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How the Ziji Gar was born (3/3)

By Llew Watkins

Strengthening connection

We arrived at Dechen Chöling on February the 5th with very little planned. We had instead just a few vague ideas of things we would like to do in the time we had: Lia was keen that we begin by listening together to the talk the Sakyong gave at the first Ziji Summit in San Francisco 2014; we had some meetings arranged with key members of Dechen Chöling staff; and we had set a date and time to have an online Zoom meeting with the rest of the Ziji Gar team. Beyond that was open space.

When I had the initial idea for the Gar one of the things that gave me confidence that it would be possible was the relationship that has developed over the past few years with Dechen Chöling.

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How the Ziji Gar was born (2/3)

By Llew Watkins

“You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round.”
– Black Elk, Oglala Sioux Holy Man

It was at the Winter Youth Retreat at Schloss Heinsheim in Germany, in January this year, that making this programme a reality really came together. While we were there, the discussions we were having about Ziji evolved into the formation of a group, now 10 of us, committed to making the Gar happen. I cannot begin to say how proud I am to be working with each of these people, it truly makes me believe in the possibility of natural hierarchy and enlightened society. It was also during these conversations at the Schloss that after months of deliberating we finally came unequivocally to the title for our program: the Ziji Gar.

In the first part of this essay I outlined the four traditions that have been a powerful influence on us as we have co-created the Gar. In this, the second part, I wish to investigate a few of the things that have arisen from these various traditions, both things unique to those traditions and also areas where they overlap.

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How the Ziji Gar was born (1/3)

By Llew Watkins

“From our own sense of confidence, strength and magnanimity, we can uplift the world.” – Sakyong Mipham Rinpochezijigar-idea_2

I am writing this on the train as I have just returned from the most wonderful few days at Dechen Chöling where myself, Lia Duggan, Simon Engelke, Simon Bertin and Oli Wang met to discuss and continue to co-create together the Ziji Gar that will happen there from July 2nd to July 10th this year.

Gar is a Tibetan word that can be translated as camp or encampment. The idea is to transform the existing Summer Youth Retreat into a camp that arises and then dissolves, and that is based on the principles of meditation and enlightened society. In our time together at Dechen Choling it became clear to us that the Ziji Gar is actually the confluence of four streams. In the first part of this series I will try to outline those streams.

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Ziji Gar team visit at Dechen Chölingz2

The organising team met in early Febuary in Dechen Chöling to discuss land, do some further planning, practise and enjoy each other’s company. As a result we created a Ziji Gar Manual and decided where exactly we’ll set up our camp.

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dechen-cho%cc%88ling-summer-retreat-2017Ziji news from Europe

Young people with Lion hearts,

Although it may take a little time before this will reach you, I am writing this on the last day of the year, at Schloss Heinsheim in Germany. Here the Winter Youth Retreat is in full swing for the tenth time. 100 people are living, laughing, crying, singing and meditating together in a beautiful castle that is also a hotel. Tonight we will have a celebration to mark the end of the year and the beginning of the new one.

It has been an amazing year for us as young meditators. Against the backdrop of cataclysmic world events we are still able somehow to help each other and to practise meditation together.

By Llew Watkins

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