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 Post subject: 50 stamps on Buddhism - 2550th Sambuddha Jayanthi
 Post Posted: Sun May 07, 2006 4:14 pm 
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Row by row, a historic depiction of Buddhist murals

@ ST / 07MAY2006

The release of a set of 50 stamps on Buddhism is indeed a unique event in the history of philately. This is one of the main initiatives of the government to commemorate the 2550th Sambuddha Jayanthi marking the completion of 2550 years after the Passing-away of the Buddha. The fact that all the stamps are associated with the temples of Sri Lanka is also significant.

The stamps depict the skills of our painters, architects and engineers over the ages, the grandeur of our monasteries and the efforts by the rulers to preserve the teachings of the Buddha. The stamps highlight a series of temples throughout the country - some well known ones and the others not so well known. Selections from murals in these temples appear in the stamps along with drawings of the temples.

The fifty stamps are divided into ten themes. They are in the denominations of Rs 2.50, 4.50, 5, 10 and 17 - ten stamps in each denomination.


The top row (Rs 2.50 stamps) depicts (from left) a plea to the Master to descend from heaven to serve mankind - 12th century mural at the Tivamka image house, Polonnaruwa; Queen Mahamaya on her way to her parents - a 5th century limestone bas-relief from Jetavana Vihara, Anuradhapura; the birth of Prince Siddhartha from an early 19th century wall painting from Shailabimbaramaya, Dodanduwa; Prince Siddhartha visited by Asita, the Royal teacher - Purvarama Vihara, Kataluwa, and the Great Renunciation, a 5th century bas-relief from Girihandu Vihara, Ambalantota.

The second row of stamps depict the defeat of Maara by the Buddha (Hindagala Vihara - 19th century); the first sermon being delivered (Dambulla rock temple); the conversion of Aalavaka (Sapugoda Vihara-Beruwala - 19th century); the funeral pyre of the Master (Veheragala Samudragiri Vihara, Mirissa; and Buddha's relics being brought to Sri Lanka by Tapassu and Bhalluka (Girhandu Seya, Titiyaya).

'Paarami' (Perfections) depicted through Jataka stories forms the theme of the third row of stamps: Generosity - Vessantara Jataka Bodhirukkharamaya,Eluvapitiya); Wisdom - Paduma Jataka (Kaballelena Vihara, Wariyapola); Renunciation - Sutasoma Jataka (Degaldoruwa Vihara); Equanimity - Siva Jataka (Paramakanda Vihara, Anamaduwa) and Loving kindness - Sachchakira Jataka (Sunanadaramaya, Ambalangoda).

Fourth row: Arahant Mahinda delivering the first sermon and Mihintale stupa; establishment of Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Rajagiri lena-Minhintale; Sri Maha Bodhi; scripting the Dhamma at Alu Vihara, Matale; Sri Dalada being brought to Sri Lanka and Lankapatuna Vihara, Trincomalee.

The fifth row of stamps depict the different traditions, emergence of 'katikavatas' , re-establishment of the higher ordination, and Buddha Jayanthi.

Stamps in the sixth and seventh row show the Buddhist influence on society with devotees partaking in numerous rituals and activities.

Places of worship identified as those visited by the Buddha are depicted in the eighth row. The Buddhist influence in architecture, art and sculpture is shown in the last two rows of stamps. These include the twin ponds in Anuradhapura, a moonstone at Magul Maha Vihara at Lahugala, Bodhisatva Avalokiteshvara at Muhudu Maha Vihara, Pottuvil, Nalanda Gedige and Tampita Vihara at Menikkadavara.

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