SRI LANKA - 2000 Rupee
At the request of the Ministry of Buddha Sasana, a commemorative Rs 2000/- Gold embossed, sterling silver crown size frosted Proof NCLT; together with another plain Silver Rs 1500/- coin of similer design was issued by Central Bank of Sri Lanka together with a Brass plated steel Rs5 circulation coin, to mark the 2550 Buddha Jayanthi year.
Obverse : Birth of Bodhisatva where according to the traditional belief Siddhartha after his birth in Lumbini took seven steps under which seven lotus blossoms have bloomed while announcing the forthcoming Enlightenment. The words BUDDHA JAYANTHI appear within upper part annulus in Sinhala at apex and Tamil and English to left and right. 2550 appear within annulus at bottom.
Reverse : A lake with lotus below a 24 prong Dharma Chakra (wheel of doctrine) found on the stone pillar built by the Emperor Ashoka at Saranath in Varanasi, where Buddha preached his first sermon. Within the upper Annulus the name SRI LANKA appear in Sinhala at apex, with Tamil and English to left and right with year 2006 just below. Face Value 2000 in large numerals and RUPEES below at center in Sinhala, with Tamil and English to left and right, within the lower Annulus.
In the Buddha Dharma worldly nature is resembled to a lake of lotus blossoms. Just as there exist in a lake young buds, mature buds and buds about to bloom, in the world of human too there exists men of diverse levels of attainment of conciousness. Disciples like lotus in the lake, bloom by the radiance of the Dharma represented by the Chakra.
Buddhism, as a religion with some mythological beliefs and worship
adopted by a majority in Sri Lanka, is represented on the obverse.
Buddhism, as a philosophy, a pure Dharma practised through meditation and being adopted by a growing international community, is represented in abstraction on the reverse.
Like the Ying and the Yang on two sides of the same coin.
The coins were designed by Kelum Gunasekara of Kelaniya.
Dhanesh Wismperuma has pointed out that the flowers of the Sal tree ( Shorea Robusta ) which is native to Indian Subcontinent, has five pointed petals unlike the flower drawn on the coin which has rounded petals.
In Lanka, Thailand and other Buddhist countries the Cannonball Tree
( Couroupita guianensis ),
which is only native to tropical northern South America and to the
southern Caribbean, has been mistakenly adopted as the Sala tree,
probably in the early 20th century.
The flower of this tree has six rounded petals.
When I was a kid I was told of the Buddhist significance of a center which looks like a dagoba shaded by a cobra's hood and surrounded by tiny florets which are thought to represent a crowd of worshippers.
The frosted proof coin has been struck with one ounce of sterling silver to the British crown coin size. Enclosed in a circular coin capsule it is embedded in crimson velvet inside a crimson velvet covered 7.5cm square spring hinged Royal Mint presentation box. The Emblem of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka printed in gold on the white satin of the inside cover. A locally printed and numbered Certificate of Authenticity contains the specifications and the text in Sinhala, Tamil and English.
A few from first 40 were distributed at 2550 Buddha Jayanthi inauguration held at the Presidential Secretariat at 4 PM on Thursday 2006 May 11th. It was sold to public from 2006 May 15th for the issue price was Rs 7000/- (US $69).
Read my article, an edited version of which was published as Coins of tribute in the Sunday Times of 2006 May 21st.
The coin was obtained from CBSL on 2006 May 15th scanned at 600 dpi and the images are displayed at 200 dpi. Also displayed above are scans of Artwork sent to Royal Mint.