Individual Fundraising

Anna Lee


Dear all,

I’m excited to say that I’m going to France for a meditation retreat! It will be a chance to clear my mind in the forest air of the Dechen Choling Meditation Centre, 56 hectares of rolling hills, gardens and trees.

As some of you may know, I’ve struggled for years with feelings of stress, anger, anxiety, fear, loneliness… All those good feelings which are part and parcel of the human experience, but which seem to from a young age have taken a special hold on me. I have also felt peace, joy, love, gratitude, and belonging — mostly in times when I’ve felt a part of something greater than myself. Meditation is the practice of learning to tame the wild mind, so that we can start to choose thoughts and actions that lead to peace over ones that lead to suffering.

Peace is not my brain’s natural state, I can tell you that! But I must start from somewhere. It’s been a dream of mine for awhile now, to travel the world, practicing meditation, yoga, writing, meeting people from over all over the world and learning from their routines, and doing other therapeutic things. But, I can’t do it alone.

How you can help: You can help by contributing to this endeavor, by sending me a note letting me know that you care, by keeping me in your thoughts or prayers, or if none of those feel right for you, simply by treating yourself as kindly as you can. 🙂 This specific fundraiser is for this specific retreat: it would mean the world to me to know that I have your support as I embark on my journey. If you contribute, or simply if you ask, I promise to let you know honestly how the retreat went and what I learned from it, both the good and the bad.

The total cost of the retreat itself is about $425, which includes food, accommodations, fees, group meditation and dance, and a chance to be with like-minded people with similar goals for one week. My airfare and transportation costs are about $675, which includes roundtrip airfare from Boston to France, train and shuttle fares. This brings the total to about $1100. The trip organizers have very kindly offered to contribute about $140 from funds that they’ve raised, since I’m traveling from across the ocean. I’m also happy and able to contribute a few hundred from my savings and income, but I don’t feel quite able to do it all on my own. By donating, you’ll be helping to give me peace of mind, and letting me know that there are people in this great big world who care — which in a way, is all anyone can really ask for.

Wishing you all peace, happiness,
and most especially love,

Progress: $690/$620 received


Personal Info

Donation Total: $10

Ishaan Alex Dalal & Clare Burgess



I had my first taste of the Ziji Collective — and of Shambhala — in the 2016 Ziji Summit in Berlin. That week happened to be one of my most memorable weeks, where I first authentically and uniquely connected with myself through meditation.

Since the Berlin 2016 Ziji Summit I have been developing my meditation practise, and have been welcoming Buddhist teachings in to my daily life. Ziji London’s Young Meditators Nights, held in the London Shambhala Centre, has been a valuable space for me in which to cultivate this practise, and I’ve even had the privilege of taking on increasing responsibility in Ziji London, which has often involved facilitating and promoting the Young Meditators Nights.

2 and a half weeks ago I finished my undergraduate studies and I am currently in the process of feeling/exploring what may next steps may be. The timing of the Ziji Youth Retreat aptly aligns with the closing of significant chapter of my life. Given this, it is my deep wish that I am able to attend the retreat, one key reason being that I hope to cultivate the courage to connect inward and listen to my intuition as I follow my feet during this challenging period.

Unfortunately at the moment we (Clare and I) are not in financial positions to be able to pay for most of the costs of attending the retreat, and that is ultimately the reason why we opted to create a page on Ziji-Give. All and any donations are welcome, and HUGELY appreciated, to help me cover the costs of travel and the programme fee. Thank you for taking the time to read this!


I am 21 years old and a university student. I have been suffering from depression and anxiety continuously for over a year, recently however I’ve reached a turning point as I found Shambhala and going to the Ziji youth group has really helped me to be able to love myself just as I am. Regular meditation and talking to people about the meditation has really helped me. I love hearing about other people’s fears and things they struggle with, it makes you realise although everyone is so uniquely different we all have things that bring us down. And a problem shared is a problem halved. So I hope I by going on the retreat I can meet loads of new people and hopefully be able to swap advice with them and help each other out.

