- (Maha Thammada)In Indo-Buddhist and Burmese tradition, the first king. At the beginning of the world epoch, human beings were naturally good, like the inhabitants of the Garden of Eden, but over time they became greedy, lustful, and corrupted, and constantly quarreled. Recognizing this, they elected a wise man to rule over them and make the laws. He was the "Great Chosen One" (Maha Thamada). Scholars have compared this myth with the Western concept of the social contract and James Madison's belief, expressed in The Federalist Papers, that "if men were angels, no government would be necessary." On an ideological level, it provided incumbent rulers with legitimacy, especially because Burmese kings claimed descent from the Maha Thamada, although royal succession was dynastic or through force majeure rather than by election.
Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). Donald M. Seekins . 2014.
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