In this sprightly sequel to his spiritual memoir Tales of Wonder, the inimitable Huston Smith, world renown teacher of world religions and best-selling author, shares his "personal encounters with spiritual mavericks, remarkable seekers, and the world's great religious leaders."
In looking back on his life as a scholar, teacher, husband, father, and world traveler, he rejoices in his surrender to God and his gratitude for all that he has experienced. He also feels that happiness has not eluded him but blessed him in many ways.
In his introduction to the book, Phil Cousineau challenges us to read these conversations and interviews with the intent of learning from Smith "the secret of a well-lived life."
Smith begins with his boyhood in China where his parents were missionaries. Growing up overseas opened his heart and mind to different cultures, religions, and ways of viewing human nature.
College life in the heartland of America begins a major emphasis in Smith's life: history and religion. His launched his career as a professor at Denver University in 1941. Smith later has close encounters with Buddhism through time spent training in a Zen monastery and in his meetings in India with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
He and his wife take a Grand Tour of sacred sites around the world and are astonished by the diversity of devotional paths open to people. Smith reveals the special place in his heart for Native Americans and their spiritual resiliency in the face of tribulation.
In the last section of And Live Rejoicing, the author shares a gallery of brief portraits of notable people he has met including Gerald Heard, Aldous Huxley, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Werner Heisenberg, Noam Chomsky, Joseph Campbell, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Saul Bellow, David Bohm, and others.
Smith ends with a short piece that points to the way he has lived his whole life. "What are the only two categorical, unconditional virtues that do not have to be qualified to be true? Gratitude and Empathy."