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Sanjaa (Dipankara) inside Western Temple in the Erdene Zuu Monastery, Mongolia.

Dīpaṅkara [alt. Dīpaṃkara] (T. mar me mdzad; C. Dingguang rulai 定光如來) was a buddha of a previous eon who is famous for having issued the prophecy of Gautama Buddha’s awakening as a Buddha.[1]

According to tradition, the hermit Sumedha, who would after many reincarnations become Gautama Buddha, made his initial vow to become a buddha in front of Dīpaṅkara. Dīpaṅkara then made the prophecy (vyākarana) that Sumedha would become a buddha in the future.[2]

Dīpaṅkara is included among the twenty-nine buddhas named in the Pali Buddhavamsa. According to this account, Dīpaṅkara was fourth in the succession of 28 buddhas who preceded Gautama Buddha.

Dīpaṅkara is also commonly identified as one of the "buddhas of the three times." In this context, Dīpaṅkara represents the buddha of the past, Gautama Buddha is the buddha of the present, and Maitreya is the buddha of the future.[2]

Further reading


  1. Internet-icon.svg mar me mdzad, Christian-Steinert Dictionary
  2. 2.0 2.1 Robert E. Buswell Jr., Donald S. Lopez Jr., The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Princeton: 2014), s.v. Dīpaṃkara