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Feb 24
Mandala Projects, Mountain States
Ziji: Resources for Uplifting Your World
Amy Kida (center) with other Ziji staff, Alicia Brown, Mark Glass and Graham Navin (left to right)

Amy Kida (center) with other Ziji staff, Alicia Brown, Mark Glass and Graham Navin (left to right)

I fell in love with Ziji from the first moment I walked in. With its uplifted environment, beautiful shrine supplies, and every dharma book under the sun, it was a joy simply to be there. That was the winter of 1986. Little did I know the wonderful opportunity that lay in store for me eleven years later.

A little history: In the summer of 1985, Sky Brooks was helping to run the Commissary at the first seminary ever held at Rocky Mountain Dharma Center, now Shambhala Mountain Center. During that time Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche said to her (more than once!), “You should do this in Boulder.” Thus Ziji was born.

Sky gradually bought out the old Naropa Bookstore along with their mail order catalog, and created an oasis of shopping sanity on Tenth Street, just off Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall. She held a contest to come up with the name. Ziji, a Tibetan word, won out, with Trungpa Rinpoche’s blessings. (Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche defines ziji as “shining, glittering, splendid dignity, and referring to the warrior’s quality of unconditional confidence”.)

Sangha member Jeff Fuller created the beautiful calligraphy logo, which we still use with great pride today.

The invitation to Ziji's opening inside the Boulder Shambhala Center

The invitation to Ziji's grand opening in 1987

Sky’s eye for yun [richness] attracted Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike, and many sangha members worked at Ziji at one time or another. In the early 1990s Penny Lamphier joined the team as a partner.

After eleven years, Sky was ready to call it a day, and in the winter of 1997 she decided to sell Ziji. Meanwhile, I had returned from living in Japan and was settling into Boulder with my young family. I had just given birth to our second child and was looking for part-time work. I thought maybe I could work at Ziji! I did not expect to see the For Sale sign in the window. My heart dropped, but in I went and my search for a job quickly turned into the much sexier prospect of buying a business!

It’s now been twelve years, and although I can’t say it’s always been easy (or part-time), I can say that I don’t regret a moment. My love of Asian art, the desire to help people bring the sacred into their home, and our wonderful Shambhala training in creating uplifted space has all come together in running Ziji.

Sometimes people even call me Ziji – “Hey, Ziji” – I could do worse!

Exterior of the Boulder Shambhala Center, and the Ziji front window

Exterior of the Boulder Shambhala Center, and the Ziji front window

From catalog to website (www.ziji.com) to small shop at the Boulder Shambhala Center, the journey continues as we try to flow with these changing times. A few years ago I dropped the printed catalog, so more energy could be focused online. We are expanding the Ziji website all the time and have recently added a fun interactive section devoted to family meditation developed with Kerry Maclean (click here to visit Ziji’s “Contemplayive Kids” section.)

Although our top-selling products remain sumi ink and lamp oil, our online customer base has expanded well beyond the Shambhala sangha. Buddhists of many traditions order our meditation supplies and people from all over the world choose ikebana vases and other items from our dharma arts selection. I love that!

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