Audio Tour Set No. ___ Location at ANM: Exclusive Gallery: 1000 Buddha
1. Artifact's name: Sumedha Hermit
2. Period: Angkorian period, late 12th – early 13th century Style: Bayon
3. Provenance: Phnom Veak, Siem Reap province
4. Historical background and its remark
This lying down statue of Sumedha hermit simply lies on the ground, both arms stretched forward, the hands put together, representing paying homage, the garment covering the body at the back, and characteristics of the sculpture identified as the Bayon style. This statue reflects an extraordinary one of the past lives of Gautoma Buddha. As an example, it can be seen on the impressive bas-reliefs of Neak Poan temple and Ta Prohm temple in the late 12th – early 13th century, depicted the way the king or high ranking persons pay homage to Bodhisattva. Precise wall paintings on modern Buddhist monasteries prove the story of Sumedha acting as a bridge for the passage of the Dipankara Buddha. As the legend revealed a long time ago, the bodhisattva, who eventually becomes the Gautama Buddha, was once a hermit named Sumedha, living in the city of Amaravati. When he was young, he contributed all his inheritances and devoted himself to a holy life.
One day, when Sumedha was travelling through the air, he saw a road being cleared to allow the Dipankara Buddha to come to Amaravati from the Sudassanna monastery. He joined the work, but unfortunately, the road was not completed yet, thus, when the Dipankara Buddha arrived, Sumedha made his body in to a bridge, lying down on his garment of black antelope skin in the mud “May the teacher and disciples not step in the mud, but walk on me.” When the Dipankara Buddha saw this, he explained that, after thousand of eons, this man would be the Buddha.
Sumedha also received the same prediction from the other 23 Buddhas. (Vittorio Roveda & Sothon Yem: 2010:47-49)