Raimon Panikkar

“I left Europe as a Christian, I discovered I was a Hindu and returned as a Buddhist without ever having ceased to be Christian.” ~Raimon Panikkar

Raimon Panikkar (1918-2010) was a Roman Catholic theologian who was very influential in encouraging inter-religious dialogue. He was a philosopher, scholar, scientist, teacher, professor, mentor, author, lecturer, poet, mystic… Born in Barcelona to a father who was a Hindu from India and a mother who was a Spanish Roman Catholic, he lived a colorful and important life that lasted almost 92 years.

There’s so much to him that I’ll just summarize the things I’ve learned about him that I found most interesting:

–He was a priest (ordained in 1946) and and a professor of philosophy at the University of Madrid when he traveled to India for the first time in 1954, at age 36. There he studied Indian philosophy and religion at the University of Mysore and Banaras Hindu University, and befriended two Western monks looking for Eastern ways of expressing their Christian beliefs as well. He became fascinated with Hindu scripture and also embraced Buddhism, reconciling many things about those Eastern traditions and Christianity, finding much common ground. It was a spiritually life-changing experience for him, after which he was quoted as saying the above, which I love. Read the rest of this entry »