East Meets West: Unity of World Religions
The World's Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions
by Huston Smith
With a new preface and fresh package, this completely revised and updated version of The Religions of Man explores the essential elements and teachings of the worlds predominant faiths, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and the native traditions of the Americas, Australia, Africa, and Oceania. Smith emphasises the inner rather than institutional dimensions of these religions and gives special attention to Zen, 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.
The Illustrated World's Religions : Guide to Our Wisdom Traditions, A
by Huston Smith
From the Back Cover
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, Judaism, Christianity, and 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 insight.
About the Author
Huston Smith is widely regarded as the most eloquent and accessible contemporary authority on the history of religions. A leading figure in the comparative philosophy of religion, he has taught at Washington University, MIT, and Syracuse University.
He currently teaches at the University of California, Berkeley.
Language of the Self
by Frithjof Schuon
Dr. V. Raghavan (Foreword to the 1959 edition)
"[Schuon] has contributed in a unique way to the true understanding of Hinduism in the West."
Arthur Versluis, Michigan State University: "Intellectually rigorous in the highest degree ... There is no other voice like that of Schuon."
Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions and Why Religion Matters
"The man is a living wonder ... I know of no living writer who begins to rival him."
Sir John Tavener, composer and author: "Anyone ... who is an artist concerned with the sacred should read him ... I am eternally grateful to him."
Martin Lings, former Keeper of Oriental manuscripts at the British Museum, and author of What is Sufism? "Schuon is unsurpassed--and I would add unequalled--as a writer on comparative religion."
Language Notes: Text: English (translation) Original Language: French
About the Author
Frithjof Schuon is best known as the foremost spokesman of the religio perennis and as a philosopher in the metaphysical current of Shankara and Plato. Over the past 50 years, he has written more than 20 books on metaphysical, spiritual and ethnic themes as well as having been a regular contributor to journals on comparative religion in both Europe and America. Schuon's writings have been consistently featured and reviewed in a wide range of scholarly and philosophical publications around the world, respected by both scholars and spiritual authorities.
Schuon was born in 1907 in Basle, Switzerland, of German parents. As a youth, he went to Paris, where he studied for a few years before undertaking a number of trips to North Africa, the Near East and India in order to contact spiritual authorities and witness traditional cultures. Following World War II, he accepted an invitation to travel to the American West, where he lived for several months among the Plains Indians, in whom he has always had a deep interest. Having received his education in France, Schuon has written all his major works in French, which began to appear in English translation in 1953. Of his first book, The Transcendent Unity of Religions (London, Faber & Faber) T.S. Eliot wrote: "I have met with no more impressive work in the comparative study of Oriental and Occidental religion."
The traditionalist or "perennialist" perspective began to be enunciated in the West at the beginning of the twentieth century by the French philosopher Rene Guenon and by the Orientalist and Harvard professor Ananda Coomaraswamy. Fundamentally, this doctrine is the Sanatana Dharma--the "eternal religion"--of Hindu Vedantists. It was formulated in the West, in particular, by Plato, by Meister Eckhart in the Christian world, and is also to be found in Islam with Sufism. Every religion has, besides its literal meaning, an esoteric dimension, which is essential, primordial and universal. This intellectual universality is one of the hallmarks of Schuon's works, and it gives rise to many fascinating insights into not only the various spiritual traditions, but also history, science and art.
The dominant theme or principle of Schuon's writings was foreshadowed in his early encounter with a Black marabout who had accompanied some members of his Senegalese village to Switzerland in order to demonstrate their culture. When the young Schuon talked with him, the venerable old man drew a circle with radii on the ground and explained: "God is in the center, all paths lead to Him."
Excerpted from Language of the Self by Frithjof Schuon. Copyright © 1999. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Foreword to the Revised Translation
At the beginning of the twentieth century, a school of thought arose with René Guénon and Ananda Coomaraswamy which has focused on the enunciation and explanation of the Philosophia Perennis; this philosophy is the timeless metaphysical truth underlying the diverse religions, and whose written sources are the revealed Scriptures as well as the writings of the great spiritual masters. Because these truths are permanent and universal, the point of view may thus be called "Perennialist." Frithjof Schuon is by far the pre-eminent spokesman and exponent of the "Perennialist Perspective," having written more than twenty books on this subject; these books as a whole can be said to contain the Perennialist Philosophy.
The first edition of Language of the Self appeared in 1959, published by Ganesh and Co. in Madras. Since that time, the importance of this perspective has become all the more clear in a world increasingly dominated by conflicting confessional fanaticisms and by unbelief. It is in the light of the Philosophia Perennis, which views every religion "from within," that may be found the keys for an adequate understanding which, joined to the sense of the sacred, alone can safeguard the irreplaceable values and genuine spiritual possibilities of the great religions.
