The front is bordered with red and blue Chrysanthemums on an orange background. The chrysanthemum symbolizes autumn & the gathering of the harvest. In this case, it is a metaphor for achieving the goal of enlightenment & its accompanying peace. The blue represents compassion. Red is the transmutation of passion into compassion.
The center of the front has a smiling winter dragon clutching pearls or Cintamani. Unlike its demonic European counterpart, the Tibetan dragon is a creature of great creative power; a positive icon, representing the strong male yang principle of heaven, change, energy, wealth and creativity. Dragons are shape shifters, able to transform at will, from as small as the silkworm to a giant that fills the entire sky. Dragons are depicted in one of two colors, green or brown. The green, or azure dragon of Buddhism ascends into the sky at the spring equinox; it represents the light's increasing power in springtime and the easterly direction of the sunrise. The brown dragon is the autumn equinox, when it descends into a deep pool, encasing itself in mud until the next spring, but its spirit is still with the practitioner bringing wealth and health. The pearls, or jewels clutched in the claws of the dragon represent wisdom and health. The dragon can control the weather by squeezing the jewels to produce dew, rain or even downpours when clutched tightly. The dragon is the vehicle of Vairochana, the white Buddha of the center or the east.
Both sides feature an Ashoka, the second of the trinity of holy flowers, sprouting 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. 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. The font is sitting at the top of rock cliffs which represent 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 top has a wonderful grouping of Cintamani encased in flames set in the Pure Lands. 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. Pictured here are 6 flaming jewels. The flames around the border of the Cintamani are symbolic of the burning away of false desires and ignorance, giving way to enlightenment. Adorning the hills are multiple Bilva fruit, also known as the Bengal quince. Medicinally, Bilva is a potent astringent and highly regarded for its purifying qualities in traditional Indian folk medicine. The unripe interior of the fruit, especially when made into a jam, was the best known cure for diarrhea and dysentery. It is regarded as one of the most sacred fruits and serves as one of the main offering fruits. In this offering of Bilva fruit, representing the sense-offering of taste, the Buddha Amoghasiddhi is manifested as motivation or will.