Also, while I’m on the retreat I’m going to film bits of it to make a documentary, which will hopefully get other people to join the Ziji Youth group at Shambhala!
The following is a break-down of the costs!

£160 ($212) per person to fly from London to Limoges and back X 2 = $424

€320 ($373): Programme fee for the retreat per person X 2 = $747

$424 + $747 = TOTAL COST OF $1171

Progress: $585/$1171 received


Personal Info

Donation Total: $10

Ziji Youth Retreat

Dechen Choling

Help us to provide affordable meditation instruction for young people, and to work towards creating an accessible and inclusive spiritual community!

What is the Ziji Youth Retreat?

Inspired by last years Ziji Gar and the spirit of the Ziji Collective more generally, we are working hard to organise a summer meditation retreat for young people at Dechen Choling this July.

The retreat will first and foremost be an opportunity for young people to learn and practice meditation together. We hope to welcome participants who may be completely new to meditation into a shared space of learning and exploration alongside more experienced practitioners. We will also be considering how meditation relates to our relationships, to the way in which we engage with society, and to transformative action. We will be holding space for urgent and often painful questions about the state of our world to arise, as well as space to celebrate its beauty and potential. Through socially engaged practices, we hope to inspire and support one another to take meaningful action in our lives.

We want to celebrate the huge number of motivated and inspiring young people in Shambhala, Ziji and beyond by inviting everyone to share their wisdom and skills in participant-led sessions. What we do together will be a reflection of the interests and passions of the group. Engaging in contemplative and creative activities together, camping and eating communal meals, singing round the fire and swimming in the river, we will explore what it means to live as a community, to open our hearts and to freely offer time and energy to one another.

Why are we asking for financial support?

Like many before us, we are approaching this project from a place of longing to see an inclusive and accessible spiritual community. We also want to offer affordable meditation instruction for young people, so that the practices which can bring us into contact with basic goodness are not reserved only for those who can pay.

By inviting participants into leadership roles and incorporating open-space technology, we have thoughtfully designed the retreat to increase the scope for young people of diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, genders and sexual orientations to be represented and given voice at the level of leadership. However, many young people, especially those from marginalised groups, do not have sufficient funds to attend the retreat as participants in the first place.

In our experience, learning to be open and present is one of the best gifts we can give ourselves. With the help of even small donations, we will be able to offer support to young people who would not otherwise be able to give themselves this gift due to their financial circumstances. We also wish to offer discounts to students, to volunteers and those who work to serve others in jobs which do not pay well, and to those who are on the Shambhala path and who must save up for their next programme.

We hope to raise a total of $3275 (€2750) in order to offer:

  • 20 places at a subsidised rate for those on a low income or for those with higher travel costs.
  • 10 full scholarships for those who do not have any extra income, or for those with very high travel costs.
  • Travel, accommodation, and food for our mentors and coordinators, who have offered to take on this role on a completely voluntary basis in order to make the retreat more affordable for participants.

Together, what can we create?

As young meditators, we wholeheartedly believe in the ‘revolutionary’ potential of this practice. For this reason, we hope that the Ziji Youth Retreat will not only be an opportunity for young people to learn and practice meditation, but a chance for us to experiment with new ways of living together, and to prefigure a more wakeful, kind and just society that we long to see.

This is joyful and difficult work that we can only do together, and just a few euros, dollars or pounds will help us to welcome another person. We are deeply grateful for your generosity!

Progress: $1770/$3275 received


Personal Info

Donation Total: $10

Ziji Overhead Costs 2016-2017

As the Ziji Collective winds down our activities for 2017, we are asking for help to cover the group’s operating costs for the past couple of years, by reimbursing the individuals who have been paying out-of-pocket for things like web hosting and banking fees.

The Ziji Collective Overhead Costs break down as follows:
$345      Total Cost of Web Hosting Fees for the past three years
$55         Total Cost to set up the Ziji Collective’s Bank Account

With the successful completion of this fundraiser, we will enter 2018 with a financially clean slate ready to take on whatever comes our way next year. Thank you so much for your contribution, which is helping create a solid ground for next year and beyond!

