Written by Llew Watkins on September 8, 2015
Note: This update was originally written for the Shambhala European newsletter.
A lot is currently happening with youth in Shambhala in Europe. There are regular young sangha nights in many cities in the Netherlands and also in Madrid, Vienna, Paris, Stockholm, to name some. The summer youth retreat at Dechen Chöling and also the winter youth retreat at Schloss Heinheim (which isn’t specifically Shambhala but intrinsically linked) both continue successfully as they have done for many years.
As you know, thus far there have been two Ziji global summits, last year in San Francisco and this year in Mexico City. Next year in September the intention is to create some kind of gathering in Europe that would be a chance for all of this youth activity to share with each other the things that they have been doing. The shape of this program is nebulous and depends very much on what we as a young sangha in Europe need, and this will be garnered through conversations between the current Ziji council and the various youth groups in Europe over the coming months.
Something else that I’d like to announce is that a group of us here are in the process of working towards making a youth dathün happen. This would be either in Germany or Poland, probably in August and a little time before the Ziji/ young sangha gathering. The winds of change are fickle and at this stage there are many unknowns in all this planning, nevertheless I think it great to be able to say that there are these shapes are on the horizon. If you, or someone you know, is interested in being involved then please don’t be shy to get in touch; you can email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally I want to share this beautiful paragraph from a report by Jessica Watkins of the summer youth retreat in Dechen Chöling this July:
‘The way we interact here, with our needs all out in the open, is so honest and simple. So childlike, soft, adventurous. When I need someone to walk with, someone to share tea with, someone to laugh or cry with I’m not afraid to ask. We are able to extend ourselves and believe in enlightened society and our intrinsic basic goodness. To be reminded we don’t need to buy things, consume, possess one another, destroy the earth with our actions – we can let go of our poverty mentality and really interact with the sacredness of humans and the natural world. Learn to let go in love. Be open, be touched, appreciate our jealousy, anger, passion, neuroses. Feel joy and sadness at the same time as the same emotion. Appreciate ourselves as whole. I feel exceptionally, unbelievably, ridiculously lucky to be here.’