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 front doors display a wonderful flaming Cintamani seated upon a white pillowed Ashoka Throne with a gold filigree and rainbowed halo surrounding. Emanating from the back of the halo is subtle energy reaching the cosmic consciousness. In the background the sky is filled with cumulus clouds and on the left door there is waving Mahamudra. Cintamani grace the bottom of the door panel with elephant tusks, the Queen's and King's earrings. Cintamani are wish-granting jewels and additionally represent wisdom. When depicted in sets of 3, they represent the body, speech and mind of Buddha such as the practitioner may possess. Cintamani are also referred to as the “Thinking Jewel” and symbolize the importance of teaching and as well as the enlightened mind. 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. Elephant tusks are representative of the entire elephant and always refer to Chakravartin's possession, the Precious Elephant. 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. The Queen's and King's earrings are also possessions of Chakravartin. The Precious Queen's Earrings are taken as a symbol of comprehension of the Buddha’s teachings. The Queen speaks the truth, using no frivolous words and holding no false vices. The Precious King's or Minister's Earrings. The heavy earrings are taken as a symbol of comprehension of the Buddha’s teachings. The weight of the Queen's and King's earrings would have caused the wearers earlobes to elongate.The long earlobes of the Buddha are a symbol of his detachment from all things earthly. Like the Buddha, the King represents a wealth of faith, morality, honesty, modesty, learning, renunciation, and wisdom. The King is also referred to as the Precious minister. His intelligence is razor-sharp, with a great ability for patience and listening. He desires to do only good works to promote the Dharma, to protect and benefit all beings. On the left door there are cumulus clouds on the left portion and Mahamudra Mists on the right portion: The cumulus clouds move quickly across the sky. 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 red waving 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 have a Dharma Wheel with a 3 part wheel of joy, similar to the yin-yang symbol in the center, seated upon a Lotus. In the background is Mahamudra; at the bottom of the main side panel is the unusual rainbowed mountains with water waves. In three parts, the Dharma 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 & complete, like the teachings of the Buddha. The center of this circle has the 3 part wheel of joy. The wheel of joy is similar in style to the Chinese yin-yang, but with three or four segments rather than two. When shown with three sections, the wheel relates to the three jewels of Buddha, dharma and sangha (body, speech, and mind). Four sections refer to the four noble truths. The waves on the rainbow may have their origins with the Imperial Chinese Emperor's centuries old exclusive use of this on the Imperial porcelain.
The lower panel has a more traditional style of the Mahamudra, with rock cliffs and Durva grass as the supporting cast to a beautiful Ashoka blossom. The rock/cliff formation represents the syllable "E" which appears in the opening stanza of early Buddhist scriptures, ("'thus,' I have heard"). The blue, red 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. 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.