Rechen Cave

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ras chen phug; reg chen phug

The "Rechen Cave" on Lapchi mountain, Nov. 2005. The mountain in the background is known as "Karpo Bumye", and is considered to be the palace of Avalokiteshvara.

While "ras chen phug" means "Cave of the Great Repa," presumably referring to Jetsun Milarepa, the present retreat master at Lapchi, Dordzin Dondrub Palden, informed me on a recent visit that there is also another meaning, namely "reg chen phug" or Cave of the Great Touch," referring to a footprint left by Milarepa inside the cave.

One of the four larger caves at the sacred site of Lapchi. It has a clear footprint of Jetsun Milarepa on the inside. Milarepa, Rechungpa, Lapchiwa Namkha Gyaltsen, Shabkar Tsogdruk Rangdrol and many other masters used this cave for extensive solitary retreats. It used to be the main assembly place for yogins and retreatants there, before Shabkar came in the 1830's and built a small temple and monks quarters at the foot of the mountain. This small monastery, Chöra Gephel Ling, has been renovated several times and exists to the present day. [TSD]