Hi Thule. I am aware of these texts and any such undertaking will probably make use of them, the focus however is on the 'biography', specifically for me it's events said to have taken place that contradict the word of the Buddha in the Suttas that I wish to bring to account, in no small part because it's the 'biography' that is found across the globe in Theravadin monasteries for free distribution, it's the biography that people give attention to, the rest is tertiary material in my eyes.
Some years ago, I was staying in a monastery, and I was young and impressionable. I found the book sitting around in the cloister for free distribution, so I took it up to my kuti and more or less couldn't put it down, at the time I found it quite inspiring, not the part I now see as eternalistic, but the parts concerning kammathana, the life of the monk and if I'm quite honest, all the visiting devas and magical happenings. I bought into the doctrine because I was inspired by the austerity and what I saw as pure lifestyle. Fortunately when the monks realized I was reading this text we had some discussions and I remember at the time being quite a vocal defender of the text, going so far to say to one Ajahn: "Do you think Ven. Maha Boowa was lying? Do you think he just made it up?" in some accusatory tone. In my mind monks of such a calibre were pure, there's no way one earth they could possibly say anything other than the factual truth as it happened. I didn't realize many of the accounts in the biography had been through several ears, were quite secondary/tertiary sources and had probably suffered from Chinese Whispers syndrome. Fortunately for me (I think) the venerable Monks managed to convince me that much of the doctrine presented within was at odds with the word of the Buddha.
My own example I have used to illustrate this point: I think there are probably quite a number of people in the same situation I was in, who buy into it because of the beautiful writing, the romanticism of a holy life in the jungle, and may go on thinking that it's quite in line with the Buddha's teachings, to their own detriment.
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven BodhesakoNanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma
| Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca