Both sides of this box sport a green-eyed Zipak that is flanked by Dharma Wheels with a colorful yin-yang symbol in the center. The squares and diagonals are similar to brocades offered as Choyon by the early Qing Dynasty. at the bottom of thee are mountains and rainbows. The diagonals have kusha grass growing out of them. The sky shows blue and orange cumulus clouds and in the upper corners are bleu Mahamudra Mists. Zipak (Tibetan) or Zeeba (Indian) 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. His green eyes are just nice with no known significance.
The Dharma Wheel ~~Sanskrit chakra ~ Tibetan `khor lo. is 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 this depiction the hub is also the yin-yang symbol: The yin-yang, shaped like spiraled tear drops, constitute a circle that is divided in two by an S. The dot, not depicted here, in the middle of each half symbolizes that each element at its highest point carries within itself the seed of its polar opposite, that it can change and cross over into the other. 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 depiction of the mountains acknowledge them as the source of water; only in Tibet can water offerings be made according to Atisha: at the age 59, he wrote his most influential text, Lamp of the Path to Enlightenment. In this text, he organized the many teachings into a pathway for progressive training. When he later went to Tibet, he was so taken with the purity of the water that he sanctioned it as an 8th offering for those in Tibet. Sprouting out of the mountain tops and on the diagonals is kusha grass. 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. The billowing blue clouds in the upper corners 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." Intermixed with the Mahamudra mists are mare's tail cumulus clouds which 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 colorful top has a Lotus utpala & 3 Cintamani (one of the Cintamani is the Eight-faceted Precious Jewel of Chakravartin) flanked by elephant tusks. The lotus flower is a natural symbol & represents earth. Tibetan Buddhist mystics imagined the earth floating like a lotus flower on the oceans of the universe. The heart of the flower is the cosmic mountain, the axis of the universe. The generally acknowledged meaning of the lotus flower is purity of mind or divine creation. From the muck of a pond, where the roots of the lotus reside, an immaculate white flower emerges to rest on the water's surface, as a metaphor for the harmonious unfolding of spirituality. The lotus is an important Buddhist motif. Images of the Buddha & other important persons often are shown seated on a lotus throne. The growth of the lotus, with its roots in mud, growing through water, & emerging as a wonderful plant above the surface, is seen as an analogy of the soul’s path from the mud of materialism to the purity of enlightenment. The 3 stages of the lotus, bud, utpala (mid-blossom) & the full blossoming throne represent the past, present, & future respectively. Cintamani are wish-granting jewels & additionally represent wisdom. When depicted in sets of 3, they represent the body, speech & mind of Buddha such as the practitioner may possess. Cintamani are also referred to as the “Thinking Jewel” & symbolize the importance of teaching & as well as the enlightened mind.
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.