Dipankra Jataka

Lahore Museum

Lahore Museum

A rectangular panel relief in schist stone depicting famous Dipankara Jataka (lower register) and adoration of the Buddha in upper register.

Jatakas are stories from the previous lives of the Buddha born as Siddhartha. Dipankara jataka is one of the most popular jatakas represented in Gandhara art. In this jataka Siddhartha was born as Sumati. According to tradition, there came 24 Buddhas before the historical Buddha and the earliest was the Dipankara. The story tells of a young Brahman named Sumati, who was master of the Vedas and was offered five gifts by king Vasava. One was a girl bedecked with ornaments, who he did not accept. The girl went to the city of Dipavati and dedicated herself to the service of God. She gave all her ornaments to a gardener, who promised to supply her daily with blue lotuses for worship. Knowing that Dipankara Buddha was visiting the city of Dipavati, Sumati also reached there and searched everywhere for flowers for the worship of Dipankara. He could not find any as all had been collected by the king for worship. Sad and disappointed, he continued to search and came upon the girl, he had once rejected. She had seven lotus flowers and he beseeched her to give some to him. The girl agreed on his promising that while offering the flowers, Sumati would wish to have her as her wife in every future birth. Both proceeded to where Dipankara was, but due to the huge crowd around him, they could not get close enough. Dipankara by his supernatural power caused rain and in the resulting confusion, Sumati and the girl got an opportunity to approach him and threw flowers at him, which did not fall to the ground, but remained suspended in the air. The road was muddy because of the shower, and Sumati prostrated and spread his hair on the path of Dipankara to enable him to pass. Dipankara stepped on the hair and moved on, but predicted that in time Sumati would be born as Sakyamuni for the benefit of humanity. As the prediction was uttered the people saw Sumati soar up to heaven.

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  • Title: Dipankra Jataka
  • Location: Lahore Museum, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Location Created: Sikri (Khaibar Pakhtun Khuwa) Pakistan.
  • Physical Dimensions: W.26cm H.36cm D.6cm
  • Rights: Lahore Museum, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Medium: Carving in Schist Stone