chapter  6
21 Pages

GYÔKI AND FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS IN BUDDHIST HAGIOGRAPHY

The general trend among scholars of early Japanese Buddhism of the last few decades has been to regard the medieval accounts of Gyôki (excluding the Gyôki bosatsuden and the Gyôki nenpu) as fantastic legends that were based on popular beliefs. Although Fukuda Takashi and Yoneyama Takako aptly pointed out that new religious beliefs transformed Gyôki’s biographies, to assume that the earliest Heian biographies recorded only what the imperial sources had confirmed would be a mistake. The Nihon ryôiki, for example, shows the existence already of numerous legends about Gyôki circulating within a few decades after his death.