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 & resolution to acquire & retain these qualities.
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 sides have a a very cheerful Zipak that appears to be hanging on to Durva grass, flanking the Zipak are Dharma wheels with yin-yang in blue and red in the center. Below the main icons is a series of rainbows and mountains. In the background there are the billowing Mahamudra mists. Kusha grass adorns the diagonal lines that were a popular element of Chinese silk brocades given as Choyon during the start of the Qing dynasty. Zeeba or Zipak (Tibetan) The Zipak originates in a Shaivite legend from the Shandha Purana. Shiva created a demon called Jalandhara from the blaze of his third eye. Jalandhara assumed great power and desired an incestuous relationship with Parvati, the consort of Shiva and Jalandhara's adoptive mother. Jalandhara persuaded Rahu, one of his demonic friends, to demand Parvati's favor. When Shiva got wind of this, he was understandably outraged, so his third eye blazed again, thereby creating the Zeeba, who made a beeline to devour Rahu. Rahu decided that Zeeba was going to eat him bones and all and begged Shiva for mercy; whereupon, Shiva offered forgiveness and called off Zeeba. Because Zeeba had not had anything to eat since coming into the world and had been deprived of his only prey, he turned on himself and devoured his own body until only the head and hands remained. Shiva was very pleased with his handiwork and invited Zeeba to remain as the guardian to his door. Since then, he has become a reminder of the consequences of gluttony and greed and also stands as a guardian of practitioners. Zeeba's fingers point to his missing body to show what can happen when someone is overcome by avarice. Here the Zipak is hanging on to Durva grass on behalf of the practitioner. 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 Dharma Wheel, in three parts, the wheel exists as a hub, the center of the world. The 8 spokes denote the 8 paths to enlightenment. These 8 steps work together, not separately. 1. right understanding . 2. right attitude 3. right speech 4. right action 5. right work 6. right effort 7. right mindfulness 8. right meditation The rim represents the attribute of limitation. All are contained within a circle, which is perceived to be perfect and complete, like the teachings of the Buddha. In the center is a red and blue yin-yang: the yin-yang, shaped like spiraled tear drops, constitute a circle that is divided in two by an S. Yin is the female, the passive, the receptive, the dark and the soft. Yang is the masculine, the active, the light and the stern. The joining of the two created from the One is the source of creative energy in the Universe. The Blue is the transmutation of passion into compassion and the red is the active quality of this compassion. 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." The rainbow is eternity’s expression of momentary delight. This is Auspicious and takes on a supernatural meaning: the demise of a great teacher and his rebirth. Rainbows materialize and dissolve into nothingness, and in Tibetan tradition, it is the “Body of Light” or the “Rainbow Body” and refers to a great master who has attained Mahamudra and no longer perceives the world as a conceptual concrete dimension; rather, he now permeates space as mist, also known as the ultimate form of reality. The self is now permeating space with luminescence transparency, with nothing solid or any sharp lines of separation. In this case the colors displayed, blue and green, represent the unmoving nature of the mind when enlightenment has been attained. 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.