M. Lokeswara Rao has worked as a Civil Servant, belongs to 1983 batch of Indian Forest service and retired as Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Head of Forest Force, in Nagaland, India. He has held different positions in the Government of India DCF, Ministry of Environment and forests, Director of Institute of Biodiversity ICFRE, Hyderabad, India. Worked as Advisor Green Highways, National Highways Authority India, Ministry of Surface Transport, Govt of India and as Director (Protect Our Species), Earth Day Network He Studied M.Sc M.Phil from Sri Venkateswara University and AIFC from Indira Gandhi Forest Academy Dehradun, India, Environment Education from Jordan college, Glasgow UK and from the International Centre for Conservation Education Guiting Power, Cheltenham, UK and Policy studies from Syracuse University USA.
He has worked in various projects in Forest Development agencies, Green India Mission, Wildlife Habitat project, species recovery programme of Amur Falcon, He has organized many environmental awareness programme like adaptation of Animals, conservation of community areas in Nagaland, conducted awareness programme, Amur Falcon conservation, UNESCO Consultant for identification of Biosphere Reserves in Nagaland. Consultant with Community Forestry International USA and Preparation of state profile of Community Forestry in Nagaland. He received Biodiversity award, Tiger land film Festival for his work on Amur Falcon.
He was involved in the making of various documentaries namely "Nagaland is Changing.. But" documentary on Community conservation in Nagaland which got 2016 best film in National science Film festival, 'Flying Free' Documentary on Amur Falcon conservation in Nagaland, "Roam Free' documentary on Man-Animal conflict, Elephant problem in Wokha district of Nagaland.
His hobbies are Painting and Philately. He has displayed his paintings on "Buddha" in Bangalore, New Delhi and different parts of the country. He received large Silver medal for his exhibit "Buddhism" in Sydney Stamp and Coin Expo 2019, in Sydney Australia and received Large Silver in Philavirtu 2020 exhibition. He also got Awards for his exhibit in Philately Orchids distribution, Habitat destruction and Conservation, Bronze Medal in National Exhibition in Mumbai, India in 2017, Silver Medal Rocky Mountain Stamp show, Denver, Colorado, USA in 2018, Bronze medal International Philatelic Exhibition, Macau China in 2018 and large silver in National Exhibition in Mumbai in 2019. He received Silver for Great Britain: The Postal Cancellation: Development of Numeral Cancellation: Penny Red, Canberra Australia.
He has authored different research papers and also authored the book "Biodiversity of World" based on Philately and "Conservation through Forest Conservation Act". His articles have appeared in different magazines and News papers in India and abroad.
Buddhism is one of the major religions in the world and Second largest spiritual path practiced by an estimated 1.6 billion people, representing 9% to 10% of the world's total population. It began around 2,500 years ago in India when Siddhartha Gautama discovered how to bring happiness into the world. Edwin Arnold has fittingly called Gautama Buddha the "Light of Asia" Wisdom of the world.
I have been collecting Buddhism stamps for quite some time because I like nature and the Buddhist philosophy. Buddhism and nature are inseparable. 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 Neranjara River and he delivered his first sermon in the Deer Park. He spent quite a significant part of his life in natural surroundings. Nature is never absent from the four main events of the Buddha's life: birth, Enlightenment, First Sermon and death. Moreover, he always appreciated nature and encouraged others to do the same. Buddha's message clearly says that caring for nature must go hand in hand with respect for fellow human beings.
Buddhism is relevant to the present world because of the environment crisis we are facing at present and we are heading towards mass extinction of species. We live in an age of conflict and war, of hatred and violence all over the world. Mahatma Gandhi has followed the teaching of Buddha and practiced and preached "AHIMSA PARMO DHARMA" (Non violence is the highest religious principle. Non violence is the Best policy). Through The Buddha I am symbolizing peace that everyone needs in today's world, I look upon Buddhism as one of the basic institutions which is irrespective of caste, creed and religion. The first thing that comes to mind when one sees/ thinks of the Buddha is a sense of peace.
Several countries have released stamps on Buddhism. First Buddhism stamp was released by China in 1893, Cishou Pagoda. Thailand released in 1905: Siam Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn). Afghanistan: 1932 Bamiyan Buddha World Monochromatic stamp, which was withdrawn. In 1932 the conservative ulama erupted in protest of the printing of the `Bamiyan' postage stamp. The government quietly withdrew the stamp from circulation. Afghanistan 1951 Bamiyan Buddha UNESCO World Heritage site was also withdrawn. In 2001, the two colossal Bamiyan Buddha statues were destroyed, which stood for more than 1,400 years in the heart of Afghanistan. The following year UNESCO issued a 25,000-Afghanisthan Bamiyan postage stamp, abstractly illustrating one of the empty Buddha niches buried in the statue's fallen rubble. India released 1949 Bodhisattva First Archaeological Series Stamp and Geeta Govinda stamp in 2009. As per "Geeta Govinda", (the prayer to the Ten Incarnations of God Vishnu), the Stotra (verse) mentions Buddha is ninth incarnation.
