Masao Abe - Practice, Imperfection and Immanence

I don't mention Masao Abe too often, and he's not overly well known in the Western Buddhist tradition. As a voice of inter-faith dialogue and helping pioneer Zen dialogue in the west, he is a force to be recognised, however.

I remember first reading Steven Heine's Buddhism and Interfaith Dialogue, Zen and Comparative Studies and feeling deeply affected by it - for a Buddhist 'newb' around 15 years ago, non-dualist concepts like "mu" or "non void emptiness" were so utterly foreign to me. Masao Abe shed a light on these in a way which was totally unexpected - and reverberated though my bones, my heart and my own musical practice.

Moreover, I feel that Abe was one of many voices who served to remind me, with a smile, that musical 'practice' was enough for itself.

Zen and its crucial roll in shaping the very fabric of artisnal practice (from music through to flower arranging, and perhaps most notable in architecture) via frameworks like Wabi Sabi
represent everything I find most beautiful about art, immanence and practice.

Sure, this is a deep and fathomless hole to fall down, but voices like Masao Abe's have been crucial for furthering the dialog in the west.

Chop wood, carry water.