Emptiness and the Heart

with Aaron de Long & Kim Desrosiers

August 2nd—August 27th

Date details +
    Price:
  • $150.00 Patron Level
  • $120.00 Supporting Level
Room: Shrine Room

When the Buddha gave the Sutra of the Heart of Transcendent Knowledge, or ‘the Heart Sutra’, he taught that everything we take to be solid is actually empty of any inherent nature.  The apparently substantial world we perceive is in reality, without substance at all, and is akin to a dream.  The full realization of this truth is the basis for enlightenment.

In this class, we will explore this concept of emptiness, or shunyata, through the use of readings ranging from Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to Thich Nhat Hanh, while referring to the Heart Sutra as our foundational text.  Using contemplations, group exercises, and discussion of these teachings, we will create the ground for the individual to glimpse emptiness, themselves.

This class is appropriate for any meditation student interested in studying and exploring one of the most quintessential of traditional Buddhist teachings, the Sutra of the Heart of Transcendent Knowledge, and one of the most important concepts in Buddhism, that of emptiness.  The class will take place on the first four Wednesday nights in August, concluding with a day-long intensive on Sunday, August 27.  The day-long retreat is intended to open us to the coexistent nature of both the natural world and the profundity of the classical teachings on emptiness.         

Aaron de Long was exposed to the dharma through his parents, and has been practicing meditation on his own for over twenty years.  He is currently a Scorpion Seal practitioner under the guidance of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.  Aaron is also an Assistant Director within the Shambhala lineage, and frequently coordinates, facilitates, and helps lead Shambhala courses both on-line and at various Shambhala centers.  Aaron was the Garden Manager at Karme Choling Meditation Retreat Center from 2012 through 2014.  He currently works with a Pennsylvania-based non-profit, empowering farmers to teach what they know in order to grow a better, more sustainable, food system.

Kim Desrosiers has been a member of Shambhala since 2010, developed and served as head teacher for the Philadelphia Shambhala Center’s Bodhi (“awakening”) School from 2011 through 2016, and playfully served as a Tiger teacher at Karme Choling’s Family Camp.  Kim has studied with numerous scholars and lineage holders within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition for more than a decade, and leads an international dharma practice and study group on the Kalachakra Tantra.  She is also a mediator for environmental disputes, avid outdoorswoman, climber, and advocate for direct experience through the natural world.

Kim Desrosiers


There are no prerequisites for this program.  However, students are asked in advance of the class to become familiar with the Heart Sutra (provided after registration) through recitation, and to read Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism.   

Generosity Policy: Shambhala always has a generosity policy for its classes. Please pay at the level you can. No one will ever be turned away for financial reasons. Those who are able to pay at the "patron" level generously support those who cannot pay the full tuition. If the price points on this registration page are too high for you, please contact us to work out alternatives.

(tree Photo Credit: Christopher Michel)