Bhutan issued a set of five silk stamps depicting famous 'Thanka"Thankas' or 'Banners' that are paintings of sacred and ceremonial subjects honouring His Holiness Jamyang Yeshey Singhgay Rim Poche, the late Head Lama of Bhutan, who attained Nirvana on March 12, 1969. The World's Largest Stamp Peace Mandala /sticker stamps / 20x 29cm, and 10.7 x 8cm have been released by Mongolia. The project by "Mandala 21st Century" was launched in 1994 to pray for world peace for the coming century. The largest (70m x 50m) patchwork quilt Mandala in the world was completed in 2002 by the hands of more than ten thousand people from 16 countries. Bhutan 2014 released "Twelve deeds of Buddha" depicting twelve deeds, complete life of Buddha from his birth till he attained Mahaparinirvana.
Sri Lanka has issued twenty numbers of new postage stamps depicting remarkable Buddhist places of worship in twenty countries to commemorate the United Nations Vesak Festival of 2561 BE in 2017. Twenty of the world's most sacred Buddhists sites such as the Kandy Lankatilaka Temple, the Lumbini Temple in Nepal, India's Buddhist monument in Sanchi, the Horyuji Temple in Japan and the Sompura Temple in Bangladesh Afghanistan MesAynak, Bhutan Paro Taktsang, Cambodia Angkor archaeological site, China Yungang Grottos, Indonesia Borobudur Temple Compounds, Laos Town of Luang Prabang, Malaysia KekLok Si, Mongolia Gandantegchinlen Monastery, Myanmar Bagan Archaeological Zone, Pakistan Taxila, Russia Ivolginsky Datsan, Singapore Kong Meng San PhorKark See Monastery, South Korea Haeinsa Temple Complex, Thailand Sukhothai Ancient City, Vietnam One Pillar Pagoda. These are some of the stamps included in the book.
A checklist of Buddhism related stamps from American Topical Association (ATA) on stamps related to Religion - Buddhism/Buddha List Number: 857 Topic Count: 608, Architecture - Pagodas List Number: 520, Topic Count: 214, Monasteries /Temples List Number: 840 Topic Count: 1863, World Landmarks Angkor Wat, Cambodia List Number: 1072 Topic Count: 37 and John Wettenhall's Tasmania, Australia published lists of Buddhism related stamps in the COROS chronicle in issue no 331 and 332 February and May 2004 respectively. Only few publications using philatelic material related to Gautama Buddha exist.
The book only focuses how different philatelic materials can narrate the story of Gautama Buddha. Different available philatelic material like Stamps, stamp blocks, 3D stamps, Silk stamps, Se-tenant, First Day Covers, Miniature Sheets, Souvenir Sheets, Maxim Cards, Post Cards, covers, gutter, booklets, errors, proofs etc. are included from different countries of the World. This book neither intends to explain Gautama Buddha's teachings nor discusses different schools of Buddhism.
All details mentioned in the book are taken from various sources from different countries' postal authorities' websites who have issued stamps, details are mentioned under references. Care has been taken to mention the sources from where the details are taken.
The author acknowledges all people and sources from where the material is sourced for writing the book. I would be grateful to receive any suggestion and omissions and information about new or omitted relevant material related to the relevant chapters of the book for further improvement and inclusion in future editions.
Buddhism as a model of religious life and spiritual path has been widely practiced across the world. Buddhism as a religion, despite having assumed many forms, fundamentally draws from the life experiences of Goutam Buddha or "Siddhartha" an ascetic prince whose origins are traced to Lumbini in Nepal.
Buddha's most important doctrines were the "Four Noble Truths" and the "Eight fold path" which was passed on through Sanghas in yester years and by monks who in recent times have the "Dhamma" propagated in many ways to the world.
"Buddhism on Stamps" is a unique attempt made by Shri M Lokeswara Rao, IFS Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Head of the Forest Force (Rtd) to tell us the story of "Gautama Buddha" through stamps. The systematic manner in which he has utilised all philatelic materials ranging from stamps, First Day Covers, miniatures sheets and Souvenir sheets, Post cards and Maxim Cards, Gutters and booklets in the narrative, fills one with a sense of peace, specially the treatment of Buddhist Mudras, hand gestures, Postures and symbols.
It takes us through an Odyssey and as we absorb the manner in which Buddha's disciples come to the fold of Buddhism, it becomes abundantly clear that Non-violence is the only way to World peace.
This book besides being a visual delight for any reader, will be useful to people from all walks of life whether they are Academicians, Philatelists, Researchers on Buddhism or Non-violence and World Peace.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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