By Jonathan Morris Augustine
Hagiographies or idealized biographies which recount the lives of saints, bodhisattvas and different charismatic figures were the assembly position for fantasy and adventure. In medieval Europe, the 'lives of saints' have been learn in the course of liturgical celebrations and the texts themselves have been taken care of as sacred items. In Japan, it was once believed that those that learn the biographies of lofty clergymen could gather benefit. seeing that hagiographies have been written or compiled via 'believers', the road among delusion and fact was once usually obscured. This research of the bodhisattva Gyoki - considered as the monk who begun the biggest social welfare circulation in Japan - illustrates how eastern Buddhist hagiographers selected to treat a unmarried monk's charitable actions as a wonderful fulfillment that formed the process jap heritage.
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Extra info for Buddhist Hagiography in Early Japan: Images of Compassion in the Gyōki Tradition
For example, 44 THE HAGIOGRAPHER’S CRAFT in 1990, eighty-two tiles dating back to the middle of the Nara period were discovered near the JR Yamazaki railroad station. 28 The Shinshiki, which appears at the end of the Nendaiki, is particularly remarkable, because it describes how most of Gyôki’s forty-nine practice halls were built near large irrigation projects, bridges, and orphanages. The Gyôki nenpu shows that Gyôki worked in one or two districts for two or three years at a time before moving on to a different area.
Most of these regulations made clear to monks and nuns that they would lose their privileged status as state officials if they became involved in secular matters.
In a decade or two after Gyôki took his vows, the Nara court started defining specific requirements for those seeking ordination. 31 The very limited texts that recorded the qualifications of monks and nuns prior to their ordination show that those who were older than twenty years had engaged in several years of ascetic training prior to receiving their final vows. For example, a text called the Records of the Laymen’s Offerings (Ubasoku kôshinbun) recorded the backgrounds and abilities of individual monks, so that monastic authorities could determine whether they were qualified enough to receive their preliminary vows.