Maha Thammaracha I
|Phra Maha Thammaracha I|
|King of Sukhothai|
|Reign||1347 - 1368|
|Predecessor||Ngua Nam Thum|
|Successor||Lue Thai (Maha Thammaracha II)|
|Died||1368 (68 years old)|
|Issue||Lue Thai (Maha Thammaracha II)|
|House||Phra Ruang Dynasty|
Maha Thammaracha I (Thai: มหาธรรมราชาที่ ๑, pronounced [mā.hǎː tʰām.mā.rāː.t͡ɕʰāː tʰîː nɯ̀ŋ]), born as Li Thai (Thai: ลิไทย, pronounced [líʔ.tʰāj]), was a king of the Sukhothai Kingdom, and the first Buddhist philosopher to write in the Thai language. He reigned from roughly 1347 until his death in 1368. Li Thai was the son of Loe Thai and the grandson of Ram Khamhaeng the Great.
The exact chronology of Li Thai's rise to the throne is unclear. Popular tradition names him as the fourth king of Sukhothai, but dynastic records seem to indicate that at least one other king (Ngua Nam Thum) ruled between Li Thai and his father, as well as the regent Phaya Sai Songkhram who ruled during Loe Thai's absence following the death of Ram Khamhaeng.
Li Thai wrote the Traiphum Phra Ruang ("three worlds by Phra Ruang", Phra Ruang being the dynastic name of Li Thai's lineage), a religious and philosophical text describing the various worlds of Buddhist cosmology, and the way in which karma consigns living beings to one world or another. The Ten Virtues of a sovereign were set down as guiding principles for Thai monarchs. The Traiphum Phra Ruang would go on to serve as an important political document, being re-interpreted in response to changes in the domestic and international political scene.:29
Li Thai also built the biggest Buddha image in the northern territory of Siam, called Phraputtachinnarat.
According to George Cœdès, Li Thai's devotion to Buddhism and his religious works earned him the title Maha Thammaracha, meaning "great pious king". He constructed many Buddha footprints and restored Wat Mahathat of Sukhothai. He was succeeded by his son Lue Thai.:219–220
- Jackson, Peter. 'Re-Interpreting the Traiphuum Phra Ruang' in Buddhist Trends in Southeast Asia. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore. 1993. ISBN 981-3035-81-1.
Maha Thammaracha IBorn: ? Died: 1368
| King of Sukhothai
Maha Thammaracha II
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