Progress: $623/$400 received


Personal Info

Donation Total: $10

Ecosattva Training

Good morning fine Zijians! We are thankful to have a wonderful crew of folks seeking to explore Ecology and Dharma in an upcoming online retreat. The course offered by One Earth will directly support our Ziji gardeners and their connection to the precious Dharma teachers worldwide.

“One Earth Sangha’s [and the Ecosattva’s] mission is to bring the essential wisdom and practices from the Buddhist tradition to collective engagement on critical ecological crises. We assert that activism is more effective and sustainable when grounded in mindfulness and compassion and that social engagement is an essential part of the spiritual path. We bring these two forces, and their corresponding communities, together through teachings, community building and mindful action.” – One Earth Sangha

We at Ziji regard this training as a way for Ziji gardeners, past, present and future to gather around a vision of spiritual ecology, that will grow in Shambhala Dechen Choling, the Ziji Collective and flower into society as a whole.

The training entry fee is 100 dollars per person, and we ask for your support to cover this experience. Collectively Eric Hamilton, Sid, Cash, Agathe, Saiqa, Simon, Tsewang & Sjur Sandvik Holm are attending the program and three of these individuals are requesting a total of $160 in support to access the training.

Thank you for your generosity!

Progress: $167/$167 received


Personal Info

Donation Total: $10

Aubrey Kremer

Nashville, Tennessee

I am humbly asking for your help to fund part of my trip to France this summer to attend the Ziji Gar. I will be in Croatia for a family wedding beforehand and am excited to be traveling to France in July to attend my first Ziji Gar!

In case you’re wondering, Ziji is a Tibetan word meaning ‘bright confidence’, and gar is a Tibetan word meaning ‘encampment’. At the Ziji Gar we will participate in building a camp that we will live in for 9 days. We will participate in social meditation, participant-led workshops, dharma talks, music, and yoga.

The Gar’s emphasis is on “combining inner work with actively trying to help our world through social activism and in other skillful and gentle ways”.

I am beyond excited to be participating in the Gar! It will give me the opportunity to become a more sustainable person, emotionally and environmentally.

The Gar’s focus on social meditation gives me the chance to expand my experience with social meditation and become a more knowledgeable facilitator! I want to further my education in Social Meditation because it makes me feel like I can contribute to the world. My goal is that through experience from the Ziji Gar I not only embody the values but become an ambassador of the Ziji Collective.

Social Meditation has allowed me to bring space and authenticity into the world. When stressful situations arise and life happens, the practice of Social Meditation has provided me with the skills to create an uplifting growth experience for everyone.

Attending the Ziji Gar in France will also be an awesome influence as I help organize the Ziji Summit in Nashville later this November.

“We have been given the task of becoming architects of a new civilization. We are actually being asked to contribute to how the world is going to be. Do we want it to be based upon aggression?” – Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

Cost breakdown:
Ziji Gar
$115 Plane ticket from Croatia to France
$385 registration

Progress: $275/$500 received


Personal Info

Donation Total: $10

Ziji Garden Project

Dechen Chöling

Cliquer ici pour lire la version française

Update from October 2017

Dear supporters,

I am very glad and grateful to announce that our fundraising has now been completed with a total amount of 5750 USD!

I specifically would like to thank the European Donor Group, Ine Sterk and the Dutch Sangha (Fekkes Meike, Hemert Marijke, Pietersz Joke and Uries Ans), Maggie Lewis, Koos et Nikolette De Boer, Claude et Géraldine Bertin and all the community that supported us directly on the fundraising website.

Thanks to your support, we have been able to sponsor several volunteers this year such as Elouan Turmel (you can read his testimonial here), Cailin Burney-O’Dowd, Cash Clay and more to come: Simon Maïsterrena and Agathe Priou.

If there is any remainder left at the end of the year, we will use it to sponsor more volunteers in 2018 as we have already started to look for helpers for next year.

Many thanks to of those who support our project in many different ways whether from near or far.

Simon Bertin, Founder of the Ziji Garden

What is the Ziji Garden Project?

