“The teachings always mention that individuals should spend time in hermitages and go to the mountains until they stabilize their realization because there are fewer distractions. Mountain retreat means “hermitage”—it is one of the best places to make yourself strong so you are not disturbed by all the fears and habitual patterns that are not healthy for anyone. Practicing in a hermitage makes it easier for the old habitual patterns that prevent our realization and disturb our peace of mind to subside. That is why the Buddha and Guru Padmasambhava always recommended practicing in mountain retreat.
Among all the types of hermitages, practicing in mountains is very important. For example, all of the twenty-four disciples of Guru Rinpoche preferred to remain in mountain retreat, where they studied and learned until they themselves became the teachings. They didn’t keep the Dharma outside of themselves. Throughout Tibet, there are so many mountain hermitages where people have practiced to achieve realization. Milarepa chose to stay in mountain retreat, which he named as his “castle,” and so many other masters in all the lineages did this as well, including Longchenpa and Jigme Lingpa. This is why Richo Mountain Retreat teachings are very popular.”
Ven. Khenpo Tsewang Rinpoche
Preface to Inborn Realization: A Commentary on His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche’s Mountain Retreat Instructions
Photo of Ven. Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche in Vancouver in the 1990s.
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