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.
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.
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