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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Chöyön Trunk #0089
tiger phurba
left side


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"Insight & wisdom."   The top features an innovative design using durva grass & lotus blossoms in a mandala-style rendition. The sides have a phurba surrounded by billowing Mahamudra mists.  The front has a Tiger motiff surrounded by stylized Durva grass done in the raised gesso or kyungbur (Tibetan).  The designs on  both sides and top are also in kyungbur.  The certificate of authenticity is brush-signed by the artist, Do Jee Tse Rang.  The Mantra on the front is OM MANI PADME HUM ~ OM MA.  Please see iconography for meaning. The inside is natural wood that has been treated with a natural oil to help preserve the wood for many generations.

Age; 1960-1970
materials: juniper and elm
Dimensions: H=19" W=25.5" D=11.5" +/- ¼"



The front has a tiger walking among Lotus and ashoka flowers. This tiger motiff is surrounded by a well done kyungbur design: longevity symbols in the corners trumpeting golden durva grass that ultimately changes to flaming Cintamani. Durva grass symbolizes long life.  Because grass is highly resilient, it is believed to be immortal.  Therefore, it proclaims the end of samsara, the successive death & rebirth of all beings.  It usually takes a long time to overcome samsara, & a longer lifespan will allow greater progress in moving towards enlightenment within a given cycle.

The sides have a beautiful phurba with kusha grass rather than the usual flames. The double-edged sword ("Khadga" in Sanskrit, "Phurba" in Tibetan) symbolizes the knowledge that severs & burns away the knot of ignorance, besides keeping danger at bay.  It is used by a bodhisattva who goes fearlessly wherever his help is needed by those on the path to enlightenment.  He has a special affinity for women, children, & travelers & is characterized chiefly by benevolence, determination, & unflagging optimism.  Often times, the sword is depicted as a flaming sword. Kusha grass grows to a height of two feet & 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 & meditation.  Kusha is the grass of choice for the manufacture of sacred meditation mats. To the background of the phurba are blue billowing waves or cloluds. The billowing waves are Mahamudra, the union of compassion & 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 & remedy, so that the practitioner will realize purification and enlightenment.

The top continues the central theme of compassion & wisdom with the unusual &  innovative design using durva grass & lotus blossoms in a mandala-style rendition. Multicolored durva grass replaces the usual 4-petaled flower, & the lotus blossom is the supporting flora.  The lotus flower  is a symbol of earth. Tibetan Buddhist mystics imagined the earth floating like a lotus flower on the oceans of the universe. The heart of the flower is the cosmic mountain, the axis of the universe. The generally acknowledged meaning of the lotus flower is purity of mind or divine creation. From the muck of a pond, where the roots of the lotus reside, an immaculate white flower emerges to rest on the surface of the water as a metaphor for the harmonious unfolding of spirituality.   

The lid's front edge has a Tibetanized rendition of Sanskrit. It begins with the Tibetan symbol of greatest respectful greeting & continues in Romanized Tibetan with the mantra, OM MANI PADME HUM ~ OM MA. The first 6 syllables are the famous mantra of Avalokiteshvara, which is sometimes explained as ”The jewel in the heart of the Lotus.” The first OM refers to Buddha’s body, speech & mind, as in possessing this oneself; the MA of MANI is a jewel or treasure, (wisdom/thinking). The NI of the MANI is the altruistic mind. PADMI is the lotus flower, the nature of reality of Buddha’s wisdom. HUM is the determination and resolution to acquire and retain these qualities. The second part of the script, after a spacer, OM MA is a commitment to follow the Dharma.

* An Expanded iconography will be supplied to the purchaser

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