SIAMESE & THAI HISTORY & CULTURE      Part 3

The famous Sukhothai Stone inscriptions

ANCIENT STONE INSCRIPTIONS OF SUKHOTHAI

translated by: H.R.H. Prince Wan Waithayakon Krommun Naradhip Bongsprabandh. 1891-1976

   "My father's name was Sri Indraditya. My mother's name was Nang Suang. My elder brother's name was Ban Muang. We were five brothers and sisters of the same womb, three boys and two girls. My eldest brother died, leaving me while still small. 

   When I grew up to nineteen years, Khun Sam Chon, Chief of Muang Chot, came to clash with Muang Tak. My father went to fight Khun Sam Chon on the left. Khun Sam Chon drove on the right. Khun Sam Chon charged in force. My father's people fled, scattered in confusion. I fled not. I rode my elephant Nekabol. drove in before my father. I engaged in elephant combat with Khun Sam Chon. I myself thrust and routed Khun Sam Chon's elephant, called Mas Muang. Khun Sam Chon fled in defeat. So my father gave me the name of Phokhun Phra Ram Khamhaeng , for I had thrust Khun Sam Chon's elephant.

  During my fathers life-time, I served my father; I served my mother. When I got a deer or a fish, I brought it to my father. When Got a fruit, sour or sweet, which tasted good, brought it to my father. When I went to hunt elephants and got one, I brought it to my father. When I went to clash with villages and towns and got elephants, men, women, silver and gold, I brought them and handed them to my father. When my father died, leaving my elder brother, I constantly served my brother as I served my father. When my brother died, the whole realm fell to me.

   In the life-time of King Ramkhamhaeng, this Müang Sukhothai is good. in the water there are fish, in the fields there is rice. The ruler does not levy a tax on the people who travel along the road together, leading their oxen on the way to trade and riding their horse on the way to sell. Whoever wants to trade elephants, so trades. Whoever wants to trade in horses so trade. Whoever wants to trade in silver and gold, so trades.

   When a commoner, noble or prince is dead and deceased, let his ancestral home, his clothes, his elephants, his family, his rice granaries, his servants and his ancestral groves of areca-nut and betel all devolve on his children. If commoners, nobles or princes have a difference and dispute, the (King) makes a true investigation and then only does he decide the matter for his subjects uprightly, without siding with him who steals or showing preference for him who conceals. On seeing the rice of others, he has no covetous desire. On seeing the wealth of others, he has no seething desire. To anyone who comes on elephant to see him, bringing his city to him, he affords aid and assistance. if he lacks elephants and horses, men and women, silver and gold, he does not kill or beat him.

    At the gateway there is a bell hung up. if anyone of the public has a complaint or grievance of body or of mind to place before the king, it is not difficult. He goes to sound the bell that is hung up. King Ramkhamhaeng hears him call and, on questioning him, makes an upright investigation for him. So the people of Müang Sukhothai are glad to cultivate groves of areca-nut and betel everywhere in this city. Coconut groves abound in this city. Jackfruit groves abound in this city. Mango trees abound in this city. Tamarind trees also abound in this city. whoever cultivates them, possesses them. In the middle of this Müang Sukhothai, there is water of a spring of clear color, good to drink as drinking the Mekhong water in the dry season. Round this Müang Sukhothai, there is a triple rampart of three thousand four hundred Wa (Wa = 2 meters). These people in this Müang Sukhothai, are charitable, pious and devoted to alms-giving.

    King Ramkhamhaeng, the ruler of this Müang Sukhothai, as well as princes and princesses, gentlemen and ladies of the nobility and men and women, one and all, have faith in the Buddhist religion, everyone observing the perhaps Buddhist Lent (rainy season), at the end of which Kathin offerings for a whole month. In the Kathin offerings there are heaps of cowries, heaps of areca-nut, heaps of flowers, cushions and pillows. The Kathin accessories presented each year amount to two million. For the recital of the Kathin resolution people go even as far as Aranyik (monastery) yonder. On their return to the city, they line up from Aranyik yonder to the border of the open ground, joining together in striking up the sound of musical instruments and lutes, caroling and singing. Whoever wants to play, plays. Whoever wants to laugh, laughs. Whoever want s to carol, carols. This Müang Sukhothai has four gateways. People would flock in to see the King light the candles and play with fireworks. This Müang Sukhothai is noisy as if it would burst.

    In the middle of this Müang Sukhothai, there are sanctuaries, golden Buddha -images, Phra Attharos (eighteen cubits high), Buddha-images, big Buddha-images, medium Buddha-images. There are big sanctuaries, medium sanctuaries. There are venerable teachers, thera (elder monks) and mahathera (eminent elder monks).

    On the west of this Müang Sukhothai, there is Aranyik. King Ramkhamhaeng presented it to mahathera, the sage patriarch who completed the study of the Tripitaka (three baskets), more learned than all venerable teachers in this city, having come up from Muang Sri Dharmaraj. in the middle of Aranyik, there is a sanctuary, oval, big, tall, most beautiful, containing a standing Buddha-image, eighteen cubits high

    On the east of this Müang Sukhothai, there are sanctuaries, venerable teachers, a great lake, groves of areca-nut and betel, plantations and rice-fields, places of abode and dwellings, villages big and small, mango and tamarind groves, looking beautiful as if by design.

