Who is John Dupuche?

Rev. Associate Professor John R. Dupuche was born in 1940 in Melbourne, Australia, to French parents who had come to Australia on business and who were prevented from returning to France by the outbreak of the World War II. The family language and culture was French. During his childhood he travelled many times to France with his family.

On leaving secondary school he entered the Jesuits for a number of years and completed an undergraduate degree in Scholastic Philosophy. Later, at Melbourne University he obtained an Honours Degree in French and German and went on to complete a Masters Degree in French literature (with a thesis on Citadelle by A. de St Exupery). After a year of training for the Diplomatic Service in the Foreign Affairs Department in Canberra he went on to study theology completing a double degree in theology at Catholic Theological College and at the Melbourne College of Divinity and was ordained priest for the Archdiocese of Melbourne in 1974. He taught theology for many years at what is now the Australian Catholic University where he was head of the Religious Education Department (at Christ Campus).        

During a year’s sabbatical in the California, Italy and Tamil Nadu and with the advice of Dom Bede Griffiths osb and Dom Thomas Matus osb he came in contact with Kashmir Shaivism.

After some years in parish ministry and with advice from Prof. Alexis Sanderson of Oxford he completed a doctorate in Sanskrit with a translation and commentary on Chapter 29 of the Tantraloka by Abhinavagupta, which describes the Kula ritual, an extreme tantric ritual. This was published in 2003 by Motilal Banarsidass.

During this time of study he came in contact with Prof. Dr. Bettina Bäumer whom he accompanied in 1998 on an epic trip to Mt Kailash and Lake Manasarovar. He travels to India each year where he has a house in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha State, south of Kolkata.

He was Honorary Fellow at the Australian Catholic University, for a number of years, with special involvement in interfaith relations, and is senior lecturer at MCD University of Divinity. He is a member of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission and chair of the Catholic Interfaith Committee of the Archdiocese. He is particularly interested in its interface with Christianity. His book: Abhinavagupta: the Kula Ritual as Elaborated in Chapter 29 of the Tantrāloka was published in 2003; Jesus, the Mantra of God in 2005; and Vers un Tantra Chrétien in 2009 (translated as Towards a Christian Tantra)and The Rivers of Paradise in 2019. He has written many articles in these fields.

He has established an interfaith ashram in Warburton with Andy Topor, Sandy Kouroupidis, Fr Michael Mifsud, Dr Cullan Joyce-Woods and Dr Herman Roborgh. They represent various traditions: Christianity (Catholic), Buddhism, Hinduism, Samkhya Yoga, and Islam.

He has also established a pastoral relationship with the parishes of Lilydale and Healesville where he regularly celebrates Mass.

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