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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Tibetan Buddhist Lama's Offering cabinet C004-09
with Tantric Tigers for wisdom, insight and meditative protection

Antique Tibetan furniture cabinet used for offerings with buddhist symbols like the lotus blossom and ashoka blossom part of the holy trinity of flowers Tibetan Buddhist offering cabinet with handpainted tiger Tibetan antique altar used in a monastery for making offerings with buddhist symbols Cintamani elephant tusks
left side view front view right side view

use the thumbnail images and the underlined links to view larger images

 

Tigers appear on Tibetan furniture in Eastern Tibet with greater frequency than anywhere else in Tibet and were reserved for use by Lamas. The tiger offers wisdom, insight and protection to the meditational practitioner and this tiger is very happy to oblige. This two-door, two-drawer offering cabinet, the traditional Tibetan furniture of the Tibetan Lama has a convenient shelf behind the two doors. The kyungbur on the outside frame is the trademark Sange (Wutun) monastery's zigzag. [please read the iconography below for more details] Under the top overhang, the frame is carved in the rolling thunder or 'T' wave design.   The two bottom-drawers have bronze ring pulls that come through a brass coin attached to the drawer's front. The front and both sides are painted with iconic Tibetan Buddhist designs, while the top is painted red. The cabinet has been dewaxed & treated with a finishing oil on the inside & the unpainted outside surfaces have been treated with an acrylic preservative.   Comes with a brush signed Certificate Of Authenticity, iconography and other supporting documents.

Age: early to mid 1800s    
Material:  juniper with some elm
Dimensions: H=40"  W= 33 "  D= 16 " 

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If you have questions contact David by emailing david@baronet4tibet.com

Item C004.09:  Price $1975.00, plus shipping & handling West Coast $250, Mtn. States $279, Mid West $288, Atlantic coast $295  Canadian destinations contact us  for a quote. 

Iconography

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 offering cabinet 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 tiger is a symbol of strength, military prowess.  Tigers were indigenous to eastern Tibet, where the Wutun AKA Sange Monastery is located.  A more subtle meaning has to do with Tantric Buddhism.  Tiger skins were a favored meditational mat for Tantric sages.  In Tantric Buddhism, the tiger skin represents the transmutation of anger into wisdom and insight, also offering protection to the meditator from outside harm or spiritual interference. Tiger icons in Tibetan Buddhism are most prevalent in eastern Tibet, appearing on more furniture and rugs here than anywhere else in Tibet. The rest of the door's icons are rock cliffs, kusha grass and streams. 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. Water has 8 properties or qualities; it is clear, cool, healing, soothing, odorless, delicious, light, and soft: an amazing amount of goodness.  

The drawers are centered by an Ashoka Blossom with durva grass radiating out, pointing towards the Mahamudra Mists; grass, in sanskrit, Durva, is a symbol for long (or Longer) life and is used in life-enriching rituals. grass, being highly resilient, is believed to be immortal and so proclaims the end of samsara, the successive death and rebirth of all beings. In essence grass symbolizes enlightenment, as well as long life. The Ashoka, the second of the  trinity of holy flowers, 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. As a note, 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. With Ashoka's overcoming those things that bind the soul with that long life we get to the Mahamudra Mists. 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 sides continue with the general theme of following the scriptures in overcoming life's poisons to reach Enlightenment; the top panel has a prominent Ashoka blossom set between rock cliffs, with durva grass as leaves with an additional rainbow of subtle energy radiating out of the top of the blossom. Subtle energy is the energy that the practitioner generates and/or taps into via meditation and chanting; this is a result of becoming in harmony with the cosmos and thereby the ability to use a person's will to make changes for the better in the cosmos, like in overcoming evil where the subtle energy is directed.

The second panel has an offering bowl floatng over rock cliffs; this offering bowl, which is in the shape of an alms bowl, is filled with Cintamani and two sets of elephant tusks. Note that the top Cintamani is blue in color and surrounded by gold flames, this makes it Chakravartin's Precious 8 faceted magical jewel. The term chakravartin in Hinduism refers to an ideal ruler, but in Buddhism, Chakravartin has come to mean a Buddha whose all-encompassing teachings are universally true.  Chakravartin has an army of 4 divisions, infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariots. Chakravartin is the lineage of 25 Kulika kings or enlightened monarchs, the 25th of which will finally defeat the "non-believers," it is said that we are currently in the reign of the 24th Kulika King. The elephant tusks represent the entire elephant and this is also one of Chakravartin's 7 Precious Possessions. 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.  Elephant tusks are sometimes depicted and are symbolic of the whole elephant. The Eight-faceted jewel, as in having eight magical properties and not 8 carved faces: 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 fathers passing on before sons.

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