.
    -- Huston Smith

    #People #Humanity #Religion

  • 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall see God' suggested to me a heavenly welfare program for the meek. Today that saying reveals an astute insight into egotism, about how those with swollen pride or vanity cannot see anything larger than themselves.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Blessed #Pride #Vanity

  • I had assumed that Bush's seemingly inflexible policy to support Sharon was for political reasons of his getting elected. But as to whether he really believes his actions are going to hasten the day of the final conflict, I do not know.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Believe #Support #Political

  • With mind distracted, never thinking, "Death is coming," To slave away on the pointless business of mundane life, And then to come out empty--it is a tragic error. (116) trans by Robert Thurman
    -- Huston Smith

    #Thinking #Errors #Mind

  • We are born in mystery, we live in mystery, and we die in mystery.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Mystery #Born

  • Love is the movement within life that carries us, that enables us, that causes us to break out of what Alan Watts calls the “skin-encapsulated ego.” Without love, we are self-centered, but love enables us to move the center of our lives outside our ego. Therefore it expands our lives and, needless to say, enriches it. Any human being would give anything to love or be loved. When it really happens, it is like heaven on earth.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Moving #Love Is #Self

  • I am very orthodox in thinking that Jesus acted in his life the way God would have acted if God had assumed human form.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Jesus #Thinking #Way

  • At the center of the religious life is a peculiar kind of joy, the prospect of a happy ending that blossoms from necessarily painful ordeals, the promise of human difficulties embraced and overcome.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Religious #Joy #Promise

  • Swallow your pride and admit that we all need help at times.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Pride #Needs #Helping

  • God has to speak to each person in their own language, in their own idioms. Take Spanish, Chinese. You can express the same thought, but to different people you have to use a different language. Its the same in religion.
    -- Huston Smith

    #People #Chinese #Different

  • Water is patient; it can stagnate and let itself be coated with scum if need be. It is as gentle as the morning's dew. It is non-confrontational, even respectful, in circumventing the rocks in a stream. It makes room for everything that enters its pools. It accommodates by assuming the shape of any vessel it is poured into. And it is humble, seeking always the lowest level. Yet along with - or rather because of these adaptive, yielding properties, it is ultimately irresistible; it carves canyons out of stone.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Morning #Humble #Humility

  • In nature, the emphasis is in what is rather than what ought to be.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Reality #Emphasis

  • Institutions are not pretty. Show me a pretty government. Healing is wonderful, but the American Medical Association? Learning is wonderful, but universities? The same is true for religion... religion is institutionalized spirituality.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Healing #Government #Association

  • Most of the book deals with things we already know yet never learn.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Book #Deals

  • Human intelligence is a reflection of the intelligence that produces everything. In knowing, we are simply extending the intelligence that comes to and constitutes us. We mimic the mind of God, so to speak. Or better, we continue and extend it.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Reflection #Knowing #Mind

  • First of all, my persuasion is what really breeds violence is political differences. But because religion serves as the soul of community, it gets drawn into the fracas and turns up the heat.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Differences #Community #Political

  • So always, if we look back, concern for face-to-face morality, and its modern emphasis on justice as well, have historically evolved as religious issues.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Religious #Issues #Justice

  • Rationalism and Newtonian science has lured us into dark woods, but a new metaphysics can rescue us.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Dark #Woods #Rescue

  • The crisis that the world finds itself in as it swings on the hinge of a new millennium is located in something deeper than particular ways of organizing political systems and economies.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Swings #Political #World

  • I am profoundly moved and persuaded by the near-death experience.
    -- Huston Smith

    #Near Death #Near Death Experience #Moved