Segments in this Video

Bill Moyers Examines Religion (02:05)


According to Huston Smith, a balanced view of religion includes not only its virtues, but its atrocities. All the great religions invite us to read the world around us for meaning.

Huston Smith's Study of World Religion (02:08)

A renowned scholar and teacher for over 50 years, Huston Smith strives to see the world's great faiths as their believers do to grasp why and how these religions motivate those who live by them.

Hinduism and Buddhism (05:49)

In India, art is religion and religion is art, based on the belief that the soul that beholds beauty becomes beautiful. Appreciation of art can then influence the nature and actions of people.

Images of God (04:28)

The Hindu image of God depicts omniscience and omnipotence through multiple arms and faces. The Dancing Shiva depicts the grace and beauty of nature through subduction of human egoism.

Essence of Hinduism (04:56)

Hinduism teaches that people can have what they want in life: pleasure; worldly success, including power, wealth, and fame; responsibility; and liberation from any worldly impediment.

Poem About India by Huston Smith (02:22)

Huston Smith shares a poem he wrote about India that reflects not only the impact of the British invasion on India, but the impact of Hinduism on the British and eventually the world.

Buddhists in Exile (03:53)

Monasteries in northern India provide refuge for many Tibetan Buddhists living in exile from China. Here, Smith heard for the first time an unusual mode of chanting performed by the Tibetan Lamas.

Unusual Mode of Chanting (02:18)

Huston Smith instigated a study, including Stevens and Tomlinson, of the multi-phonic chanting performed by Tibetan Lamas, exposing a previously unknown capability of the human voice.

Bringing Chanting to the World (04:26)

The Tibetan Lamas remind us of the purpose of worship, shifting from peripheral to focal awareness. Their tours share their music, political awareness, and ancient culture with the world.

Essence of Buddhism (03:39)

Buddhism brings awareness of the sacred within. The Buddha nature is that the core of one's being is the Buddha, and in Buddhist meditation one looks intently into themselves and their own mind.

Studying With Zen Masters (02:18)

Huston Smith travels to Japan to study with Zen Master Hiroshi to undergo the training of a Zen monk. The Zen master works with students daily to cultivate a rarified state of awareness.

Buddhist Meditation (03:48)

Huston Smith is given a perplexing problem to contemplate each day in his meditation amidst Zen monks in Japan. He learns to put reason aside and seek the experience without it.

Changing Focal Points (02:12)

Huston Smith discovers that there is no answer to the Zen riddles he struggles with and that the lesson is not in the answer, but the experience.

Union of Opposites (04:58)

As Huston Smith struggles to complete eight weeks of Zen training, he becomes so tired and frustrated that he almost gives up, but he learns how to accomplish the union of opposites instead.

Zen Life (03:10)

Huston Smith discovers that it is only possible to live the Zen life through infinite gratitude towards all things past, infinite service to all things present, and infinite responsibility to all things future.

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Hinduism and Buddhism

Part of the Series : The Wisdom of Faith with Huston Smith: A Bill Moyers Special
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $99.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $149.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



This program explores the two great religions to come from India. “The historian of religion can find almost anything he wants in India, enacted with intensity. What remains is to carry its insight into everyday life.” Smith uncovered the mysteries of multiphonic chanting among Tibetan lamas, previously unknown in the West. Characterizing these chants as “the holiest sound I have ever heard,” Smith reveals the chanting to be a form of meditation. Smith spent ten weeks with a Zen master silently meditating 8 hours a day, where he derived insights that help the viewer understand the way of Zen Buddhism. (56 minutes)

Length: 56 minutes

Item#: BVL6234

ISBN: 978-0-7365-5646-0

Copyright date: ©1996

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

"The film has the best short description of Tibetan multiphonic chanting and the best explanation of Zen koans I’ve seen."—Education About Asia

"Any chance to expose our students to Huston Smith, one of the great scholars of the 20th century, is one that should not be missed. With this in mind any high school or college instructor would be well served to consider this film."—News and Reviews Fall 2001, Asian Educational Media Service

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.