Meditation Cushions Get our latest catalog.Free! About Us Learning Resources Order by Item Number Web Specials


DharmaCrafts: The Catalog of Meditation Supplies
In the Moment: May/June 2007, Vol. 15
request a catalog dot learning resources dot newsletter archives email us
Jizo Bodhisattva Print this Newsletter



This issue of In the Moment offers a look at Jizo Bodhisattva, one of the most beloved and revered Bodhisattvas in Mahayana Buddhism. Jizo is the embodiment of the Bodhisattva Vow, the aspiration to save all beings from suffering. He is the protector of women, children, and travelers in the six realms of existence. In India he is known as Ksitigarbha, in China as Dizang, in Korea as Jijang Bosal, and in Japan as Jizo Bosatsu.

The function of this great Bodhisattva is to guide travelers in both the physical and spiritual realms. In Japan, Red-bibbed Jizo statues in Nikko it is customary to place statues of Jizo at the intersections of roads and paths so the correct way will be chosen. Jizo is often depicted as a child-monk, or as a pilgrim carrying a staff with six jingling rings to announce his friendly approach. He is sometimes shown holding the "Dharma Jewel," the calming light which banishes all fear.

Jizo is special to pregnant women and to those whose children have died. Statues of Jizo can sometimes be seen wearing tiny children's clothing or bibs. Grieving parents place toys and other offerings beside the Jizo statue to invoke his protection of their dead child. Offerings are also made by parents to thank Jizo for saving their children from a serious illness.

Chanting the mantra of Jizo and other rituals associated with this Bodhisattva are widely practiced in Asia. Jizo is now becoming better known in American Buddhism, and many Buddhist practitioners find Jizo practice helpful for remembering the Bodhisattva vow which guides our lives, as well as for healing our minds and hearts in times of grief and loss.

We hope you enjoy this issue of In the Moment; and that it serves to inspire your meditation practice.

In lovingkindness,
The folks at DharmaCrafts

  In This Issue:  

Jizos for Peace by Claire Sykes

Claire Sykes is a freelance writer in Portland,Oregon. She covers visual arts and music, health and fitness, and general interest.

Masahito Hirose remembers it well: “a strong, white-blue flash… ships burning in the port… another sun appearing all of a sudden….” In his email to me from his home in Nagasaki, he describes the morning of August 9, 1945, at 11:02 a.m., when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city. On the same day, in Chicago, Jan Bays came into the world. Now co-abbot of the Jizo Mountain–Great Vow Zen Monastery in Clatskanie, Oregon, Jan Chozen Bays (Chozen is her dharma name) says, “I realized I was led to become a Buddhist in the Japanese tradition partly because of the many people who died in Japan the day I was born.” read more >>

This article first appeared in Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Fall 2005. Reprinted with permission.

up to top

Jizo in Japan by Jan Chozen Bays

Jan Chozen Bays is the co-abbot of the Jizo Mountain–Great Vow Zen Monastery in Clatskanie, Oregon.

In Japan, Jizo Bodhisattva is a beloved bodhisattva, omnipresent and accessible. The other bodhisattvas sometimes have a fierce aspect and are housed in dark niches on altars at a distance from the people in the temples. Peering through a wire screen or a wooden grate in the darkness of an old temple you can catch a gleam of gold or a glimpse of a graceful man or torso. In contrast, Jizo Bodhisattva resides in the open, among the people. His face is serene and gentle, with a hint of a smile. Even in city neighborhoods he can be found in small shrines every few blocks. The cities have grown up around him and the old altar houses that shelter him are sometimes notched into telephone poles or squeezed into a niche between modern buildings. read more >

Statue of Jizo in Osorezan, Japan. Photo by Jpatokal.
Statue of Jizo in Osorezan, Japan. Photo by Jpatokal.

From Jizo Bodhisattva: Guardian of Children, Travelers & Other Voyagers, by Jan Chozen Bays, © 2002. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications Inc., Boston, MA.

up to top

A Jizo Garden by Jan Chozen Bays

Jan Chozen Bays is the co-abbot of the Jizo Mountain–Great Vow Zen Monastery in Clatskanie, Oregon.

A little man of gray stone stands in the garden. His eyes are closed and his lips curve in a faint smile. A fern leaf arches over his head like an umbrella, holding a few drops of rain. Someone has made a small bonnet and cape of red cloth for him. A bit of paper peeks out of a pocket sewn on the cape. If you slip it out, you will find it is a message to a child, a dead child. You had a sweet soul. In your short life you knew pain and love. I miss you. read more >>

From Jizo Bodhisattva: Guardian of Children, Travelers & Other Voyagers, by Jan Chozen Bays, © 2002. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications Inc., Boston, MA.

up to top

Share Your Jizo Photos

From the moment we began offering small Jizo statues (#ST304 and #ST305) in the DharmaCrafts catalog, our Customer Service Reps have been listening to wonderful, touching stories about the various ways you personalize your Jizo statues and display them in your homes. In fact, we selected Jizo Bodhisattva as our newsletter topic in response to your calls.

We also receive many customer requests for a way to connect with each other, so here is a small challenge for all of our tried and true patrons and newsletter readers:

Send us your Jizo photos … and we’ll place them on our Web site.

Your Jizo need not be a statue purchased from our catalog. We would just enjoy seeing photos of your beloved, compassionate Jizo… whether he’s sporting a red cap or not.

We will provide a link to the Jizo Gallery in the next newsletter.

send us your Jizo photo>

up to top

This Moment @ DharmaCrafts

DharmaCrafts Summer Catalog in Your Mailbox Now!

DharmaCrafts Catalog Now Printed on Recycled Paper

Worthy Causes in DharmaCrafts' Community, Lawrence, MA

Online Auction to Benefit Inquiring Mind
most widely distributed donation-supported Buddhist journal in North America, for 23 years

Boston Area Customers — Events at Bodhi Tree Bookstore, retailers of DharmaCrafts buckwheat and kapok zafus

up to top

Learning @ DharmaCrafts

Related Products from DharmaCrafts
Peeking Jizo with Children

Japanese Wind Chimes

Ocean Moon Noren

Bamboo Shoe Rack

Related Articles from DharmaFriends
Learn more about Jizos for Peace

Great Vow Zen Monastery

See why Jizos are decorated in Asia

Photos of Jizos around the world

up to top

The Worst

Worst has hand-picked this link especially for the DharmaCrafts community. Check it out for a first-hand look at the intersection between Buddhism and pop- and sub-culture.

Download and listen to the dance version of the Heart Sutra by Gary 'Azukx' Dyson, a student of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche.

up to top

DharmaCrafts gratefully acknowledges the participation of our Dharma Friends who have contributed learning content to this issue of In The Moment:

- Shambhala Publications
- Tricycle: The Buddhist Review
- The Worst Horse

DharmaCrafts publishes In the Moment, our email newsletter, as a source for learning more about meditation and the teachings of Buddhism, and as a venue to interact with you, our DharmaCrafts community.

We love to hear from you. Email us at:

Comments about this newsletter? Email us at: Customer service questions? Email us at:
or call us at: (866) 339-4198, Monday - Friday, 9 am - 5 pm, EST.

To make sure you continue to receive our newsletters and emails, please add to your email Address Book.

Forward to a friend. If you received this email as a forward from a friend and would like to receive additional emails from us, click here to subscribe to our mailing.

Copyright © 2007 DharmaCrafts, Inc.