Schuon's outlook is very much that of the Sanâtana Dharma, and his message has three main dimensions: comprehension, concentration, conformation. Comprehension of the Truth; concentration on the Truth through methodical and quintessential prayer; conformation to these dimensions through intrinsic morality, which means beauty of character. Without this beauty, there can be no serious assimilation of the metaphysical truth, nor any efficacious method of orison. To these may be added a fourth and more extrinsic element: the beauty of our ambiance and hence our affinity with virgin Nature. For as Plato expressed it: "Beauty is the splendor of the True."
Reviews of Schuon's works have recently begun to appear in Indian intellectual journals, with an evident appreciation for the re-establishment of the sapiential core of traditionalism. On this basis, the initial translation has been revised, adding to it selected articles written since the first edition and considered to be relevant to the content of the original chapters. The editors are pleased to presentsimultaneous with a new Indian editionthis revised and augmented edition of Language of the Self.
First published in India, this is a revised translation of essays that elucidate the universal principles for which the Advaita-Vedanta is so revered, encompassing in its amplitude every legitimate spiritual modality. In the chapter, "The Meaning of Caste," the reader is afforded an intelligent and spiritually vibrant way of understanding the archetypal roots that differentiate humankind. "The Meaning of Race" demolishes current errors and prejudices while depicting that genius which is unique to each race. "Principles and Criteria of Art" insists on the necessity of objective criteria for beauty. The shock to the Western readers upon encountering this idea gives way to joy, arising from the restoration of art's mission of transmitting the qualities of intelligence, beauty and nobility that are at once the natural and necessary dimensions of the human condition, as well as the projection of Truth and Beauty into the world of forms.
The modern outlook--despite its professed "objectivity"--recoils from the notion at the foundation of all traditional wisdom that there is an absolute, transcendent Reality. Whereas consciousness of the Absolute and its infinitude constitutes man's very reason for being, therefore his salvation and his happiness. Schuon's perspective is that of Sanatana Dharma, the "eternal religion," which is based on the intrinsic nature of things. For Western minds, which have a tendency toward irreducible alternatives, Schuon's crystalline yet musical delineations of the levels of reality come as a refreshing relief. At the root of this discernment is neither mere reasoning nor a willing of "what should be," but a disinterested contemplation of the metaphysical transparency of phenomena.
Survey of Metaphysics and Esoterism (Library of Traditional Wisdom Series)
by Frithjof Schuon, Bruce K. Hanson
Huston Smith, Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion, Emeritus, Syracuse University: "Once again one reaches for superlatives ... The author reveals himself ... as the most comprehensive and architectonic metaphysician of our century."--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Jacob Needleman, Dept. of Philosophy, San Francisco State University
"... any serious person will feel grateful to be confronted by such a generously discerning intellect in this darkening time."--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Sheldon R. Isenberg, Dept. of Religion, University of Florida
"Schuon's Survey of Metaphysics and Esoterism is a wonderfully lucid and compact presentation of the core of Perennial Philosophy."--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
James S. Cutsinger, Dept. of Religious Studies, University of South Carolina
"A magnificent book ... Schuon proves ... [by] his Wisdom, how inexhaustibly beautiful is the Truth."--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
P. Joseph Cahill, Chairman, Dept. of Religious Studies, University of Alberta
"The prolific pen of Frithjof Schuon has produced another stimulating work."--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Language Notes Text: English (translation) Original Language: French
"Survey of Metaphysics and Esoterism serves as a near complete expression of Schuons thought. This book is distinctive in presenting, in one volume, what might be called the three hallmarks of Schuons writings. In clear and distinct order, he writes on cosmology and metaphysical principles, on the esoteric and exoteric expression of these principles in the various religious traditions, and on the trials and ultimate transformation of human nature" (from the Foreward by Bruce K. Hanson). Those familiar with Schuons writings will know that this transformation involves not only certitude of thought and serenity of mind, but also certitude and serenity of heart. Whether the subject is intellectual, religious, moral or aesthetic, the aim is ultimately a quasi-existential assimilation of certitude that is reflected in mans centrality, his total and integral nature. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Transcendent Unity of Religions (Quest Book)
by Frithjof Schuon
A study of exoteric and esoteric aspects of religions.
T.S. Eliot wrote about it: "I have met with no more impressive work in the comparative study of Oriental and Occidental religion"
Huston Smith, probably the most eminent scholar of comparative religion studies in the US today and who wrote the introduction to this book, described Frithjof Schuon as: "The man is a living wonder; intellectually à propos religion, equally in depth and breadth, the paragon of our time. I know of no living thinker who begins to rival him..."