Ziji Summit in Berlin

Having just returned from Berlin I feel tremendously fortunate to have been a part of the 3rd global Ziji summit. If you haven’t heard it yet: Ziji is the name given by the Sakyong to the politicised and energetic global youth movement empowered within the lineage of Shambhala Buddhism. At the five day summit in Berlin there were 75 young meditators (in our 20’s and 30’s) from across three continents, as well as seven exceptional teachers including the Kalapa Acharya Adam Lobel and Shastri Trinley Busby, who have made working with young energy a clear part of their prerogative.

Written into the very code of the Ziji Collective is a deep appreciation of diversity. It is a provocative thing to say, but Ziji has arisen as a direct response to, and continues to evolve by learning from, some of the mistakes that Shambhala as an organisation has made, especially mistakes in relating to young energy and a certain clumsiness around trying to implement a single vision globally. It seems necessary to mention this in this context, because the magic of the summit is that a space was skilfully created in which we could debate, discuss, agree, disagree, play, be emotional, and be awake, without feeling like anyone was pressing a lid on anyone else. Over the last few years Ziji has re-sparked my appreciation for Shambhala as an organisation, because, through working with and within the Ziji Collective, a real expression of natural hierarchy has been demonstrated to me, which is a tremendous relief to say the least.


As a global network of young leaders there is lots to do as we move forward collectively and individually. We return to our countries and cities refreshed and shaken up. We cannot con ourselves that everything is going to be ok because it isn’t, we are working within a world that is barely holding itself together but we have extraordinary resources to draw on, our adamantine basic goodness and the glimpses of enlightened society that are our path.

Llew Watkins is an artist and writer, currently based in London.

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