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The Eminent Monk Who Wasn'T?: Stories About Fazang'S Full Ordination

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Chapter Summary

Given Fazang’s international links and his importance as a Buddhist leader, one might think it absurd to question whether he was ever fully ordained: it would be as if one questioned whether a Pope is a Catholic priest. This chapter focuses on the one, small question about ordination, hopefully underscoring the problems that arise in reading the various accounts. First it reviews how Fazang’s ordination is treated in two biographical sources, one being the earliest source and the other the best of its type. The chapter then introduces the earliest known mentions of the unusual circumstances under which Fazang was ordained at an advanced age.

Keywords: biography; Fazang



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