|Reign||11 trillion years BP|
Maha Sammata (Pali: Mahā Sammata; Burmese: မဟာ သမ္မတ; also spelled Mahasammata; lit. "the Great Elect") was the first monarch of the world according to Buddhist tradition. The chronicles of Theravada Buddhist tradition such as Mahavamsa and Maha Yazawin state that he was the founder of the Sakya dynasty, to which the historical Buddha belonged. He was the first of the eleven world monarchs named Maha Sammata, each of whom founded the eleven dynasties that existed from the beginning to the day of the Buddha.
The future king was born "in the beginning of the world" in Jambudvipa, the only habitable continent on earth, to a family descended from the solar race. As no leaders or political orders were in existence, the people elected him to be their king. He ascended to the throne with the title Maha Sammata ("the Great Elect"), and took Manikpala, the sister of Vishnu as his queen. As king, he constituted the order of the city-state, the various duties and offices defined for the state, and the boundaries of armies of their protection. Moreover, he also established four different human estates (castes): the rulers, brahmins, the wealthy and the poor. He also compiled the first dhammasattha (law treatise).
The dynasty he founded was to have a line of 63,000 kings. That dynasty eventually fell because people forgot religion (dharma). The second dynasty was founded by the founder who took the title Maha Sammata II. That dynasty too eventually fell after another 63,000 kings later. The fall of the second dynasty was followed by the foundation of the third dynasty. The cycle of rising and falling dynasties continued to the day of the historical Buddha, over 2500 years ago. Based on the reporting in the Sinhalese and Burmese chronicles, each of the eleven cycles lasted 800 billion years, meaning the earth is 10 trillion years old. According to tradition, there were 334,569 kings (of the 11 dynasties) from Maha Sammata to the time of the historical Buddha.
According to Theravadin tradition, a total of 28 Buddhas have appeared including the historical Buddha. The first 24 Buddhas appeared in the first seven cycles. The last four Buddhas appeared in the most recent four cyles.
|Kakusandha Buddha||Eighth Maha Sammata Dynasty|
|Koṇāgamana Buddha||Ninth Maha Sammata Dynasty|
|Kassapa Buddha||Tenth Maha Sammata Dynasty|
|Gautama Buddha||Eleventh Maha Sammata Dynasty|
Maha Sammata is mentioned in various Buddhist traditions. In addition to the Theravada accounts, Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhist schools describe him as the founder of political thought.
- Kapferer 1997: 68
- Rhys Davids 2006: 88
- Kala 1724: 46–51
- Kala 1724: 46–48
- Kapferer 2002: 112
- Mahanama 1999: 57 in the footnotes by editor Douglas Bullis
- Maha Thilawuntha 1928: 81
- Kala 1724: 51
- Heissig 1980: 69
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