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Indian Collector’s Buddha-themed Stamps to Be Showcased in Sydney

04 Jun 2019  Tue

For the last 40 years, a former Principal Chief Conservator of Forest from Nagaland named M. Lokeswara Rao has been collecting world stamps related to Buddha and other socio-religious/cultural aspects related to Buddhism. This collection would be showcased at a numismatic exhibition in Sydney in June. Over 1000 stamps affixed on 16 sheets in five frames would be presented at the exhibition.

Mr. Rao collects stamps based on the birth, enlightenment, first sermon, and death of Lord Buddha. His collection also has stamps featuring various forms of Buddha. The first set of Buddha-themed stamps he collected was a 1-anna set of stamps on Bodhisattva that was released by India Post in 1949. One stamp features Buddha extending his left hand while the other one shows him extending his right hand. These were the very first Buddha-themed stamps issued by India.

One of the highlights from the collection is a 25,000-Afghani symbolic postage stamp that was issued by the UNESCO in 2002. Taliban had destroyed two huge Bamiyan Buddha statues in 2001. The collection also includes the set of stamps featuring ten incarnations of Vishnu that was released by India in 2009. Buddha is considered as the 9th incarnation of Vishnu. Another highlight is the first Buddha-themed stamp of China that was released in 1893. One of them is the world’s largest Buddha stamp from Mongolia and another one is a monochromatic stamp on Bamiyan Buddha issued by Afghanistan in 1932. The latter stamp was withdrawn in 1951 after the Ulama protests. The collection contains stamps issued by Bhutan in 2014 highlighting the 12 deeds of the Buddha, apart from a set of 20 postage stamps that were issued by Sri Lanka in 2017 featuring 20 major Buddhist places of worship worldwide.

Mr. Rao believes in Buddha’s philosophy of ahimsa and nature. Through his collection, he wants to create more awareness about the importance of protecting various species on earth.

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