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<tr><th class="fn org" style="text-align: center; font-size: larger;" colspan="2" style="background-color:#FFFF00">Dipankara Buddha</th></tr>
Sanskrit:  Dipankara
Pāli Dipamkara
Chinese:  Rándēng Fo
Tibetan:  mar me mdzad
Information
Venerated by:  Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana
Attributes:  Causer of Light
Preceded By:  Saraṇaṃkara
Succeeded By:  Koṇḍañña

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Dipankara (Sanskrit and Pali Dīpaṃkara, "Lamp bearer"; Bengali: দীপঙ্কর ; Chinese 燃燈佛 (pinyin Rándēng Fo); Tibetan མར་མེ་མཛད། mar me mdzad; Mongolian Jula-yin Jokiyaγči, Dibangkara, Nepal Bhasa: दिपंखा Dipankha) one of the Buddhas of the past, said to have lived on Earth one hundred thousand years.

Theoretically, the number of Buddhas having existed is enormous and they are often collectively known under the name of "Thousand Buddhas". Each was responsible for a life cycle. According to some Buddhist traditions, Dipankara (also Dipamkara) was a Buddha who reached enlightenment eons prior to Shakyamuni, 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 Shakyamuni 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, which forms with Shakyamuni (Buddha of the present) and Maitreya (Buddha of the future), the Buddhas of Three Times.

Iconography

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.

He is rarely depicted alone; one of the Buddhas of Bamyan, 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.

He is generally depicted with two Bodhisattvas, Manjushri and Vajrapani (common in Java) or Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani (common in Sri Lanka); or with the Buddhas who come after him, Gautama and Maitreya.

Prediction

One story recounts a meeting between Dipankara Buddha and Shakyamuni, many lifetimes before Shakyamuni's eventual enlightenment. When Dipankara told Shakyamuni he would one day become a Buddha, Shakyamuni 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 Buddha 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 Gauthama. You will be the son of King Suddhodana and Queen Maya. Shariputta and Moggallana will be your chief disciples. Your caretaker will name as Ananda"

In 45 years life of the Buddha, said almost 554 past life stories, Jaathaka Katha in Sinhalese of himself. Gauthama Bodisatta, a person starts the journey to become a Buddha filling 10 Paramita, was born in the time of Dipankara Buddha, and was rich and gave away all his wealth to become a Monk. It is said that Gauthama Bodisatta received his first Niyatha Vivarana, definite foresighting by a Buddha, from Dipankara Buddha. This encounter, among many other predictions of Shakyamuni Buddha's future enlightenment, can be found in a Mahayana text named the Sangatha Sutra. [1].

Veneration

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 the sailors, and sometimes statues of Dipankara are found on the coastline to guide and protect the ships in their route.

Folk worshipers in Taiwan also revere Dipankara.

See also

References

  1. Sanghata Sutra
bo:མར་མེ་མཛད།ja:燃燈仏

ta:தீபங்கர புத்தர் th:พระทีปังกรพุทธเจ้า zh:燃灯佛

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