Dipankara Jataka (The Story of the Ascetic Megha and the Buddha Dipankara)
ca. 2nd century
Pakistan (ancient region of Gandhara, Swat Valley)
Schist with gold leaf
H. 8 3/4 in. (22.2 cm); W. 8 3/8 in. (21.3 cm); D. 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alan D. Wolfe, in memory of Samuel Eilenberg, 1998
Not on view
In this panel the ascetic Megha (the Buddha Shakyamuni in a past life) appears three times: first, standing before the Buddha Dipankara throwing flowers; second, prostrate before the Buddha spreading his matted locks over mud; and third, flying in the upper left of the panel in a gesture of veneration.
This story is the critical beginning of the Gandharan narrative cycle, as the Buddha Dipankara predicts that in a future life Megha will reach enlightenment and become the Buddha Shakyamuni.