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Chakravarti-raja

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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chakravartin
wheel-turning king (Skt chakravarti-raja )

wheel-turning king
転輪聖王転輪王・輪王 (Skt chakravarti-raja, chakravarti-rajan, or chakravartin; Jpn tenrin-jo’o, tenrin-o, or rin-o ) An extremely fortunate being who has accumulated a vast amount of merit and as a result has taken rebirth as a king with dominion over all four continents as described in Buddhist cosmology, or, at the very least, over one of the four continents. At present there are no Chakravatin kings in our world, and there is no one who has complete dominion over our continent, Jambudvipa. See Great Treasury of Merit.

    Also, wheel-turning sage king, or wheel-king. An ideal ruler in ancient Indian mythology who governs with justice rather than force and brings tranquillity and comfort to the people. He possesses seven treasures: a wheel, elephants, horses, jewels, jewel-like women, excellent ministers of financial affairs, and generals. He also possesses the thirty-two features as a Buddha does, as well as the four virtues of great wealth, admirable features and form, freedom from worries, and long life. According to some scriptures, when Shakyamuni was born, a hermit-sage named Asita foretold that, if the boy remained in the secular world, he would become a wheel-turning king, but if he renounced secular life, he would become a Buddha.

    While turning the wheel he was given by heaven, a wheel-turning king advances everywhere at will and establishes peace. These wheels are of four kinds: gold, silver, copper, and iron, the type of wheel indicating a wheel-turning king's rank, or the extent of his realm and power. A gold-wheel-turning king rules all the four continents surrounding Mount Sumeru; a silver-wheel-turning king, the eastern, western, and southern continents; a copper-wheel-turning king, the eastern and southern continents; and an iron-wheel-turning king, the southern continent, or Jambudvipa. Buddhist scriptures contain stories of Shakyamuni Buddha's previous incarnations as a wheel-turning king.