Tibetan buddhist Temple
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Tibetan Buddhist Art furniture & Antiques from the monasteries of the Ser Shong (Golden Valley)
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Scripture Box SST22GS
Baronet 4 Tibet, Art Galleries, Dealers & Consultants, Vancouver, WA

side view Tibetan Buddhist antique scripture transport box with buddist icons
end view end view of Tibetan Buddhist scripture box with 3-syllable mantra
top view Avalokiteshvara's 6-syllable mantra written in sanskrit or tibetan holy text in 24 kt gold

Click on above image & blue links in text below for larger views.

This box has two mantras, one on the top in Tibetan holy text and one on each end in Tibetan text. The sides show lots of motion and interaction with good lay out and excellent kyungbur on this well done Tibetan Buddhist scripture transport box. The art work is very good, the colors are vibrant on this box; thematically it is about overcoming the delusions and poisons in our life that prevent us from advancing. This scripture storage box was never pressed into service and has been in storage for a few decades at the sange Monastery. It is quite customary for the monasteries to make more items then they can distribute as they are in the business of providing Tibetan Buddhist functional art for the other monasteries all over Tibet. If it would have been sent out to be used for scripture storage the interior would have been stained a very dark purple. The top has the 6-syllable mantra of Avalokitshvara, OM MANI PADME HUM in the Tibetan Holy text that is similar to Sanskrit. Please read the iconography for more details as there are 7 syllables and the first syllable has a special meaning. The front and back are basically the same. The mantra on each end of the box is OM AH HOM, which is the "Body~Speech~Mind" of Buddha, as in one's acquisition of these properties and is written in the regular Tibetan script. The top opens by sliding to the right.

Dimensions:  W= 26"  x D= 8" x H= 8"
Age: early 20th century
Materials:  unknown hardwoods

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SST22GS PRICE $729.00 plus shipping, handling & insurance; Pacific Coast $68.00 ~ MTN States $77.00 ~ Mid-West $85.00 ~ East coast $92.00~~ Western Europe $165.00 Other destinations, contact David for quote; david@Baronet4Tibet.com



The mantra on the top is OM MANI PADME HUM. The  6 syllables are the famous mantra of Avalokiteshvara, which is sometimes explained as ”The jewel in the heart of the Lotus.” The first OM refers to Buddha’s body, speech & mind, as in possessing this oneself; the MA of MANI is a jewel or treasure, (wisdom/thinking). The NI of the MANI is the altruistic mind. PADMI is the lotus flower, the nature of reality of Buddha’s wisdom. HUM is the determination and resolution to acquire and retain these qualities. The first character is not pronounced and has no pronounciation, it is a pause character: this pause can be for two different reasons. First reason in to contemplate on the meaning of the mantra; the second reason is to clear your mind and to think of nothing. Either is a good practice and it will depend upon what the practitioner is trying to accomplish.

The mantra, painted in gold, on each end of the box is OM AH HOM, which is the "Body~Speech~Mind" of Buddha, as in one's acquisition of these properties. The colorful pattern of layers is a duplication of the tabs that would be found in a Tibetan Buddhist scripture library; these tabs, made of cloth would be the identification of the scriptures.

The sides have at their center an Ashoka blossom, the second of the holy Tibetan Buddhist flowers which is surrounded by Durva grass; then flanked by rock cliffs, mare's-tail cumulus clouds and Mahamudra Mists at the far edges.

The Ashoka 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. Ashoka ruled a vast empire 2200 years ago and put his peoples welfare and interests above his own, he supported Buddhism, however he was insistent upon religious tolerance and open dialog.

Durva grass is a symbol of long life.  Because grass is highly resilient, it is believed to be immortal.  Therefore, it proclaims the end of samsara, the successive death and rebirth of all beings  It usually takes a long time to overcome samsara, and a longer lifespan will allow greater progress in moving towards enlightenment within a given cycle.

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 Kusha grass growing out of them.Kusha grass grows to a height of two feet and is used to purify defilements.  Those wishing purification sleep in a field or patch of kusha grass for ritual purification.  Placed under a pillow at night before initiation, Kusha grass is believed to produce clear dreams; it is also used to enhance the clarity of visualization and meditation.  Kusha is the grass of choice for the manufacture of sacred meditation mats.

Mare's tail cumulus clouds are quite common in Tibet. One significance of these fast moving clouds and the pure clarity of the sky is metaphorically an illustration of the Buddha Mind. Clouds may come and go across the heavens, like the transitory thoughts or delusions which appear to obscure the mind's true nature, yet the nature of the sky remains unchanged. This is like the mirror, which is always unaffected by the appearances which arise in it: the sky is clear, transparent, infinite and immaculate.

The billowing clouds or mist are Mahamudra: the union of compassion and wisdom -- the ultimate realization of one’s true nature.  They are represented as the transformation of our vices into the 4 powers of regret, vow, reliance, and remedy, so the practitioner will realize purification and enlightenment.  This is also the basic meaning of the "Heart Sutra."




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