Ziji appears in the language of both Buddhism and Shambhala.
The Vidyadhara commented that both zi and ji have a sense of light and brilliance to them, glossing zi as “shine” or “glitter,” and ji as “splendor.” He added that ji also carries a sense of “monolithic.” In keeping with that, when translating buddhadharma we have rendered ziji as “splendor,” “radiance,” “brilliance,” and “full of splendor.” One piece of etymology might be of interest here: zi also can mean a variety of precious stone unique to Tibet, a type of black and white striped agate with “eyes.” The more eyes, the more it was valued in Tibetan culture, and as an historical note, the Vidyadhara often wore atheb-long (thumb ring) made of zi, a gift to him from Namgyal (aka “Nammie”) Ronge, brother of Noedup and Palden.
In the Shambhala teachings, ziji has particular importance. Though on occasion, especially in our early days, we translated ziji as “light,” we quickly settled on two renderings that the Vidyadhara felt brought out the inner quality that resulted in an outer radiance: “confidence” and “dignity.” These are key terms in the Shambhala teachings. In fact, both render the one Tibetan phrase, ziji. The choice we made largely depended on the context—often the result of lengthy discussions with the tertön, the Druk Sakyong.