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Manuscript Cover C055-06 A Host of Great Ones
Antique Tibetan manuscipt cover with the host of great teachers Antique Tibetan manuscript cover with Auspicious symbols circa 1700
deities side

Back side

Tibetan puja on side of antique manuscript cover

Tibetan puja and blessing on end of manuscript cover

side long edge

end

click on the above images to see a larger view

The deities side has wonderfully detailed paintings of Milarepa, Sakya Pandita, Shakyamuni Buddha, probably Sakya Pandita again and Je Tsong Khapa. The art work is masterful and in excellent condition. The great Buddhist teachers side is painted on a cloth covered with sanded clay that is glued to the board; the board has shrank over the centuries and this has resulted into cloth separating in places to accommodate the shrinking. The depictions and their mudras provide great teachings to the serious practitioner, it is like getting five tangkas for the price of one (expanded iconography will be supplied to the purchaser). The cover side again is most excellent art work, also in very fine condition. There exists use of brown pigments on this side; this is very rare to see brown used as it is not one of the basic colors of Tibetan Monastic art. This manuscript cover is made out of a single plank, which is evident when looking at the end view, the tree rings are visible (there are over 120 rings visible). The right end of the top has a piece missing from the gold border; this piece appears to have been missing since it was made. The side and end of this manuscript cover have the "skyab dro" this is a blessing and is also called the Buddhism Refuge formula, please see iconography for details.

The art work on the manuscript covers has nothing to do with the books that they cover. They are used mostly a a protective weight to keep the pages flat while in storage in one of the many cubby holes in the monastic library, generally built along the side of the Assembly Hall.They are also used to keep insects out of them as the pages are made from the bark of a tree.

This manuscript cover comes with a Certificate of Authenticity brush signed by a monk at the Sange Monastery, an iconography and images of the lama that blessed the manuscript cover.

Dimensions: W=30-3/4 " H=8-5/8 " Thickness= 1-1/2 "
Material: unknown wood
Circa: 1750 ~ front side is painted on a cloth glued to the board

This item can be purchased securely online click here

Item #C055-06 price $1395.00 plus crating and shipping: ~EAST COAST $94.00 ~MIDWEST $85.00 ~MTN STATES $79.00 ~WEST COAST $72.00; other destinations, contact us  for a quote. 

Iconography

The edges of the manuscript cover have the "skyab dro" this is a blessing and is also called the Buddhism Refuge formula it is as follows:

It starts out with a greeting of the utmost respect, two vertical lines and then:

May all the sentient beings enjoy happiness and the root of happiness,
may they be free from suffering and the root of suffering.
may they not be separated from true happiness, devoid of suffering,
may they dwell in great equanimity, which is free from attachment and aversion.

Until awakening I take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha,
May I realize Buddhahood,
through the merit of generosity and the other liberating qualities,
for the benefit of all beings.

There is a short thought at the end, which has not been translated. The two vertical lines mean the end of a complete thought.

The top is well decorated with a red border that has a Four-Petaled Flower on the upper border and an Ashoka blossom on the bottom border, which are set upon a doily looking depiction much like the borders of some of the monk's windows. The Four-Petaled Flower is symbolic of the 4 Noble truths, the middle way and the first teaching of Buddha. 1. Life is suffering. 2. Ignorance is the cause of suffering.  3. The cessation of suffering is the goal of life because it transcends pains and pleasure.  4. The way to the cessation of suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path, which aligns with the eight spokes of the Dharma Wheel. This is generally suggested in the Four-Petaled Flower with the extra, but much smaller petals just between the main petals. The Ashoka blossom dominates all of the other floral representations on this manuscript cover. The Ashoka, the second of the  trinity of holy flowers, sprouts from the holy water-font of the Amitayus, one of the forms in which the Buddha Amitabha appeared (symbolizing the transformation from greed to discriminating wisdom).  The sprout materialized from a tear that Buddha Amitabha shed when hearing of the deeds of the great warrior Ashoka that overcame all of his enemies to win freedom for his oppressed people. True spiritual freedom comes from overcoming the sins and lusts that enslave the soul. Emperor Ashoka ruled a vast empire 2200 years ago, encompassing much of present India, putting his peoples welfare and interests above his own, he supported Buddhism, however he was insistent upon religious tolerance and open dialog.

The center of the top has 5 of the Eight Auspicious symbols; the Infinite Knot, the Parasol, the Victory Banner, the Inexhaustible Treasure jar and the Conch Horn. In the background are mare's tail cumulus clouds and some grass, called durva in Sanskrit.

The Infinite, Knot (Sanskrit, "Srivastsa"), is the classic icon for the concept of reality. The interwoven lines are graphic representations of the concept that everything in the world is interconnected, and therefore, dependent origination is the underlying reality of existence.  The knot also reflects the endless cycle of death and rebirth, mirroring infinity and the wisdom of the Buddha. It also symbolizes the Buddha's endless wisdom and compassion. The sanskrit term means 'beloved of the goddess Shri.' Shri refers to Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, wherein the shrivatsa term in particular is the curl of hair in a 8 looped knot on the breast of Vishnu (just to further complicate the origins).

The parasol and the shade it casts symbolize wisdom.  Its hanging skirt indicates compassion, so the parasol becomes a symbol of protection from the painful heat of the suffering human incur from the spiritual poisons of desire, hate, greed and ignorance.  The Victory banner is an early Buddhist motif signifying the enlightenment of the Buddha and the triumph of knowledge over ignorance.  This symbol also is used to recall the Buddha’s triumph over his temptress, Mara.  It further announces that all spiritual obstacles have been overcome and good fortune has arrived.   Occasionally, an 8- sided parasol is seen.  This element refers to the eightfold path to enlightenment. Scripturally, according the the originating text, the Parasol should have 1000 spokes, but as this is impossible to depict in a painting, it is either round, four or eight sided.

The Victory Banner is an early Buddhist motif meaning the enlightenment of the Buddha and the triumph of knowledge over ignorance, this symbol also is used to recall the Buddha’s triumph over his temptress, Mara. Mara and her demonic hosts personify hindrances and defilements. The Victory banner in Tibetan Buddhism symbolizes the 11 methods for overcoming these defilements. The development of knowledge, wisdom, compassion, meditation, and ethical vows; taking refuge in the Buddha; abandoning false views; generating spiritual goals, skilful means and selflessness; and the unity of the 3 samadhis: emptiness, formlessness, and desirelessness.

The Inexhaustible Treasure Jar is another early Buddhist motif meaning the enlightenment of the Buddha and the triumph of knowledge over ignorance, this symbol also is used to recall the Buddha’s triumph over his temptress, Mara. Mara and her demonic hosts personify hindrances and defilements. The Victory banner in Tibetan Buddhism symbolizes the 11 methods for overcoming these defilements. The development of knowledge, wisdom, compassion, meditation, and ethical vows; taking refuge in the Buddha; abandoning false views; generating spiritual goals, skilful means and selflessness; and the unity of the 3 samadhis: emptiness~formlessness~& desirelessness.

The right spiraling (echoing the celestial movement of the sun, moon and stars) conch shell is one of the oldest icons in Buddhism.  It is made by nature and not man. A conch horn sounds in all directions, as do the teachings of the Buddha. Consequently, the conch is seen as a vehicle fearlessly proclaiming the truth of the dharma in all directions. It is also seen as an emblem of power and authority and is thought to banish evil. The white conch shell was presented to Shakyamuni by the great sky god Indra.

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