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Malaysia Receives Praise for Issuing Hindu Temple Postal Stamp

Kuil Sri Kandaswamy Hindu temple which was inaugurated in 1902 at Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur, has been featured on a postal stamp of Malaysia

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The temple featured in the postal stamp
Sri Kandaswamy Kovil in Kuala Lumpur. Wikimedia
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  • Malaysia received praise by featuring Kuil Sri Kandaswamy Hindu temple of Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur, on a postal stamp
  • It is noted that apart from paying homage to these abode of worship, such stamps with Hindu temples would also raise awareness about Hinduism which is the oldest and the third largest religion

Nevada, USA, June 12, 2017: Kuil Sri Kandaswamy Hindu temple of Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur has been featured on a postal stamp. Pos Malaysia Berhad has received a huge applause from Hindus for such a wonderful decision.

The 60 sen (cents) postal stamp showcases the grand Sri Kandaswamy Temple. The temple was inaugurated in 1902 and huge ‘Vasanta Mandapam’, and golden ‘Kodimaram’, sacred pond ‘Skandapuspakarani’, ‘Yagasalai Peedam’, and holy Kadambam tree are the acclaimed features of the temple.

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Lord Visvakarman was regarded as the universal builder or architect, presiding over the Hindu treatise on architecture – ‘Sthapatyaveda’. Ancient Silpasastra’ guided on the ritualistic significance and symbolic depictions of the architectures.

Apart from paying homage to these abode of worship, such stamps with Hindu temples would also raise awareness about Hinduism which is the oldest and the third largest religion in the world, conveying a rich philosophical insight.

Popular Hindu activist Rajan Zed noted that Hinduism has always been very rich in architecture which concerned the geometric layout of the altars and remarked “as most of the countries in the world presently housed traditionally built and designed Hindu temples where the Hindus of that area regularly visited and worshiped, the postal services of these countries should come forth and issue new postal stamps honoring and portraying these temples.”

The temple, Sri Kandaswamy Kovil, opens regularly at 5.30 in the morning and proceeds with its multiple ritualistic affairs and daily worship services including the ‘1008 Sangga Abishegam for RM 1981. The chief priest is Parameswara Kurukkal and the President is K. Aruljothi.

Pos Malaysia Berhad is the major postal delivery service of Malaysia whose history dates back to the early 1800s. Mohd. Shukrie Mohd Salleh is the Chief Executive Officer.

– prepared by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC
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Copyright 2017 NewsGram

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Buddhist Monk Losang Samten Uses Colors to Spread Message of Peace

Samten was born in Tibet. When he was a young boy, his family escaped to Nepal fleeing Chinese Communist control of his homeland. They lived in a refugee camp for years.

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Samten
Former Buddhist monk and Tibetan scholar Losang Samten uses colored sand to build mandalas, circular images filled with complex iconography, which have great meaning in Hinduism and Buddhism. VOA

According to one estimate, there are a 5 quintillion, 5 hundred quadrillion grains of sand on earth, a number so large it must be approaching infinity. This makes sand an appropriate medium for the construction of spiritual images of the universe.

Former Buddhist monk and Tibetan scholar Losang Samten does just that, using colored sand to build mandalas, circular images filled with complex iconography, which have great meaning in Hinduism and Buddhism.

Tibetan monks have created mandalas over the centuries from a variety of materials. Before sand, they used crushed colored stone. Now Samten travels around the world to find sand in various colors. He also dyes sand in watercolors.

Now Samten travels around the world to find sand in various colors. He also dyes sand in watercolors.
Tibetan monks have created mandalas over the centuries from a variety of materials. Before sand, they used crushed colored stone. VOA

Decades of mandalas

Samten, in his mid-60s, learned the craft at the feet of the Dalai Lama.

“When I was a teenager, age of 17,” he told VOA, “I had a privilege to enter His Holiness Dalai Lama’s monastery … in India. I have been studying sand mandalas ever since then. So it’s a long time.”

VOA found Samten painstakingly layering grains of colored sand at the gallery of the Philadelphia Folklore Project. The particular mandala he was working on was the mandala of compassion, or unconditional love.

Far from random designs, mandalas have been perfected over centuries.

“These are uniquely designed many, many, many, many, many years passing to an artist to another artist to another artist to another artist,” Samten said. “The color has a meaning, the shape has different meanings. Not my design; it didn’t come out of my own idea.”

When Samten created a sand mandala at the American Museum of History in New York in 1988 at the request of the Dalai Lama, it was the first time the 2,600-years-old ancient ritual art was seen outside of monasteries. Since then, Samten has made sand mandalas in museums, galleries and universities across the U.S. and many parts of the world.

“They are used to enhance the spiritual practice through image and meditation, to overcome suffering. Mandalas represent enlightened qualities and methods which explain this path, making them very important for the spiritual journey,” Samten wrote on his web site.

Nothing is permanent

Samten was born in Tibet. When he was a young boy, his family escaped to Nepal fleeing Chinese Communist control of his homeland. They lived in a refugee camp for years.

Now Samten travels around the world to find sand in various colors. He also dyes sand in watercolors.
Samten, in his mid-60s, learned the craft at the feet of the Dalai Lama. VOA

“In the winter of 1959, [we] crossed Mount Everest, it took us two months to cross,” he told VOA. “You cannot travel during the day and so scared and not enough food not enough clothes. I was age of 5. I saw, I mean unbelievable dead bodies, people dying without food. I became a monk at age 11 when I was in school, refugee school.”

Samten left monastic life in 1995 and became the spiritual director at the Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia. He says the patience of the creative process, can lead observers to find calm determination within themselves.

“When I am doing this mandala at universities and schools, many kids came to me, (saying) ‘when I saw you doing the sand mandala, that help me so much to finish my education, patience …’ I have a lot of stories,” he said.

Monk Samten
Samten was born in Tibet. When he was a young boy, his family escaped to Nepal fleeing Chinese Communist control of his homeland. VOA

Beauty comes and goes

After a sand mandala is completed, it is dismantled ceremoniously.

“Dismantle has many different reasons,” Samten said. “… One thing is, dismantle is a beauty, whatever we see as a beauty on the earth, never be everlasting as a beauty and impermanent, impermanent, comes and goes. It’s like a season.”

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Or like sand, ever changing in the wind.

Samten often invites children to participate in the ceremony.

To gallery visitor Traci Chiodress that was part of the charm of the event.

“I think it’s powerful to see something so beautiful created, and then taken apart, and to be done in a community with a group of people of different ages,” she said. “I just think it’s an important type of practice.” (VOA)