Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Japanese Statues and Sculpture - Jizō Bosatsu

Of course this is a topic that would require a book many hundreds of pages long to cover. I can, at least, offer a few pictures.

Some of the pictures that I took on Mt. Takao were of Jizō Bosatsu. From the linked article;
One of the most beloved of all Japanese divinities, Jizō works to ease the suffering and shorten the sentence of those serving time in hell, to deliver the faithful into Amida’s western paradise (where inhabitants are no longer trapped in the six states of desire and karmic rebirth), and to answer the prayers of the living for health, success, children, and all manner of petitions. In modern Japan, Jizō is a savior par excellence, a friend to all, never frightening even to children, and his/her many manifestations -- often cute and cartoon-like in contemporary times -- incorporate Taoist, Buddhist, and Shintō elements.

Jizō is a Bodhisattva (Jp. Bosatsu), one who achieves enlightenment but postpones Buddhahood until all can be saved. Jizō is often translated as Womb of the Earth, for JI 地 means earth, while ZŌ 蔵 means womb. But ZŌ can also be translated with equal correctness as “store house” or “repository of treasure” -- thus Jizō is often translated as Earth Store or Earth Treasury. Jizō embodies supreme spiritual optimism, compassion, and universal salvation, all hallmarks of Mahayana Buddhism.

This one is at the bottom of Mt. Takao at the entrance to the Mountain.

This one is at the summit of the Mountain.

A closer view.

Be sure to read the links from the list of the various forms of Jizō. It is very interesting. There is a lot of history here.

Jizō are a great source of comfort for people, especially parents who have lost their children, or had sick children healed.


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