NEW COURSE: Emptiness in Buddhist Practice

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Emptiness in Buddhist Practice

An 8-week course led by Shaila Catherine

Mondays Online via Zoom
December 7, 14, 21, January 4, 11, February 1, 8, 15
4:30 – 6:00 PM Pacific Time

Since the County of Santa Clara has been moved into the Purple Tier (Tier One), we will no longer be offering an in-person option for this course.

Registration will be a little different for this course. Upon clicking the REGISTER button, you will be directed to a form where you will be asked a few administrative questions  Upon completion of the form, you will be transferred to a second page to choose a ticket and register.



Teachings on emptiness point directly to the liberating potential of the Buddhist path. Although this topic may sometimes seem obscure in the context of modern lay life, it is worthy of deep reflection and study. The Buddha urged his disciples to apply their minds to understand the teachings on emptiness. The experience of emptiness is so central to his message in fact, that on one occasion he warned that the dhamma will disappear from this world if people do not lend an ear to the teachings that “are deep, deep in meaning, supramundane, dealing with emptiness.”

This course is structured as a discussion of the book authored by Guy Armstrong titled “Emptiness: A Practical Guide for Meditators.” Shaila Catherine will lead guided meditations and discussions to facilitate a profound contemplation of emptiness. Together we will explore a variety of meditation practices that illuminate the insubstantial void nature of experience and incline the mind toward a direct realization of emptiness.


  • December 7 — The World is Empty of Self — Chapters 1 & 2
  • December 14 — What is Real? — Chapters 3 & 4
  • December 21 — How We Create A Sense of Self — Chapter 5
  • January 4 — Beyond Self — Chapters 6, 7 & 8
  • January 11 — Karma: Who Acts? — Chapters 9 & 10
  • February 1 ­— The End of Karma, Abiding in Emptiness, Cessation, Nibbana — Chapters 11, 12 & 13
  • February 8 — All Phenomena are Empty — Chapters 14, 15 & 16
  • February 15 — The Empty Nature of Awareness. Compassion — Chapters 17 – 21

REQUIRED BOOK: Emptiness: A Practical Guide for Meditators, by Guy Armstrong, published by Wisdom Publications. Paperback: ISBN 9781614295266. E-book: ISBN 9781614293798

WHO SHOULD JOIN: This course is open to all practitioners, however, it is designed for those who have already had an introduction to mindfulness meditation practices.

COURSE LEVELS: It is designed as a level 2 course. Click this link for a key to course level designations.

ABOUT ONLINE MEETINGS: A Zoom link will be provided a few days before the start of the class.

QUESTIONS? Contact thursdayclass


Registration: Registration is required for this course. To register, click the REGISTER button on this page, fill out the brief form, select your ticket option, and make your payment.

Course Fee: The non-refundable registration fee is based on a sliding scale of $600 to $175. The lower end of the sliding scale is intended for those with limited financial means. If you pay at the mid to high range of the sliding scale, your generosity supports those with limited income to attend our programs, and also supports the teacher. Our teacher relies upon the generosity of students for her livelihood, so we encourage you to choose the highest level that is appropriate for your economic situation. Thank you for your generosity! The ticketing process will give you the option of paying by credit card, Pay Pal, or by mailing a check.

Teacher Dana: Donations to support the teacher are much appreciated. Opportunities to give are listed on our Donate page. The Base Rate and Scholarship Rate do not include Teacher Dana.

Scholarship Assistance: Those who need additional scholarship assistance may email the registrar at thursdayclass. A limited number of scholarship applicants may register for $85 and $125.

Tax Deductions: The basic registration fee (Base Rate of $175), and the scholarship tickets do not include teacher dana and are not tax-deductible. By selecting a ticket level above $175, you will be contributing to teacher dana and the amount above $175 will be considered a voluntary tax-deductible Teacher Dana contribution. In January of the following year, the treasurer will mail a letter acknowledging all donations made in the preceding year for your tax records.

Cancellation Policy: All fees and payments are non-refundable. If it becomes necessary to cancel your participation in a course, and the registrar is notified prior to the start of the first meeting, your registration fee will be converted into a voucher creditable towards the fee for a future IMSB program. Vouchers must be used within one year of the initial course start date and may be transferred to only one future course. Cancellations that occur after the start of the first meeting are not eligible for the voucher credit.

Mailing List: You may join our mailing list to receive notifications about future events.

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