   On the north of this Müang Sukhothai, there are bazaar market, Phra Achana ( Buddha - image), a Prasad (Tower), coconut and Jackfruit groves, plantations and rice-fields, places of abode and dwellings, villages big and small.

    On the south of this Müang Sukhothai, there are temple cells for venerable teacher to live in, a dam, coconut and Jackfruit groves, mango and tamarind groves, upland waters Phra Khaphung, the spirit-god of that hill, greater than any spirit in this city. If any ruler of this Müang Sukhothai,  reverences him well and makes proper offering, this city will be stable, this city will be good. If he does not reverence him well and does not make the proper offering, the spirit in him will not protect or respect him, and this city will be lost.

   In 1214, the year of the Dragon King Ramkhamhaeng, the ruler of this Müang Srisajanalai- Sukhothai,  who planted these palm trees fourteen years ago, ordered workmen to hew a stone-slab and place it in the midst of these palm trees. On the day of the new moon, eighth day of the waxing moon, the day of the full moon, and eighth of the waning moon, a chapter of venerable teachers, elder monks and eminent elder monks mounted and sat on this slab and recited the Law to the assembly of laymen who observed the precepts. If it  was not on a day for the recital of the Law, King Ramkhanmaeng, the ruler of this Müang Srisajanalai-Sukhothai,   would mount and sit on the stone slab and let the assembly of members of the royal family, the nobility and the people administer the country together. On the day of the new moon and on that full moon the King caparisoned the white elephant, called Ruchasri, with straps and tassels and, naturally, with gold for its ... right tusks. King Ramkhamhaeng mounted it and rode it to worship Phra ... at Aranyik and then back.

    There is another inscription in Muang Chaliang, set up with Phra Sri Ratanadhtau (Relic). There is another inscription in the cave, named Phra Ram cave, on the bank of Samphai River. There is another inscription in Ratanadhara cave. Within this palm grove there are two pavilions, one called Phra Mas pavilion and one called Buddha Pavilion. The stone-slab is known as Manangsilabat, set there so it is seen by all.

    King Ramkhamhaeng son of King Sri Indraditya, is the ruler in this Müang Srisajanalai Sukhothai, over the Ma, the Lao and the Thai, cities under heaven ... The Thai of U and Khong come to pay homage. In 1207, the year of the pig (the King) had the sacred relics dug up so that all might see. He made worship in celebrating the Sacred Relics for a month and six days before he buried them in the middle of Muang Srisajanalai and built a pagoda over them. it took six years to finish. The setting up of a stone wall around the Sacred Relics took three years to finish.

    Previously, this script did not exist. In 1205, the year of the Goat, King Ramkhamhaeng set his heart's desire to it and established this Thai script. So Thai scrip exists for that ruler established it. That King Ramkhamhaeng is indeed the chief and lord of all Thai, is the teacher and preceptor teaching all the Thai truly to know what is merit and what is Law. But of the people that there are in the Thai cities, none can be found to equal him in knowledge and learning, in courage and bravery, in force and strength. He is capable of subduing a host of enemies who have vast cities and numerous elephants.

    He has subdued: on the east as far as Sra Luang, Song Kwae, Lumbachai, Sakha, up to the bank of the Mekhong, to Wiangchan and Wiangkham as the limit, on the south as far as Khomti, Phra Bang, Phraek, Subarnbhumi, Rajaburi, Bejraburi, Sridharmaraj, to the sea-coast as the limit; On the west  as far as Muang Chot, Muang Hongsawadi, to the seas as the limit: On the north as far as   Muang Phrae, Muang Nan, Muang..., Muang Phlua, beyond the bank of the Khong (river), to Muang Chawa as the limit. He brings up every inhabitant of those villages and cities in accordance with the Law."

...Brief overview of Sukhothai...

   Many Buddhist chetiya were built at Sri Satchanalai. After the reign of king Ramkhamhaeng, Sukhothai was ruled successively by other two kings, namely Phraya Le Thai and Phraya Ngua Num Thom. During the time of these two kings the power of Sukhothai declined. Some former colonies of Sukhothai declared its independent. Sukhothai later regained its power during the time of Phraya Li Thai. The reign of king Li Thai are considered as the golden age of Sukhothai arts. Numerous important Buddha images and religious buildings were built not only at Sukhothai, but also at Pitsanulok an Khamphaeng Phet towns. The King also sent Buddhist pilgrims to many towns in order to enlarge the Buddhist followers. After the death of king Li Thai the power of Sukhothai declined again. Finally, Sukhothai became an outpost town under the ruling of the new powerful kingdom centered in the area further to the south, the Ayutthaya kingdom.

   

Copyright © 1998 USMTA Inc All rights reserved. Revised: October 16, 2004.