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Sumedha and Dīpankara Buddha, modern illustration

Sumedha is the name of the bodhisattva who would become Gautama Buddha in a future life. Sumedha lived during the time of Dīpankara Buddha.

Born into a brahmin family, Sumedha left his home to live as an ascetic in the mountains. One day he met Dīpankara Buddha, and observing that Dīpankara Buddha was about to walk into a mud puddle, he offered his own body for him to walk over. During this sacrifice, he makes a vow that he also will be a Buddha in a future lifetime, which is confirmed by Dīpankara through a prophecy.

The encounter between Sumedha and Dīpankara Buddha is the oldest Buddhist story known which deals with the path of a bodhisatta, and the story has been said to represent the ideal of the bodhisattva within the Pali tradition. Sumedha's story has often been raised by Theravāda Buddhists as an example of selfless service.

This article includes content from Sumedha on Wikipedia (view authors). License under CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikipedia logo