Located in Limousin, France, on the grounds of the Dechen Chöling meditation centre, the Ziji Gardens are growing bigger and embracing permaculture. With the vision of providing fresh, organic and healthy food for the whole community of Dechen Chöling, the Ziji gardeners endeavour to cultivate the earth in harmony with nature and humanity. Taking inspiration from techniques such as permaculture, biodynamics and agroécologie to work on our 1000 m2 plot.

Situated in one of the more sparsely populated regions of France, Dechen Chöling benefits from the néo-rural movement, where city dwellers chose to come and settle in the countryside. Those who make this choice have conviction about a way of life which can provide sustainable conditions for society and nature to come together and flourish. Nestled between these local initiatives – and having connected with such pioneering ideas – the intention of this project is to make Dechen Chöling’s gardens a part of the change taking place at a local level.

To make this happen, we must change our habits. We have to link with the current communities and to share with them our visions and experiences. The plan for Ziji Gardens was conceived after visiting an array of agricultural communities, from rural farms across France to urban gardens in the heart of Berlin. These gardens aim to exemplify environmentally-friendly growing techniques. Through education, demonstration and hands on experience, we hope to spread our inspiration to the many people who visit our gardens. Connecting with the earth – sowing, planting and cultivating crops – brings the simple realisation that food is indeed a medicine, as His Holiness the 17th Karmapa said. The love, energy and craft of growing vegetables makes a visible impact in the world. We stand for providing an alternative to the inordinate amount of produce we can find in our supermarkets, where food is sourced from foreign countries, carelessly grown with destructive methods and using harmful chemicals. Our produce will actively show the importance of taking care of the soil, the plants and the environment.

For updates and more information on the project, check out the Facebook page!

What do we have and what do we need?

In terms of production, our goal for 2017 is to be self-sufficient in vegetables for the staff of Dechen Chöling – that’s around 20 people! The centre has already shown their support by providing us with an initial budget of 2550€. This budget covers the running costs of daily tasks in the garden – seeding, planting, weeding and so forth. It also covers the refurbishment of our facility, including upgrades to our irrigation system and cold-frame hot-beds, the creation of infrastructure such as a veg-prep station and water-collecting tool-sheds. We will also design landscaping features such as bio-diverse ponds and uplifted contemplative spaces.

On top of that we have been awarded $1080! Our thanks to the Shambhala Trust and their Ziji Innovation Grants initiative, which provided support for an additional project called the “lasagne bed” garden. These new self-sufficient growing beds, located in the orchard of Dechen Chöling, will this year yield a delicious crop of squash and pumpkins.

However, despite the great start and immediate success, we still need your help! This fundraiser is aimed and financing two participants to come to Dechen Chöling, dedicating their time to our Ziji Gardens project for the season of 2017.

We are seeking to raise $5,551 (€5,145) in order to sponsor two participants for the program Meditation In Action. This amount corresponds to the fees of this program for 6 months – April through November – €10.50 per day per participant, and includes meals and lodgings during that time. MIAs are an integral part of the Dechen Chöling community, taking part in the daily life of running the centre, and having the opportunity to practice and study the Dharma. We appeal for your support for these two dedicated individuals to come here and grow with us.

What can we achieve?

As the founder of this project, I believe that Dechen Chöling’s gardens have tremendous potential in modern society as a vehicle for environmental awareness. The places where we grow our food are precisely the right setting for social transformation to occur. To change our social culture, we need to change the way we culture our crops. I feel the urgent need to raise awareness of our fading link with nature, of the aggression inherent to the speed of our urban lifestyles, and the pervasive system that sets the consumer further and further away from the producers. The Ziji Garden Project endeavors to create a model environment for this change to take place; a place to share practical knowledge and earthly wisdom for the benefit of future generations.

On behalf of the Ziji Gardens team, and all who have helped get this project off the ground – from Dechen Chöling and the surrounding neighbourhood, from across France, Europe and the world – we are very grateful for your generosity!

Simon Bertin, Founder



Progress: $5750/$5551 received


Personal Info

Donation Total: $10