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.

16 Responses to Who is John Dupuche?

  1. Good morning Teresa Yes, I would be happy to do so. You might use my private email address which is jeandupuche@gmail.com John


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi John

    I’m making contact with you hoping to discuss the possibility of you participating in a panel discussion as part of the Inaugural Australian Association of Gerontology’s first Victorian Conference next March 2021? (I have attempted to send this message via the Divinity staff contact site but unsure whether you have received it?)

    I participated in the recent Zoom session you lead for the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Contemplative Studies and felt that you would be ideal to represent the spiritual perspective on ageing well, in an inclusive manner.

    Please let me know if you would be interested in discussing this possibility?

    I look forward to your response!

    Teresa Donegan


  3. Dear Julien I originally published the book in French, at the invitation of Fabrice. It will be published again in 2021 as Vers un Tantra Chrétien, in Paris, with Les Deux Océans. Best wishes for life’s adventure of the spirit. John



  4. Dear Julien I originally wrote the book in French, at the invitation of Fabrice. It will be published again in 2021 as Vers un Tantra Chrétien, in Paris, with Les Deux Océans. Best wishes for life’s adventure of the spirit. John



  5. Julien Arunachaleshwara says:

    Dear Father John,
    I am writing from Ottawa in Canada. I am originally from France and currently work as a psychologist. I converted to Hinduism over the course of the last 16 years, a journey of deep immersion into Sanskrit chanting which culminated in upanayanam and various initiations within Hindu sampradayas, including Sri Vidya. I am currently starting a PhD in Theology with Fabrice Blée. Besides the interaction between psychology and religion, I am interested in Henri Le Saux and Carl Jung. Was your book “Towards a Christian Tantra: The Interplay of Christianity and Kashmir Shaivism” ever published or is it only accessible in a digital format?
    I take this opportunity to wish you a blessed Christmas. Tous mes meilleurs voeux pour l’année qui s’en vient!
    Julien (Arunachaleshwara Sharma)


  6. Thank you Eric It looks very interesting. John



  7. Eric Fallick says:

    Dear Fr. John,
    Ascetic spiritual greetings. I am a Platonist contemplative ascetic, renunciant, eremitical monastic, mystic, and philosopher of many years standing tenuously and anachronistically surviving alone and without support. (I am in the United States.) I wonder if you or any members of your Interfaith Ashram or any other celibate ascetics you may know might perhaps be interested to see my small, inexpensive book: Eric Fallick, Platonist Contemplative Asceticism: Practice and Principle, ISBN 9780359773015.
    http://www.lulu.com/shop/eric-fallick/platonist-contemplative-asceticism-practice-and-principle/paperback/product-24173074.html (you can click on the little flag icon to get Lulu’s Australian store with prices in Australian dollars) Besides directly from Lulu.com as above, it is also available through all the regular online retail booksellers. The individual pieces from which the book is compiled are also at my internet venues: platonistasceticism.blogspot.com, youtube.com/c/EricFallick, and independent.academia.edu/EricFallick. I couldn’t find a direct email address for you, so the only way I had to contact you to see if you might be interested was through this comments form–I hope this is OK.

    Best contemplative wishes,

    Eric Fallick


  8. Fr Francis Thanks for this. Yes certainly, I have taken note. All the best. Fr John



  9. Francis Tiso says:

    Dear Fr. Dupuche, I would like to ask a “permissions” question regarding your response to the Margaret Feaster Centering Prayer critique. Since your essay and mine make the same points, I want to forestall any “plagiarism” problems, now that I am planning to publish my response (originally written in 2004). All the best, Fr. Francis Tiso


  10. Hi Graeme

    Here are a few thoughts.

    The gurus often speak against the ego, as being the cause of illusion. While they are making an important point for beginners, that is not the whole story. In fact, the process of enlightenment involves understanding the ego properly and valuing it. Kashmir Shaivism, which is the one of the greatest systems of in Indian thought but only discovered this last century, sees the ultimate reality as consciousness which has the awareness “I am”. This ultimate reality is not static but vibrant and expresses itself in innumerable ways, among which human beings who can have a true or false sense of themselves. If they see themselves as the expression of the ultimate “I am”, then they have acquired wisdom, because that is the truth. When, however, they exaggerate their self-importance, thinking that their limited self is independent, self-originating etc, they are mistaken. If on the other hand, by the opposite process of self-depreciation, seeing themselves as essentially time-bound and limited, they are also mistaken. Both mistaken understandings have karmic consequences. For that reason, both understandings are criticised by the gurus when they decry the ego. But the enlightened person who has come to realise that their limited ego is the expression of the unlimited “I am”, not confusing the two and not separating the two, the Self and self, they are freed from the infernal cycle of reincarnation.

    I am speaking from the Kashmir Shaiva point of view, but something of the same, mutatis mutandis, can be found also in Christianity, for the individual human being who exists eternally in the mind of God, is made real as the image of God. The person who properly understands themselves does not separate themselves from the infinite God, but by revelation comes to appreciate their deification. They are the image and expression of God.

    We could say so much more about this.

    The clue is not to oppose the ego and the divine ‘I am’, but to see one in terms of the other.

    I hope this is of some use.

    John Dupuche



  11. Hello Irena No, sorry, we don’t conduct retreats at this ashram. But we can correspond by email, if you wish. John Dupuche



  12. Graeme Wilkie says:

    Father John,
    Enjoyed being in the company of our Modern Mystics,
    I was the questioner about the Ego! Why is it there ? & Where does it come from?
    Still love to hear more ,if you ever have the time.



  13. Irena says:

    I was impressed by your discussion at yesterday’s Modern Mysticism and your question on Sacrifice! Do you have retreat at your ashram ?


  14. Anonymous says:

    Hello again,

    I have resumed the mantra, i can’t tell you how many times i have dropped the ball on this one only to pick it up again.

    I have done so partially because as a form of meditation it is the remnant point of contact with my ancestral faith. I’ve seen it said as expressed sentiment “give me what you have except as my own”, for me i could never quite construe the mantra as that.

    Your published works mostly concentrate on KS, but i find your blog posts on Shakta interesting but intellectually confounding i.e. i can’t reconcile it in my own mind with the faith gifted to me which is Catholicism.

    I seem to get something out of the WCCM emails from Laurence Freeman, but find myself dogmatically disagreeing with me nevertheless,

    If you like – mostly for my own sake – i would like to enter private correspondence with you. My own interest, experience and intuit about Shakta Hnduism and related practices.

    Kind regards.


  15. The name used by the Priest at the time of your baptism is sanctified by that act of baptism. However, every name that belongs to a person who lives by the truth is sanctified by the truthfulness of that person. You are baptised not so much into the particular name that was used, but into ‘the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit’ into whom you were baptised. Recite their name above all.
    I am sorry that my books have not been of much help to you. They do spring from my own experience and mean a lot to me. But we each have our own path. You will discover yours, I am sure, because you are following the promptings of the Holy Spirit.


  16. Anonymous says:

    I am Catholic with a Hindu name, I was baptized and confirmed 6 years back.

    Is my given name sanctified by the act of baptism? That is, is it an appropriate tool for meditation?

    I ask because my heritage is Shakta Hinduism, i have found it personally futile trying to adhere to meditation as per your books.


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