A hermit is an enlightened who has dedicated his life to the teaching of the Truth he has discovered and experienced. I am a hermit too. Hermits do not dwell in any one particular place – theirs is a constant effort to travel and try to awaken as many sentient beings as time and resources allow them to. In the Christian Bible they are referred to as prophets while in other places they are referred to as mystics. These people are completely contented with life and only they don’t hanker for material things, possessions and marriage – they have renounced.
At Lotus Mountain the hermit Rengeho held up his staff one day and addressed the crowds who had come to see him: “Why is it so many cannot live the hermit’s life?” Since no one answered, he himself replied, “Because they do not have strength enough for the Way.” Then he asked the crowd, “Well, isn’t that right?” Again he replied, “Carrying my staff, I will ignore people. I will just depart for the thousand, the ten thousand peaks.”
A Buddhist monk always carried a staff. In India the staff was an absolute necessity to measure the depth of streams before crossing and to protect the monk from snakes and other animals during his travels. However, when Buddhism arrived in China, the staff was not essential for Chinese monks, and so the staff began to take on other meanings. We read of staffs swallowing the universe and spitting out the world, staffs killing and giving life. The staff became a symbol of supreme enlightenment.
Rengeho lived a simple hermit’s life at Lotus Mountain. He held up (taught the same lesson about enlightenment) his staff or twenty years, but no one really answered. Lotus Mountain is the mountain of enlightenment. The peaks he speaks of are the peaks of serenity, beauty, freedom, joy, honor, confidence, satisfaction, and many others. He wants to show Lotus Mountain and its many beautiful peaks to everyone—but people do not understand.