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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. In this account, Dīpaṅkara was fourth in the succession of 28 named buddhas who preceded Gautama Buddha.

In Tibetan Buddhist art, Dīpaṅkara is typically used to represent the "buddhas of the past" within depictions of the "buddhas of the three times." In this context, Gautama Buddha is the buddha of the present, and Maitreya is used to represent the buddhas 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