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IJWCA's   Web Bulletin Vol. 11   (1st Issue 26th October, 2005) Uploaded in August, 2017
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JIJO BOSATSU

By: Dr. Purabi Gangopadhyay

 

In the Mahayana Buddhism one of the four principal Bodhisattvas is Ksitigarbha. The other three Bodhisattvas are Samantabhadra, Manjusri and Avalokiteswara. The name Ksitigarbha is explained in various ways, e.g. gEarth Treasuryh, gEarth Wombh & etc. Ksitigarbha is known for his responsibility for giving instruction to all beings in the earth between the death of Gautama Buddha (the historical Buddha) and the rise of Maitreya Buddha (the future Buddha). He has also taken the vow of not accepting the Buddhahood until all hells are vacant.

In Japan Ksitigarbha is often regarded as the Bodhisattva of hell and as well as the guardian of the children and deity of deceased children and aborted fetus and known as Jizoo or Ojizoo-sama. As Jizoo or Ojizoo-sama, he is depicted or delineated as a monk with a halo around shaved head. He often carries staff for opening the gates of hell forcefully, also carrying a wish fulfilling jewel.

In Japanese mythology, it is said that the souls of children, who died before their parents cannot cross the mythical river Sanzu and proceed to their path of afterlife because they did not have the enough time and chance to gather any good deeds and also because they have made their parents suffer. It is said that  Jizoo saves these souls and protect them from the demons.

The images of Jizoo sometimes are seen wearing tiny childrenfs clothing or with toys put there by grieving parents to help their lost ones and hoping that Jizoo would specially protect them. Sometimes the parents also offer thanks to Ojizoo-sama for saving their children from serious illness. The common features of the statue of Jizoo or Ojizoo-sama are the baby-like appearance of the face.

Moreover, Doosojin or Jizoo-sama as the protector of travelers is kept on the road-side.

Pictures of Ojizoo-sama

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRPhY6CyPK8bphD0jESL3RgI4mTYsRmIINm0r_apRO1mjZDhGoMafF0lUK_    Doosojin                                                 Ojizoo-sama

Reference: 1) Japanese Mythology By Juliet Piggott, published by The Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd. London, 1969.

2)   Ph.D. Thesis of the present contributor entitled-gBuddhist Iconography-A Comparative Study in

                    India and Outside India (Awarded from University of Calcutta in 1989)


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