The red and 24kt gold zigzag kyungbur adorning the frame is the transition of passion into compassion and the resultant Buddha like purity of actions and thoughts. The 24kt gold continuous ‘T’-wave just under the top edge of the of the altar is also called the thunder wave. This is the thunder of the vajra (diamond scepter, dorje in Tibetan), symbolizing skilful means, compassion, samsara. This compassion is an active quality rather than mere sympathetic feelings not transformed into action. Compassion refers to action that is exactly consonant with whatever is occurring and that is not self-referential.
The top doors each have the Auspicious Victory Banner sitting on top of a sun disk lotus throne which is surrounded by kusha grass. In the background are mare's tail cumulus clouds and Mahamudra Mists. Pointing to the Victory Banner from the bottom sides of the doors are blue and green rock cliffs with kusha grass. The Victory banner ~~ Sanskrit dhvaja ~ Tibetan rgyal mtshan 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~& desirelessness. The lotus is an important Buddhist motif. Images of the Buddha and other important persons often are shown seated on a lotus throne. The growth of the lotus, with its roots in mud, growing through water, and emerging as a wonderful plant above the water's surface, is seen as an analogy of the soul’s path from the mud of materialism to the purity of enlightenment. 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."Intermixed with the Mahamudra mists are two 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 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.
The upper panels next to the Victory Banner doors each have a conch shell horn sitting, once again on a sun disk lotus throne. The conch shell ~ sanskrit shankha ~ Tibetan dung dkar spirals to the right, (echoing the celestial movement of the sun, moon and stars) 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.
The middle panels have a robust Lotus blossom that is framed inside of a blue and gold durva grass frame. This gives the appearance of looking in; a metaphor for looking into one's heart to see the beauty of compassionate action with in. The lotus flower in the cosmic setting 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 surface of the water as a metaphor for the harmonious unfolding of spirituality.
The lower doors are graced with Dharma Wheels, once again set upon a sun disk lotus throne. At the corners of the doors are lotus blossoms and durva grass. In the center of the Dharma Wheel is the yin-yang symbol. 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. The hub is 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 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.