Dr. Kurt J. Schwalbe – The Meaning and Uses of the Heart Sutra

Heart Sutra Workshop with Dr. Kurt J. Schwalbe

The Heart Sutra is perhaps the most famous and well-loved Buddhist scripture, recited daily by many people around the world.

Although it contains “the Buddhist teachings in a nutshell,” many people find it quite puzzling. 

As we unravel its meaning and seek its origin, we will look at the sutra’s function in Buddhist literature as both philosophy and magic. We will also consider the viewpoints of various commentators who have interpreted the Sutra as a religious polemic, ecological parable, oedipal fable(!!) and an analog to quantum physics.

Although we will view the sutra primarily as scholars and historians, there will be opportunities to chant the sutra; we’ll conclude with a Heart Sutra meditation session. Bring your favorite English translation.

Dr. Kurt J. Schwalbe

Kurt has been studying and practicing Buddhism since 1964. He took his BA in Philosophy, his MDiv in the Old Testament and his Ph.D. in History of Religions. He conducted his doctoral field research in Nepal at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the Everest region, learning Tibetan by traditional methods. He then studied Tibetan at the University of California, Berkeley, learning the language again with the tools of western linguistics.

Kurt started studying the Heart Sutra and its family of literature as part of graduate studies in the 1970s, incorporating it into his teaching work until the present time. Never a full time academic, Kurt has made his living in commercial boating and diving.

He also loves playing and singing Buddy Holly and Hank Williams tunes on the guitar.


Nov 04 - 05 2019


All Day




Deer Park Institute, Bir
Deer Park Institute


Deer Park Institute