For the Time...Being

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Monday, November 26, 2018
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
When: 5:00pm - 6:30pm
Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study, DML 241
Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 17:00
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The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.
--Rabindranath Tagore, Bengali polymath
God has planted eternity in the human heart.
--Ancient Jewish wisdom literature
Moment: present time.  Eternity: a state to which time has no application. Being: existence.
--Oxford Dictionary
For our final Polymathic Pizza session in the fall 2018 series on TIME, Dean of Religious Life Varun Soni will guide us in an excavation of the theological, spiritual, and experiential meanings and interconnectedness of the moment, eternity, and being.  Ancient philosophers to modern physicists have grappled with these ideas, and now we polymaths will join in the conversation.  Buddha tells us, “As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are.  Otherwise you will miss most of your life.”  Buddha found the eternal in the moment through being.  What might the investigation of being mean for us? How might experiencing the moment in all its dimensions impact our lives?  Be present and discover.
Varun Soni

Varun Soni, Dean of Religious Life

Dr. Varun Soni is the Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California (USC) as well as the Vice Provost of Campus Wellness and Crisis Intervention, Adjunct Professor of Religion, and University Fellow at the Annenberg Center on Public Diplomacy. He has led a polymathic life, earning degrees from Harvard Divinity School, a J.D. from UCLA School of Law, and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Cape Town. His research has taken him throughout South Asia where he even spent time living in a Buddhist monastery. He is the author of Natural Mystics: The Prophetic Lives of Bob Marley and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Figueroa Press, 2014) and he produced the critically acclaimed graphic novel Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary by Keshni Kashyap (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011), which is currently being adapted as a television show. His essays and commentaries have appeared in a number of print and online publications, including CNN, Huffington Post, Washington Post, Jewish Journal, Religion Dispatches, CrossCurrents and Harvard Divinity Bulletin. As a national interfaith leader, Soni has organized and hosted many programs and events with prominent spiritual, scholarly and civic leaders, including His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Archbishop Jose Horacio Gomez, Marianne Williamson, Gary Snyder, Krista Tippett, Chade-Meng Tan, Reza Aslan, Rainn Wilson, Pico Iyer, Lisa Ling, Louis Zamperini, Kobe Bryant and Baaba Maal. For two years, he produced and hosted his own radio show on KPFK-Pacifica (90.7FM, Los Angeles) that showcased music from South Asia and its diaspora.