What Is a Traditional Tibetan Meditation Box - Answer

Traditional Wooden Tibetan Meditation Box

For sleeping and meditating in

If you read the book, Cave in the Snow: A Western Woman's Quest for Enlightenment, about Tenzin Palmo meditating in a cave for 12 years, sleeping / meditating every night in a traditional wooden tibetan meditation box, then you may have an idea what a meditation box is. But, based on the picture below, you can see the box is not actually what you think. It's more of a desk, with a border, and high backboard (some are pointed, and painted red) that encourages an upright posture. It's much larger than it seems, and it is not enclosed. It's also not big enough to lay down in, so while it might feature a desk, some room, pillows, and a Royal backdrop, it is not a comfort furniture for snoozing!

This BBC article mentions that at the Samye Dechen Shing Buddhist retreat in Dumfriesshire there are monks who sleep upright in a meditation box. Sleeping in a meditation box is done upright, and less than 8 hours a night, try 5! And, it's not like sleeping in a recliner, this is bolt upright!

Tibetan Style Three Year Retreats Come Complete With Meditation Boxes

At Tibetan Buddhist retreats where meditation constantly is the norm, rooms often come with meditation boxes, where retreatants sleep and meditation. For example, consider this room description for this Bhaktapur Three Year Retreat in Nepal http://www.rinpoche.com/projects/bhaktapur.htm : "High ceilings give the rooms spaciousness as do the windows and the veranda overlooking a lush green valley. Each room has a bed, traditional alter and meditation box along with many cabinets for storage. Attached to this large room is a kitchen and full bathroom with hot water. Vegetarian meals, which are the same for all retreatants, are delivered to your door three times a day. (It is also possible to cook for yourself while paying for the gas.)" 

What do you notice about it? Yep, it comes complete with a meditation box for sleeping and meditation. 

What Does a Meditation Box Look Like? Image

Now, to the good stuff, what does a mediation box look like. Here is a picture of the special box Tibetan Lamas use for meditation through the night. It's hard to imagine anyone would get any sleep like this, but in order to understand the night time practices nuns and monks have in these special boxes, it's important to reach Tenzin Rinpoche's book,  The Tibetan Yogas Of Dream And Sleep.
tibetan wooden meditation box for sleeping and meditation
Source: https://www.theminimalists.com/drew/

Here is another picture of a traditional Tibetan meditation box, but this one is painted bright red with the back support pointed and a bit more ornate that the other. The website where this "box" is featured is actually asking for donations to build one for the retreat. The cost for building materials is listed as 100 pounds, but if you were to buy one of these custom built, it would probably cost around $800 USD. To buy a custom built traditional Tibetan meditation box, contact Micah Goldfarb at Asheville NC based Spoke LLC www.spokebuildingarts.com at info at spokebuildingarts.com to discuss designing & ordering your meditation box today.

tibetan meditation box, red paint with desk
Source: http://palpung.org.uk/an-opportunity-to-sponsor-a-meditation-box-to-a-retreat-room/