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New Book Offers a Philatelic Look at the Story of the Buddha

A recently published book seeks to offer a unique retelling of Buddhism and the story of the Buddha through postage stamps and other philatelic materials. Titled Buddhism on Stamps, the volume reportedly holds a record for the most philatelic materials used to narrate the story of Shakyamuni Buddha.

“I am focusing on Buddhism because Buddhism and nature are inseparable, and I am a nature lover,” author M. Lokeswara Rao told Buddhistdoor Global. “Buddhism was born in nature in the sense that the ascetic Buddha attained enlightenment under a Bodhi tree in a forest on the bank of the Nerañjara River and he delivered his first sermon in the Deer Park. Buddhism is relevant to the present world because of the environmental crisis we are facing at present and we are heading towards mass extinction of species.”

The book examines how different philatelic materials narrate the story of Shakyamuni Buddha, and includes standard postage stamps, stamp blocks, 3D stamps, silk stamps, se-tenant stamps, first-day covers, miniature sheets, souvenir sheets, maxim cards, postcards, covers, booklets, errors, proofs, and more from around the world.

“The recent COVID-19 crisis has taken place because we are destroying nature, so I decided to put together a comprehensive book on Buddhism to tell the story of Gautama Buddha through philatelic materials,” said Rao, formerly Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Head of Forest Force in Nagaland, India, now retired. “For the past year, the world has been in crisis and people are losing peace because of COVID-19 and the destruction of nature. I thought that a book on the teaching of Buddha is relevant for this time.”

Buddhism on Stamps contains 22 chapters that cover: “Jataka Kathas” (tales of the Buddha’s previous incarnations), “Birth of Buddha,” “Twelve Deeds of the Buddha,” “Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism,” “Monasteries,” “Chhoeten,” “Prayer Flags & Prayer Wheels,” “Musical Instruments of Buddhism,” “Four Mythical Animals,” “Six Elements of Longevity,” “Precious Attributes of the Universal King,” “Teachings of Buddha,” “Buddhist Mudras,” “Hand Gestures and their Meanings,” “Postures,” “Symbols Representing Gautama Buddha,” “Buddhism in Different Parts of the World,” “Borobudur Ship Expedition,” “Buddhist Festivals,” “Buddhist Sacred Places of the World,” and “Buddhism and World Peace.”

For more information, email the author, M.Lokeswara Rao: [email protected]

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