Stamp Bulletin No. 609 Commemorative Issue

2550 Years of Buddhist Era - 2006


Philatelic Bureau
Department of Posts,
Postal Headquarters, D. R. Wijewardena Mawatha, Colombo 00100, SRI LANKA

Philatelic Bureau of the Department of Posts, issued a set of 50 stamps in the denominations of Rs. 2.50, Rs. 4.50, Rs. 5.00, Rs. 10.00, Rs. 17.00, with 10 stamps each making up the set (10x5), on 5th. May 2006 to commemorate Vesak 2006; the completion of 2550 years of the great demise of Lord Buddha.

Buddhism is the major philosophical stream that has been a substantial inspiration to shape most of the important socio-political and cultural-economic trajectories of Sri Lankan history, as well as it functioned in the other parts of the wider South Asian region. It was legitimately planted on the infrastructure ofthe country in the mid third century BCE, and since then has flourished throughout the society as the major intellectual apparatus of the social psychic. As historical evidence suggests, the Buddhist monasteries appeared as the hub of linking differences of the lay society while playing an important role in keeping the society in a state of equilibrium. Archaeological discoveries in the country have emphasized another dimension of practicing Buddhism in Sri Lanka, that is its intrusion into the intangible aspects, such as social relations and cognition of the people. More elaborate examples are the magnificent paintings, architectural edifices, and the splendid rural agricultural landscapes, in which Buddhist monasteries have played a key role.

This series of stamps describe various aspects of Buddhism with special reference to its practice in Sri Lanka. The series comprises fifty stamps divided into groups that portray ten major themes

01. Life of the Prince "Siddharttha" 02. The Buddhahood 03. Transcendental Virtues, Parami (Perfections) 04. Arrival ofBuddhism in Lanka and it's propagation 05. Indigenous developments of Buddhism in Lanka 06. Buddhist influence on society 07. Buddhism and the superstructure of society 08. Buddhist influence on architecture 09. Buddhist influence on art and sculpture 10. Buddhist Philosophy in Sri Lanka

Beyond the limits set out by each theme, the entirety of the message carried by the current series focuses on exemplifying the universality of the scope and the teachings ofthe great philosophy of Buddhism Central to all, two specific aspects of the philosophical teachings of Buddhism, Karuna (compassion) and Prajna (wisdom) come to fore, while some expect to make Buddhism appropriate to the chaotic modem world, which is perhaps the most frustrating era of conflict, dissatisfaction and endless struggle for power. The eternity, the tranquility, the agelessness and the immortality of the essence of Buddhism are worthwhile to reiterate on the day of commemoration of 2550 year after the great dimise of the Master. This series of stamps will recall the imperative necessity of readapting the values and norms formulated by Buddhism to the society and it explicitly shows how the Sri Lankan society nourished by the essence of this great philosophy for a period of more than two and half millennia.

07. Buddhism and the superstructure of society

34. Buddhism and the Economy

A painting of the early 19th century CE from Mulgirigala Viharaya and a depiction of an ancient local coin.

Several inscriptions at the Mulgirigala Viharaya suggest that the Buddhist monks occupied the site since 250 BCE. A twelfth century rock inscription at the site describes its name as Muhundgiri Viharaya. The Katagamuva inscription of Manabharana declared a grant to a Buddhist Vihara that bears the same name. The Muhundugiri Viharaya mentioned in those inscriptions is identified with the Samudragiri Viharaya constructed by King Kakavannatissa. The socio-economic interaction between Europeans and the local communities in the southern maritime littoral areas during the period between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries explicitly contrasts with that of the hinterland areas of the country. The events portrayed in the temple paintings of the southern maritime littoral area provide us a substantial set of information pertaining to such interactive realms especially the one, which is associated with economic expectations.

Technical Details

Date of Issue 5th May 2006
Denominations Rs. 10.00
Designer 34. Mevan Fonseka
Stamp Size 60mm x 25mm
Format Horizontal
Printing Process Offset Lithography
Sheet Composition Set I - 50 stamp in a sheet containing 50 different designs
Set III - 10 stamps in a sheet containing 10 different designs
Quantity Set I - 25,000 stamp sheets
Set III - 15,000 sheets containing Rs. 10.00 stamps
Perforations 14 x 13½
Printers Department of Government Printing, Sri Lanka
Colours (used) 4 process colours with one specific background colour in each stamp
Paper 102 gsm security stamp paper
Gum PVA synthetic or particle gum

PBB609g First Day Cover