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:
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.
Three different renderings of Maitreya grace this manuscript cover in different poses or depictions.
The center rendering is quite different depicting a prediction by shakyamuni that those who followed Maitreya's teachings would be reborn in the 1st circle of Maitreya's entourage and would be able to complete the spiritual path under his guidance, thus making it a custom to recite the following verses:
When like the sun rising over the mountains
Maitreya Buddha appears at the Diamond Seat
and opens my lotus mind,
May I fulfill all the needs of the swarms of fortunate disciples
who will cluster like thirsty bees longing to drink.
And when Maitreya Buddha with great pleasure extends
His right hand to my head and predicts where and when
I shall gain full enlightenment, may I achieve
This enlightenment quickly for everyone's sake.
Maitreya is wearing a blue leopard skin, usually seen on female deities: the leopard skin represents wisdom and the blue would signify the transmutation of passion into compassion, which is the aim of wisdom.
The left Maitreya: in ages past Maitreya was a disciple of Buddha Ratna-chattra, a monk called Sthiramati he had infinitely more concern for the welfare of others than he did for himself. He would forsake food until he had established a vowed number of beings on the paths of pure moral discipline, concentration on wisdom. The gods took notice of the dedication to others' happiness and his radiant kindness and love (Skt. maitri) that they called him Maitreya AKA "Loving One". One of the main practices of Maitreya is the 7-limbed Puja: two hands are in the teaching mudra at his heart and hold the stems of two lotuses; these bear a wheel, indicating his role as the next wheel-turning Founding Buddha, and a vase, indicating that unlike Shakyamuni, who was born royalty, maitreya will be member of the priestly, or brahmin caste.
The right figure of Maitreya has to do with Je Tsong Khapa and his relationship with Maitreya and is sitting on an Ashoka throne.
The Ashoka Blossom throne is the second of the trinity of holy flowers, sprouting 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 and subsequent King that overcame all of his enemies to win freedom for his oppressed people.
Along the bottom of the front side are various depictions of Cintamani, elephant tusks and a flaming blue jewel. When Cintamani are depicted in sets of 3, they represent the body, speech and mind of Buddha such as the practitioner may possess. Cintamani are also referred to as the “Thinking Jewel” and symbolize the importance of teaching and as well as the enlightened mind. The elephant tusks represent the entire elephant and along with the blue flaming jewel are two the the Seven Precious Possessions of Chakravartin. Chakravartin, or Wheel Turner in Hinduism refers to an ideal ruler, but in Buddhism, Chakravartin has come to mean a Buddha whose all-encompassing teachings are universally true. The Precious Elephant is a symbol of the strength of the mind in Buddhism. Exhibiting noble gentleness, the precious elephant serves as a symbol of the calm majesty possessed by one who is on the path. Specifically, it embodies the boundless powers of the Buddha, which are miraculous aspiration, effort, intention, and analysis. The flaming blue jewel, an eight-faceted jewel, as in having eight magical properties: it cools when the days are hot, warms when the days are cold, illuminates the darkness of night, causes rain to fall or a spring to appear when one is thirsty, it brings to fruition what ever the bearer desires, it heals emotional afflictions, and cures all of the diseases of those who are in its range of its light and lastly prevents untimely death as in sons/daughters passing on before mother/father.
The back side of the manuscript cover has very nice brown winter dragon. The red border is adorned with gold, featuring a 4-petaled flower with scrolling durva grass radiating out. Unlike its demonic European counterpart, the Tibetan dragon is a creature of great creative power; a positive icon, representing the strong male yang principle of heaven, change, energy, wealth and creativity. Dragons are shape shifters, able to transform at will, from as small as the silkworm to a giant that fills the entire sky. Dragons are depicted in one of two colors, green or brown. The green, or azure dragon of Buddhism ascends into the sky at the spring equinox; it represents the light's increasing power in springtime and the easterly direction of the sunrise. The brown dragon is the autumn equinox, when it descends into a deep pool, encasing itself in mud until the next spring, but its spirit is still with the practitioner bringing wealth and health. The pearls, or jewels clutched in the claws of the dragon represent wisdom and health. The dragon can control the weather by squeezing the jewels to produce dew, rain or even downpours when clutched tightly. The dragon is the vehicle of Vairochana, the white Buddha of the center or the east. The 4-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.