Mountain Dharma


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Research Fellowships in Buddhist Studies


Department of History


Mountain Dharma is a study of the intellectual culture that has animated the practice of long-term meditative retreat in Tibetan Buddhism. Through the systematic comparison of thirty retreat manuals written between the twelfth century and the twentieth, this project traces what exegetes of the tradition have identified as the persistent challenges that define life in retreat, and the strategies they have articulated for how to overcome them. Of particular interest is how the meditating subject is constructed via these manuals’ varying prescriptions concerning the more mundane facets of the retreat endeavor, including food, the body, the location of the retreat, and relations with other meditators and the laity. Ultimately this book demonstrates the extent to which Buddhist meditation has historically been informed by highly localized cultural practices and conditions.