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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Torma Box C200-11
torma box front
Mahakala face
left side

precious elephant

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Expertly painted on the front, top and both sides this box was used to transport a Lama's ritual items when he went calling on his constituents. Inside there would be ritual items, like the Torma stick used for making offerings, barley flour, ankushas or other instruments as needed for the occasion. The front clasp is brass. The side handles are copper wire with brass silk road transit tax coins used as the escutcheons. The corners are copper clad and this is a later 20th century addition. The brass hinges on the back are original. The front has a blessing " May (you obtain) fortune, prosperity and perfection." The sides have the face of Vajrapani which is unusual to see on a box. Please see the iconography for further details. A Certificate Of Authenticity, brush-signed by a monk at the sange Monastery will be provided.

Material: JUNIPER
Dimensions: H= 10.8 "  W= 17.8 "   D= 7.85 "
Age: 1790
Price $1179.00


SHIPPING & handling= WEST COAST $38 ~ MTN & MIDWEST = $42 ~ EAST COAST= $49. Contact David for a quote to other destinations.


The front of this box has a blessing on the lid, underneath that are two buffalos with a large Ashoka blossom on the left side. Just behind the Ashoka are the beginnings of the Mahamudra Mists; in the background are plenty of cumulus clouds and some subtle energy reaching out to the cosmos. The blessing starts out with a greeting of the utmost respect, followed by the blessing " May (you obtain) fortune, prosperity and perfection." The buffalo is the vehicle or messenger of the Dharmaraja Yama, the Lord of Death. Dharmaraja was subdued by Manjushri in the form of Yamantaka, becoming a protector of dharma practitioners, the name dharmaraja means King of the Dharma. This then is used to take the energy and power of hatred (of things negative or bad) and use this energy to achieve a beneficial purpose. HH explains it this way: With compassion as the causal motivation... the practitioner utilizes hatred or wrath for a specific purpose. This technique is based on the fact that when we become angry, a very energetic and powerful mind is generated. When trying to achieve a fierce activity for beneficial purposes, the energy and power make a difference. Thus it is because of the usage of hatred in the path in this way that there come to be wrathful deities. 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. 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. 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." 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 top has Chakravartin's Precious elephant with military headdress. In front of the elephant is a stack of three Cintamani, the top blue Cintamani is again one of Chakravartin's precious possessions, the 8-faceted jewel. Flanking this are two sets of elephant tusks that represent the entire elephant. Just to the left of the eight-faceted jewel is red and white coral. The term Chakravartin, or Wheel Turner 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." 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 Eight-faceted jewel, as in having eight magical properties: 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. 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 flames around the border of the Cintamani are symbolic of the burning away of false desires and ignorance, giving way to enlightenment.

Vajrapani's face is on the side, the identifying feature is the dorje above on the lid in addition to his facial features and skin color. Vajrapani is the wrathful god who embodies unimaginable strength. He symbolizes the unyielding effectiveness of Buddhist practice to conquer negativity; he symbolizes the strength and energy of enlightenment. Additionally he is the guardian of secrets and mysteries, he who fights against the power of blindness and ignorance. Vajrapani helps to endow each with the strength and ability to have active compassion, by this it is like watching a young child fall into a stream and start to drown, you will immediately feel compassion and want to save him, however if you are not physically able to, cannot swim, or have other impediments you can do nothing, so your compassion is worthless. His crown of 5 skulls symbolizes the defeat of the 5 poisons. The 5 poisons are ignorance, desire, hatred, pride and jealousy. This symbolizes the turning of the dharma wheel and setting in motion the 8 fold noble path.


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