USC Spectrum and the USC Office of Religious Life hosted a presentation by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan in Doheny Memorial Library on Monday night. Pir Zia spoke about the tenets of Sufism and the ideology for the Seven Pillars House of Wisdom.
Pir Zia is the spiritual leader of Sufi Order International, a Sufi order. He is the son of Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, and his father’s successor as leader of Sufi Order International. He is also the grandson of Hazrat Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan, the founder of the order. When he was young, he studied under the Dalai Lama while living in Dharamsala, India. Pir Zia was eventually appointed as his father’s spiritual successor in 2000 in a turban-tying ceremony in Delhi, India.
He also founded the Suluk Academy for Sufi Studies in upstate New York and the Seven Pillars House of Wisdom process.
“I think that this event is a great opportunity for USC students to be exposed to Sufism and the Seven Pillars House of Wisdom process,” said Ha-Rim Choi, a student worker at USC Spectrum and a sophomore majoring in business administration.
The Seven Pillars House of Wisdom is a process that is supposed to illuminate the experiences of life and facilitate a living wisdom that can help people address the urgent social and ecological needs of the times. It is also a collection of media and a community dedicated to cultivating the Seven Pillars House of Wisdom process.
“The Seven Pillars House of Wisdom is a network of people to harvest wisdom,” Pir Zia said.
During the presentation, Pir Zia spoke about each pillar in the Seven Pillars House of Wisdom Process, as well as the founding ideology behind the process. The Pillars, in ascending order, are The Journey of Life, The Living Universe, Our Sacred Heritage, The Great Mystery, The Cry, What May Be and The Pledge.
Throughout the event, Pir Zia elaborated on each of the pillars, and explained how the process of going through the pillars led to the cultivation of a living wisdom to address today’s problems.
Following Pir Zia’s presentation on the Seven Pillars House of Wisdom was a Q&A session with him. Pir Zia answered a wide variety of questions ranging from the relationship and symbiosis between religion and science to the failure and the importance of devotion.
Students who were familiar with Pir Zia and his work were excited to see him in person.
“[Pir Zia] coming here to USC is awesome,” said Jennifer Chen, a freshman majoring in fine arts with an emphasis in sculpture and design.
Others thought the presentation was a good opportunity to learn about different religions.
“Having a spiritual leader of a prominent religion come here to USC has really broadened my perspective,” said Eliot Kim, a freshman majoring in economics.
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