Will wrote:Buddha's direct disciples I know of and some major Theravadin figures in the 19-20th centuries, but that leaves a vast period of time I am ignorant of. Aside from Buddhagosha and Ashoka there must have been many Arahants or sages that Theravadins admire.
As far as I know, neither Buddhaghosa nor Asoka are regarded as arahants (except as product of much later glorification).
Have you seen R. Ray's book "Buddhist Saints in India"? It deals with this subject.
No Bhante, I am not familiar with that title. But Reginald Ray is a Mahayanaist, so I suspect most of the saints mentioned would be of that variety. Besides the couple of blurbs I read about suggest it is more of an academic study about
Buddhist sainthood. I am looking for simple biographies of Theravadin sages, that need not be Arahants, in the time frame mentioned above.
Surely such bios exist, Mahayana has traditional lives of Milarepa, Nagarjuna, Asanga, Chih-I etc. so there must be some out there giving traditional stories of revered latter-day followers of Buddha.
If little or none exist, in English, then there is a need.
A bodhisattva does not become weary of evil beings nor does he commit the error of bringing forth thoughts inclined to reject them and cast them aside. Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 25