Huston Smith is internationally known and revered as the premier teacher of world religions.

He is the Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion and Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, Syracuse University. For 15 years he was Professor of Philosophy at M.I.T. and for a decade before that he taught at Washington University in St. Louis. Most recently he has served as Visiting Professor of Religious Studies, University of California, Berkeley.

“The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.”
― Huston Smith

Smith’s early work pertains to mysticism and perception. Holder of 12 honorary degrees, Smith is the author of 15 books and has published widely about religion and philosophy. He finds the overall role of wisdom traditions to be, simply, to help us behave decently toward one another. In 1996 Bill Moyers devoted a five-part PBS Special, The Wisdom of Faith with Huston Smith, to his life and work. His film documentaries on Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism, and Sufism have all won international awards, and The Journal of Ethnomusicology lauded his discovery of Tibetan multiphonic chanting as “an important landmark in the study of music.”

Smith is a practicing Methodist who also prays five times a day in Arabic and does Hatha yoga. On how he expresses his spirituality in numerous contexts, Smith says, “I was just moving into a new idiom for expressing the same basic truths.”

(written by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat – originally published at


A Larger World to Live In

Huston Smith

…In our century this global outreach is important, for lands around the planet have become our neighbors — China across the street, the Middle East at our back door. The change this new situation requires of us all — we who have been suddenly catapulted from town to country onto a world stage — is staggering. Twenty-five hundred years ago it took an exceptional individual like Diogenes to exclaim,’I am not an Athenian or a Greek but a citizen of the world.’ Today we must all be struggling to make those words our own. Anyone who is only Japanese or American is but half human. The other half that beats with the pulse of all humanity has yet to be awakened.

World understanding brings many rewards: it enables corporations to do business abroad, and diplomats to stumble less frequently. But its greatest gains need no tally. To glimpse what belonging means to the people of India; to sense with a Burmese grandmother what passes in life and what endures; to understand how Hindus can regard their personalities as masks that overlay the God within — to swing such things into view is to add dimensions to the glance of spirit. It is to have a larger world to live in…

The Illustrated World’s Religions: A Guide to Our Wisdom Traditions


Watch: Huston Smith on Meeting Thomas Merton in India in 1968

“As long as there are people who will do their best and swim against the tide selflessly and with dedication – as long as there are such people there is hope for the world.”