Context

(Student Guide to World Philosophy)

Masao Abe’s work describes the main characteristics of the philosophy of the Kyoto School, explains the Zen Buddhist standpoint in the context of Western thought, analyzes Western philosophy and theology through dialogues, and confronts the problem of modernity. As the heir to D. T. Suzuki’s role as the main exponent of Zen for the West, Abe explicated the fundamental standpoint of Zen philosophy in many contexts. He provided interpretive analyses of traditional Zen teachings and used the logic of is/is not to analyze Western thought. Like other philosophers of the Kyoto School, Abe was well acquainted with Western intellectual and religious traditions, but unlike his fellows, Abe addressed primarily a Western audience. Abe’s work is constructive in that, through dialogues and critical exchanges, he attempts to articulate a standpoint that successfully confronts nihilism and revitalizes both Western and Eastern religion.