In Buddhism, the Bodhisattva Avalokitheshvara is the symbolic embodiment of compassion. He is often depicted with many hands. With the help of these 1000 arms and hands it is possible for him to help all beings everywhere at the same time. 

Avalokitheshvara stands symbolically for our mutual support, our constant connection to all other people and beings. In today’s fragmented world, we need these 1000 hands that we offer one anotherThis is the reason why we founded this association. It is not about personal gain, but about the benefit for the community. We hope to achieve non-profit status in the near future. 

We want to create rewarding work together and share our lives. We do not divide the world into the helpless, those in need who need a “strong hand”, and the helpers, the “good ones”. All we do is share our experience by acting, working, being together. Our goal is to create a place where we can live together in an all-encompassing way, i.e. work, eat, drink, cook, clean, celebrate and develop spiritually in community. 

Since this is a very big task and requires a lot of energy, time and, above all, money, several phases are planned to make all of this become true: 

☛ phase 1: production of edible goods, sold through retail and online

phase 2: construction of rooms: homes, working environment for our own production, therapy rooms and community spaces

phase 3: opening of your own café

Phase 1:
Organic bakery products will be produced in wholesale for cafés, health food stores, 
supermarkets and so forth. A catering kitchen will be rented by the hour, providing a work environment for both volunteer and permanent employees, where wares will be produced and delivered to customers. The permanent positions will be given to people in difficult life situations, such as former inmates. These concepts are not new and are being realized successfully around the world, prominently in the United States. Examples are Greyston Bakery in New York (sole producer of brownies for Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream), Laughing Bear Bakery in St. Louis, where former prisoners are given the opportunity to re-enter the job market, and Homeboy Industries, a project by Father Gregory Boyle in Los Angeles, which offers education and work programs to young adults who try to find their way out of criminal gang environments.  

Right from the start in the first phase we will expand the project with a dialogue platform in order to enter into dialogue with scientists and practitioners and to re-introduce the importance of contemplative practice and spirituality into society.

The first event will take place in autumn 2020, on the subject of “Connectedness and the Microbiome”, featuring Univ. Prof. Dr. Gabriele Berg from TU Graz. Beatrix Teichmann-Wirth will talk about the psychological aspects of this topic. Next up, we plan a symposium on the subject of “Alternatives to Prison Sentences”, in cooperation with Prof. Karin Bruckmüller, SFU Wien, und SIM (Selbst-  und Interessenvertretung im Maßnahmenvollzug). Both events will be paired with scientific studies that take a close look at the impact of contemplative practices in these areas.

Phase 2:

A building will be purchased in the city of Vienna, with independent housing units of various sizes for permanent employees without domicile,
a professional kitchen for bakery wholesale (an ideal use of the ground floor),
a zendo (meditation hall),
an event location for public talks, debates and so forth that will also be used for Yoga and Qigong classes,
rooms for therapy work,
and community spaces like kitchens and living rooms that can be used by any community member.

In short: simply everything that is needed in order to work, practice, and live together as a community.

Phase 3:

The wholesale production of baked goods for catering will be expanded to a full bakery and confectionery with its own café and shop, where handmade bread and pastries as well as trading goods will be sold and where a permanent communication space can unfold.

These phases may of course develop in a different order and merge into each other.