Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Stamps and Buddhist Philosophy

When I was a kid, I remember asking my father a question. “Why do you collect stamps?” He then asked me back, “Why do you ask, son?” Well I told him that I had just heard Buddha’s teaching that said “Do not collect worldly possessions” and to me then stamp collecting was a whole world in itself. That question did not go well with my father at that particular time and moment. And now as I have come to understand some parts of Buddhist philosophy, I know that Lord Buddha was right.

What is the use of amassing all those valuable items when you have to leave them when you die anyway? The people are not going to bury you with your worldly collection, are they? Unless you are in ancient Egypt, may be… But who could arrange for a burial spot with a huge chamber to house your collection? I am not arguing against stamp collection, but just a mere thought that came across when I started writing this blog.

Having a hobby or interest on anything can occupy the thought for a prolonged time. And for health reasons, it is good since or the people with high blood pressure or hypertension, it is good to keep the mind occupied in interesting activities so that the mind refreshed and thought do not wander away to the point where one has to be under the medication.

When I talk to non collectors, they are very much surprised that “stamp collecting” is still done. Most of the people without any interests on such prestigious hobby think that stamp collection is the thing of the past due to the age of computers, and due to use of emails and internet. I know that usage of stamps and sending letters through the regular mails have decreased drastically in last 25 years, but interest on stamps I think have not decreased a bit. Have you heard of any country or stamp issuing nation saying “Okay, our countrymen are using computers and emails completely. Per capita usage of computers and internet is 100 % in our country; therefore we will stop issuing new stamps!” I mean, the reality is that the stamps are going to be with us until the human civilization is here in our sphere called Earth. You can argue with me, you can refute my stance but I strongly believe that the stamps are here to stay. Yes, stamps have evolved, and they will continue to evolve. No more licking and pasting. In some countries you can print the stamps as you speak. No more of going to Post Office on a cold wintery morning to buy some stamps. We will keep seeing the changes in stamps and the way that our postal services work as things around us become more and more wireless.

We can only wait and see what happens in the future, right? Only time will tell….

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