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Dipankara Buddha
Budda Sandżaa w Świątyni Zachodniej w klasztorze Erdene Dzuu (01).jpg
Sanjaa (Dipankara) inside Western Temple in the Erdene Zuu Monastery, Mongolia.
(Pinyin: Rándēng Fó)
(romaji: Nentō Butsu)
(RR: Yeondeung Bul)
Mongolianᠵᠣᠯᠠ ᠢᠢᠨ ᠵᠥᠬᠢᠶᠠᠭᠴᠢ᠂ ᠳᠢᠸᠠᠩ᠋ᠭᠠᠷ;
Зулын Зохиогч, Дивангар;
Zula yin Zohiyagci, Divangar
Sinhalaදීපඞ්කර බුදුන් වහන්සේ
Dipankara Budun Wahanse
Phra Thipangkon Phutthachao
Wylie: mar me mzad
THL: Marmedzé
VietnameseNhiên Đăng Phật
Venerated byTheravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana
AttributesCauser of Light[citation needed]
icon Religion portal

Dipankara (Pali: Dīpaṅkara; Sanskrit: Dīpaṃkara, "Lamp bearer") or Dipankara Buddha is one of the Buddhas of the past. He is said to have lived on Earth four asankheyyas and one hundred thousand kappas ago.[1] According to some Buddhist traditions, Dipankara was a Buddha who reached enlightenment eons prior to Gautama Buddha, the historical Buddha.

Generally, Buddhists believe that there has been a succession of many Buddhas in the distant past and that many more will appear in the future; Dipankara, then, would be one of numerous previous Buddhas, while Gautama was the most recent, and Maitreya will be the next Buddha in the future.

Chinese Buddhism tends to honor Dipankara as one of many Buddhas of the past. Dipankara, Gautama, and Maitreya are "the Buddhas of Three Times" in Yiguandao.


Dipankara is generally represented as a sitting Buddha, but his depictions as a standing Buddha are common in China, Thailand, and Nepal; with the right hand he generally forms a protection mudra (abhaya mudra), and often he forms it with both hands.

Dipankara is rarely depicted alone; He is generally depicted with two bodhisattvas, Manjusri and Vajrapani (common in Java) or Avalokiteśvara and Vajrapani (common in Sri Lanka); or with the Buddhas who come after him, Gautama and Maitreya.

One of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, destroyed by the Taliban government in Afghanistan in 2001, was said to portray Dipankara. Statues of Dipankara can also be found in the Longmen and Yungang Grottoes in China.


One story shown in Buddhist art stupas has Gautama Buddha (also known as Shakyamuni) in a former incarnation known as Sumedha, a rich Brahmin turned hermit kneeling and laying his long black hair on the ground, in an act of piety that the Dipankara Buddha could cross a puddle of mud without soiling his feet.[2][3]

The meeting of Ascetic Sumedha and Dipankara Buddha.

This meeting between Dipankara and Sumedha occurred many lifetimes before Sumedha's eventual enlightenment as Gautama Buddha (Shakyamuni). From this act, Dipankara told Sumedha "In the ages of the future you will come to be a Buddha called 'Shakyamuni'",[4] to which Sumedha replied, "I am to become a Buddha, awakened to enlightenment; may you tread with your feet on my hair - on my birth, old age, and death."

Dipankara then said, "Freed from human existence, you will become an effective teacher, for the sake of the world. Born among the Shakyas, as the epitome of the Triple World, the Lamp of all Beings, you will be known as Gautama. You will be the son of King Suddhodana and Queen Maya. Sariputta and Moggallana will be your chief disciples. Your caretaker will be named Ananda."

In the 40-plus years of his life after enlightenment, Gautama Buddha is said to have recounted almost 554 past life stories, (called Jataka tales) of his prior existences. Gautama Buddha is quoted as saying a person starts the journey to become a Buddha filling 10 Paramita or "perfections". Some sources and scriptures recount that the Bodhisattva Gautama was born as Prince Sumedha in the time of Dipankara, and was rich and gave away all his wealth to become a monk. It is said that Gautama Bodhisattva received his first Niyatha Vivarana, (or definite foresighting by a Buddha) from Dipankara. This encounter, among many other predictions of Gautama Buddha's future enlightenment, can be found in the Mahayana text Sangatha Sutra.[5]


Statues of Dipankara in Kathmandu.

By the 17th century, Dipankara had become a figure of veneration in Nepalese Buddhist communities. These followers consider him a protector of merchants and associate him with alms-giving. He is also considered the protector of sailors, and sometimes statues of Dipankara are found on the coastline to guide and protect the ships in their route.

Folk worshippers in Taiwan also revere Dipankara.

The Buddhavamsa says that Dipankara achieved Nirvana in Nandarama, where a stupa was built which was thirty six yojanas high.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ World Cycles When Buddhas Appear (PDF). p. 117.
  2. ^ "Life of the Buddha: Dīpankara's Prediction of Enlightenment". The Huntington Archive - The Ohio State University. Archived from the original on 8 August 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  3. ^ Ghosh, B (1987). "Buddha Dipankara Twentyfourth Predecessor of Gautama" (PDF). Bulletin of Tibetology. 2: 33–38.
  4. ^ Thomas Cleary (translator) (1998). The Sutra of Hui-neng Grand Master of Zen With Hui-neng's Commentary on the Diamon Sutra (PDF). p. 126. {{cite book}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  5. ^ Sanghata Sutra
  6. ^ John S. Strong (2007). Relics of the Buddha. p. 45.