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12 Pages

INTRODUCTION

The bodhisattva Gyôki in the broader hagiographic context

The last few decades have seen a resurgence of works in English and other European languages that deal with hagiography or the idealized biographies of sacred religious figures. However, similar studies of ancient and medieval collections that narrate the lives of bodhisattvas and Buddhist monks and nuns have not received nearly as much attention in East Asia. Why has this been the case? The first and foremost reason is because, to this very day, the Roman Catholic church uses a judicial process to determine whether a person should be canonized. John Paul II canonized more people than any previous papal authority.1 Consequently, many scholars have become interested in the formal procedures of canonization.