Cakkavatti, Cakkavattī: 2 definitions


Cakkavatti means something in Buddhism, Pali. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

[«previous (C) next»] — Cakkavatti in Theravada glossary
Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

The special name given in the books to a World ruler. The world itself means Turner of the Wheel, the Wheel (Cakka) being the well known Indian symbol of empire. There are certain stock epithets used to describe a Cakka vatti:

dhammiko, dhammaraja, caturanto (ruler of the four quarters),

vijitavi (conqueror),

janapadatthavariyappatto (guardian of the peoples good), and

sattaratanasamannagato (possessor of the Seven Treasures).

More than one thousand sons are his; his dominions extend throughout the earth to its ocean bounds (sagarapariyantam); and is established not by the scourge, nor by the sword, but by righteousness (adandena asatthena dhammeneva abhivijiva). Particulars are found chiefly in the Mahasudassana, Mahapadana, Cakkavattisihanada, Balapandita and Ambattha Suttas. See also S.v.98.

From the Mahapadana Sutta it would appear that the birth of a Cakka vatti is attended by the same miracles as that of the birth of a Buddha. A Cakka vattis youth is the same as that of Buddha; he, too, possesses on his body the Mahapurisalakkhanani, and sooth sayers are able to predict at the childs birth only that one of two destinies await him.

Of the Seven Treasures of a Cakka vatti, the Cakkaratana is the chief. When he has traversed the Four Continents:





accompanied by the Cakkaratana, received the allegiance of all the inhabitants and admonished them to lead the righteous life, he returns to his own native city.

After the Wheel, other Treasures make their appearance:

first the Elephant, Hatthiratana; it is either the youngest of the Chaddanta kula or the oldest of the Uposatha kula.

Next the Horse, Assaratana, named Valahaka, all white with crow black head, and dark mane, able to fly through the air.

Then the Veluriya gem from Vepullapabbata, with eight facets, the finest of its species, shedding light for a league around.

This is followed by the Woman, belonging either to the royal family of Madda or of Uttarakuru, desirable in every way, both because of her physical beauty and her virtuous character.

Then the Treasurer (Gahapati) possessed of marvellous vision, enabling him to discover treasures,

and then the Adviser (Parinayaka), who is generally the Cakka vattis eldest son.

(For descriptions of these see D.ii.174f; DA.ii.624f; MA.ii.941f ).

Judging from the story of Mahasudassana, who is the typical Cakka vatti, the World emperor has also four other gifts (iddhi):

a marvellous figure,

a life longer than that of other men, good health,

and popularity with all classes of his subjects.

context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

[«previous (C) next»] — Cakkavatti in Pali glossary
Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

cakkavattī : (m.) a universal monarch.

Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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