Universal monarch

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A universal monarch (Skt. cakravartin or cakravartirāja; Tib. འཁོར་ལོས་སྒྱུར་བའི་རྒྱལ་པོ་, khorlö gyurwé gyalpo, Wyl. 'khor los bsgyur ba'i rgyal po) is someone who has the power to overcome, conquer and rule all inhabitants of a four-continent world system. Such a monarch is called a cakravartin because he wields a disk (Skt. cakra) that rolls (Skt. vartana) over continents, worlds, and world systems, bringing them under his power.

In the Buddhist teachings this is considered an example of the most powerful rebirth possible within samsara. Rebirth as a universal monarch can occur only when the lifespan of the human beings of the four continent world system ranges from eighty thousand to a countless number of years. Universal monarchs are in possession of three sets of seven emblems:

  1. the seven precious emblems of royalty,
  2. the seven secondary possessions, and
  3. the seven types of jewel insignia.

Further Reading

  • Jamgön Kongtrul, Myriad Worlds (Ithaca: Snow Lion, 1995), pages 134-138, ISBN 978-1559391887
  • Robert Beer, The Handbook of Tibetan Buddhist Symbols (Boston: Shambhala, 2003), pages 36-48.