The red and 24kt gold zigzag kyungbur adorning the frame is the transition of passion into compassion and the resultant Buddha like purity of actions and thoughts. This compassion is an active quality rather than mere sympathetic feelings not transformed into action. Compassion refers to action that is exactly consonant with whatever is occurring and that is not self-referential.
The top is the most striking part of this Tibetan Buddhist altar table: front and center is an unusual offering bowl with a Tibetan horse-head fiddle (go phong) or lute and an ornate mirror with some bael fruit just under the neck of the fiddle or lute with a silk scarf that partially obscures a white conch shell. This represents the the five sense objects as an offering. Mirror, sight: fiddle, sound: perfumed conch shell, smell: a silk cloth, touch: and fruit, taste. The two lower corners have mare's tailed cumulus clouds and above those clouds are torrents of water. The water on the left has Cintamani, the Precious Queen's earrings and red coral, the center blue Cintamani with the red flames is Chakravartin's Precious 8 faceted magical jewel. Finally above the mirror are lotus buds, just getting ready to open, all is set in the pure lands. In Tibet, the lute is known as pi wang, in Sanskrit the vina. In Tibetan art, the lute is held by such deities as Sarasvati, the goddess of knowledge and wisdom; Shabdavajra, the offering goddess of sound; Dhritarashtra, the white guardian king of the east; Vinadhara, the offering goddess of music; and the gandharvas, or celestial musicians. The mirror is an ancient Buddhist symbol for clarity, completeness of perception, and purity of consciousness. A mirror reflects a thing objectively, but what we see in the mirror is not the thing itself. Because the object is not seen directly, it may be seen more accurately ~ more clearly, without judgment and with greater perspective. This can lessen the tendency to see a thing as fixed or solid and encourage better understanding. The mirror, or perception, more effectively propels the mind toward insight and compassion than mere argument or lecture. The wood apple, or bael fruit, is a baseball-sized fruit with a hard skin and a sticky, highly aromatic pulp. This fruit is eaten more for its medicinal qualities than for its taste. Bael fruit increases one's beneficial, positive karma and thus brings one closer to release from samsara. The fruit also symbolizes the goal of recognizing emptiness and dependency and the connection between cause and effect. It challenges us to avoid actions that will cause suffering and to increase actions that will promote healing.
The front and back which are basically identical have a single panel design featuring a rock simulacra HUM with subtle energy moving universally. there is plenty of movement depicted in the rock cliffs, the subtle energy rays and the Mahamudra Mists set behind all else. The rock/cliff formation represents the syllable "E" which appears in the opening stanza of early Buddhist scriptures, ("'thus,' I have heard"). The blue and green cliffs represent the unmoving nature of the mind when enlightenment has been attained. The tops of these cliffs have durva grass growing out of them. HUM is best described as determination, a hard fixed non-wavering determination. The depiction shows a realization of reality and an active behavior to help others; a WILL to help others that results in action as well as positive thought that becomes action.
The end drawers have a gold offering bowl with bilva fruit and gold coral as an offering. Medicinally, Bilva is a potent astringent and highly regarded for its purifying qualities in traditional Indian folk medicine. The unripe interior of the fruit, especially when made into a jam, was the best known cure for diarrhea and dysentery. It is regarded as one of the most sacred fruits and serves as one of the main offering fruits. In this offering of Bilva fruit, representing the sense-offering of taste, the Buddha Amoghasiddhi is manifested as motivation or will.