Posted inVideos

Going Back To The Source: Transcending The Law of the Excluded Middle {VIDEO Clip}

December 8, 2014

This is the 6th short video clip (5:49) 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 Henry talks about “… Transcending The Law of the Excluded Middle …” …  below are some excerpts from this segment of the conversation:

And the idea being that we’re getting more and more sort of stuck in our question—that the fundamental question, exactly as you say, of “What is this? Who am I? What is this experience going on right now?”

The koan is a means to investigate that, but it’s not really so much to investigate it as simply to get stuck in it. And through being stuck … it can happen in that that we actually as it were, suddenly discover the nature of stuckness—that it’s not what it seemed. That the very stuckness is—it turns into a kind of great freedom.

There’s “Me” and “Not Me.” And so how is this law, the Excluded Middle, transcended? Well, somehow, apparently, it truly can be. We—our human consciousness is endowed with a capacity to transcend it or to see it in a radically new way—by which it is transcended and that brings … a great freedom to a human being …

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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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