Raimon Panikkar-Alemany (1918 – 2010) was a Spanish Roman Catholic priest and a proponent of inter-religious dialogue. As a scholar, he specialized in comparative religion. He entered the Opus Dei organization in 1940. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1946, and was a professor of philosophy at the University of Madrid.
He made his first trip to India in 1954 where he studied Indian philosophy and religion at the University of Mysore and Banaras Hindu University, where he met several Western monks seeking Eastern forms for the expression of their Christian beliefs. “I left Europe [for India] as a Christian, I discovered I was a Hindu and returned as a Buddhist without ever having ceased to be Christian,” he later wrote.
In 1962, he was summoned to Rome by Opus Dei director, Josemaría Escrivá, who expelled him after a brief trial where he was charged with disobedience! He became a visiting professor at Harvard Divinity School. in 1966 and a professor of religious studies at University of California, Santa Barbara in 1972. For many years he taught in the spring and spent the rest of the year doing research in India.
Here’s a clip of Panikkar speaking on the metoaphor of ‘windows’ in inter-religious dialogue
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