Helga and Karl Riedl
Helga (True Wonderful Loving Kindness) and Karl (True Communion) Riedl are the spiritual leaders of the Center. They are lay teachers in the Plum Village tradition and have been following the spiritual path since the late seventies. After living in Asia for several years and then spending long periods of time in large international spiritual communities in England and the USA, in 1985 Helga and Karl found their spiritual homeland in the Buddhist teachings. Subsequent stays in monasteries in Sri Lanka and Thailand, intensive Zen practice and the study of Tibetan Buddhism prepared them for their meeting with Thich Nhat Hanh in 1992, while they lived in Italy, at the Lama Tzong Khapa Institute in Pomaia. Briefly after that, they followed Thay to Plum Village, where they lived and practiced under his guidance for six years; in 1994 they were ordained Dharma Teachers.
Since 1999 they have been living and teaching at the Intersein Zentrum, a lay practice and meditation center, from which the Avalokita Center has drawn inspiration. Here they offer retreats and opportunities for collective and individual practice, together with a nucleus of resident practitioners. At the same time, they devote themselves with extraordinary energy to spreading the Dharma in Europe and especially in Italy, with increasing frequency and participation. Thanks to their joyful presence, their ability to elaborate and make traditional Buddhist teachings closer to Western sensibilities, the two lay teachers represent an invaluable point of reference and spiritual support for the Italian sangha.
Some of the teachings offered to Italian practitioners in recent years have been collected in two books: Verso una vita risvegliata e Non dimenticatevi di sorridere.