Maha Thammaracha I

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Maha Thammaracha I
มหาธรรมราชาที่ ๑
King of Sukhothai
Mahathammaracha I.JPG
King of Sukhothai
Reign 1347–1368
Predecessor Nguanamthom
Successor Maha Thammaracha II
Died 1368
Issue Maha Thammaracha II
Full name
Phra Maha Thammaracha I
House Phra Ruang Dynasty
Father Loe Thai

Maha Thammaracha I (Thai: มหาธรรมราชาที่ ๑), born as Lithai (Thai: ลิไทย), 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. Lithai was the son of Lerthai, also known as Loethai or LeLue Thai, and the grandson of Ramkhamhaeng. The exact chronology of Lithai'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 (Nguanamthom) ruled between Lithai and his father, as well as the regent Phaya Sai Songkhram who ruled during Lerthai's absence following the death of Ram Khamhaeng the Great.

Lithai served as uparat during his father's reign from the city of Srisatchanalai, an important urban center of the early Sukhothai kingdom.

Lithai wrote the Tri-Bhumi Phra Ruang ('Three worlds by Phra Ruang', Phra Ruang being the dynastic name of Lithai's linneage), a religious and philosohical text describing the various world 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 Traiphuum would go on to serve as an important political document, being re-interpreted in response to changes in the domestic and international political scene.[1]:29

Phaya Lithai also built the biggest Buddha image in the northern territory of Siam called Phraputtachinnarat.

According to George Coedes, "Loe Thai's devotion to Buddhism and his religious works earned him the title Dharmaraja or Dharmikaraja, 'Pious king'." He constructed many Buddhapada and restored Wat Mahathat of Sukhothai. He was succeeded by his son Lu Thai[2]:219–220


  1. ^ Chakrabongse, C., 1960, Lords of Life, London: Alvin Redman Limited
  2. ^ Coedès, George (1968). Walter F. Vella, ed. The Indianized States of Southeast Asia. trans.Susan Brown Cowing. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-0368-1. 
  • 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.

See also

Maha Thammaracha I
Born: ? Died: 1368
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Sukhothai
Succeeded by
Maha Thammaracha II

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