The Fragrance of Emptiness —A Book-Study Class Exploring The Heart Sutra

with Bruce Dal Santo

July 16th—August 3rd

Date details +
  • $75 Program Price
  • $100 Patron Price
  • $50 Other Price
Room: Main Shrine Room

Join us for an in-depth study of The Heart Sutra and the Buddhist teachings on emptiness in this 5-day course. 

The San Francisco Shambhala Center is starting a series of Essential Dharma classes that aim to identify and clarify key teachings that form the foundation of Buddhist thought. The traditional approach to covering such a broad topic is with a step-wise study of the Buddha’s teachings across the more than 50 years of his teaching life. Though this type of academic approach has great value, there is also merit in jumping right into the deep end of the pool with the most profound and, for some people, most puzzling aspect of the teachings: emptiness or sunyata (Sanskrit).

Happily, there is a wonderful road map to an understanding of emptiness, the Heart Sutra. One of the most beloved and inspiring texts in the Buddhist canon, the short form of the Heart Sutra is chanted daily by Mahayana Buddhists around the world as a reminder for us to broaden our perception of the world and challenge our assumptions about the nature of reality.

In this class, we will be working with a recently published book about the Heart Sutra by Anam Thubten, The Fragrance of Emptiness. Though there are many books about the Heart Sutra, Anam Thubten’s work is distinguished by a clear, concise presentation of the text and is designed to be appreciated and understood by Western readers. (Anam Thubten is the founder and leader of the Dharmata Foundation in Richmond, CA).

Finally, though we will be working through The Fragrance of Emptiness on a chapter-by-chapter basis, this will not be a typical book-study class. We won’t be in any rush to “finish” the book in class; there’s just too much richness in the Heart Sutra to rush through it. Rather, we will be pausing from time to time for contemplation and meditation, time for us to let our assumptions and fixed attitudes relax and unwind into a space of freshness and insight.

Essential Dharma Classes
The Fragrance of Emptiness is the first in a series of Essential Dharma book-study classes covering the foundation of Buddhist thought. Future Essential Dharma classes will focus on other core teachings, including The Four Noble Truths and the nature of the awakened heart (bodhicitta, Sanskrit).

The Fragrance of EmptinessText
Please purchase a copy of The Fragrance of Emptiness before the start of the first class. It can be purchased on Amazon or directly from The Dharmata Foundation.

Class Leader
This class will be led by Bruce DalSanto, a long-time dharma teacher and practitioner whose connection with Shambhala Buddhism stretches back to 1974 and a chance encounter with its founder Chogyam Trungpa in San Francisco.

Program Price: $75
*Patron Price $100
Limited Income Price, $50.
Nobody turned away for lack of funds.

*Paying the Patron Price helps support students who cannot afford full fee.

For questions contact Peter Dobbin: peterdobbin [at] icloud [dot] com

Please register and pay online in advance of the class to ensure your space and so that the coordinators know to expect you.






We appreciate you registering and paying online. This helps us not only to plan for the program, but speeds up the registration line on the day of the program.

Generosity Policy
The San Francisco Shambhala Center is funded solely by your membership and program donations. Thank you for your generosity as you consider what you can pay for each program at our Center. We strive to price our programs in a way that accurately reflects the financial need of our Center and the cost to us of producing the program.

We are committed to offering our programs to everyone, regardless of their financial situation. If you are unable to meet any of our listed pricing tiers please contact us to discuss your current needs. In addition to offering scholarship pricing for those in need, we also offer the option of paying for some programs in installments.

In order to request use of the Generosity Policy, please contact the person listing under the program’s contact information, or email: info [at] sfshambhala [dot] org, at least one week prior to the program you wish to attend.

What is the Patron Price?
The other aspect of our Generosity Policy is our Patron Price. Those who are able to offer more than the regular program price can select the Patron Price option.  By selecting this option, your generosity is helping to cover the costs of those who may not be able to pay the full price of the program. Thank you for your consideration, and for helping all to receive the treasure of the Shambhala Dharma.

Work Study
We depend on volunteers to make all of our programs happen. If you are interested in offering your support in this way, please contact [email protected] We would be very grateful.

For information about becoming a San Francisco Shambhala Member, please visit this link.

Visitor Information
Visit these links for information about parking, lodging, or our programs policy.