June 13, 2024, Thursday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Image of Dipankar Buddha installation in Lumbini

The Nepal Weekly
February 7, 2023

The image of Dipankar Buddha donated by Nem Bir Shaakya of Lalitpur was installed in Nepal Bajrayan Mahabihar in Lumbini on 30 January. Shakya was also a trustee of the Mahabihar.

The installation ceremony was carried out with a grand manner with recitation of mantras and traditional music. The image was taken for circumambulation of Mayadevi Temple before the installation procedure.

All ritual procedure of installation was conducted by Prof Dr Naresh Man Shakya who performed as the chief priest of the ceremony.

Dipankara, one of many Buddhas of the past, is said to have predicted the coming of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni. According to legend, a rich Brahmin named Sumati saw that Dipankara was about to walk into a puddle of water. In order to prevent him from soiling his feet, Sumati laid his long hair across the puddle; following this event, Dipankara prophesized Sumati’s rebirth as the future Buddha. Images of Dipankara in Nepal are worshipped as icons bestowing charity and protecting merchants. Dipankara offers a gesture of charity (varamudra) with his left hand and a gesture of protection (abhayamudra) with his right. His richly decorated monk’s robe, crown and jewellery further illustrate Dipankara’s role as an icon of charity.

The Dipankara Buddha is said to predate the historical Buddha in a world cycle long past and to have foretold his coming. He is sometimes equated with Adibuddha, the “original Buddha.” Since the 17th century his cult has been popular with Nepalese Buddhists who consider him a protector of merchants and associate him with alms-giving. One of Dipankara’s local names, the “Samyak deity”, refers to an alms-giving festival where images such as this one are displayed, as well as images with wooden or basketry bodies and metal heads and hands. Basketry images consist of a large, hollow torso covered with clothing and ornaments capable of concealing a man who animates it in procession.