Starting at the top left panel there is a blue medicine bowl with wood apples inside, sitting upon a Lotus throne. Underneath is Durva grass as the fronds of the lotus stem and blue and green rock cliffs. Behind the medicine bowl is the Mahamudra mists, with one cumulus cloud in green just above. At the bottom corners are blue and green rock cliffs. Just a note here, the predominance of the blue and green in the secondary icons is symbolic of the decay of our sins or poisons (the blue) and the permanence of the enlightenment that follows (the green). The wood apple, or bael fruit, is a baseball-sized fruit with a hard skin and a sticky, highly aromatic pulp. This fruit is eaten more for its medicinal qualities than for its taste. Bael fruit increases one's beneficial, positive karma and thus brings one closer to release from samsara. The fruit also symbolizes the goal of recognizing emptiness and dependency and the connection between cause and effect. It challenges us to avoid actions that will cause suffering and to increase actions that will promote healing. The Durva grass is also 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 life span will allow greater progress in moving towards enlightenment within a given cycle. 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, which you need a long life to accomplish. The way to get there is through the Buddhist scriptures; enter the rock cliffs: 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. When we get to that point of enlightenment we understand the Mahamudra mists. 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."
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