Posted inVideos

Going Back To The Source: Ancient Greeks and Buddhism {VIDEO Clip}

December 17, 2014

Stephen Batchelor returns to Mountain Cloud on Thursday April 2, 2-4pm for a conversation on early Buddhism, the Zen tradition and ancient Greek Philosophy with Mountain Cloud guiding teacher Henry Shukman–continuing the exploration of contact and congruence between the ancient East and West.

Last year, Stephen and Henry sat down for an engaging conversation, on June 4th, at the Mountain Cloud Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico.on “Going Back to the Source.” … below is an earlier post with the video clip from this talk where Stephen talks about the connection between “… Ancient Greeks and Buddhism…”

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This is the 8th short video clip (5:41) from the conversation between Stephen Batchelor and Henry Shukman, on June 4, 2014, at the Mountain Cloud Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico on “Going Back to the Source.” 

The entire talk’s video (1:03:15) can also be viewed on our YouTube channel.

Their dialogue covers : Eastern and Western thought, the great doubt, dismantling of knowing, ancient greeks and buddhism, zen and classical philosophy, seeing with clarity, humanist enlightenment in the west, roots of being human, Zen’s transitional phase, like mindedness, sharing an identity with everything that lives, and releasing our reactivity. In their view, we arrive at the single source from many paths.

In this clip Stephen talks about the connection between “… Ancient Greeks and Buddhism…” …  below are some excerpts from this segment of the conversation:

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… when Pyrrho returned to Greece he established the school of skepticism and one of the few fragments that survives from his school is the statement where he says that,

“Our senses and our language cannot be trusted, they cannot communicate truth, they cannot communicate falsity,”—that we need to recognize that things no more are than they are not, that they neither both are and are not and they neither, it always gets complicated.

{Pyrrho} … says by allowing the mind to come to rest in that radical uncertainty—that radical unknowing leads to what he calls aphatos which means speechlessness.

And aphatos leads to ataraxia. Ataraxia literally means untroubledness, a deep peace perhaps.

… But the important point for me is that Pyrrho, the founder of the school we now call skepticism, is very likely in my opinion to have had his core awakening through his encounter with Indian tradition whether or not he went Buddhist as such, we don’t know.

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Stephen Batchelor is a contemporary Buddhist teacher and writer, best known for his secular or agnostic approach to Buddhism. Stephen considers Buddhism to be a constantly evolving culture of awakening rather than a religious system based on immutable dogmas and beliefs. Click here for his Full BIO.

Henry Shukman is head teacher at Mountain Cloud Zen Center. Click here for his full BIO.

This video clip is from : Going Back to the Source : A conversation with Stephen Batchelor and Henry Shukman, Produced by Chris Hebard, Filmed by Luke Fitch (, copyright

This conversation, and the video, is presented by Stillness Speaks in association with Tricycle and Mountain Cloud Zen Center.

Full transcript of the conversation can be found at Tricycle by clicking here.

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