September 21, 2011

J is for Jizō in Japan

Everywhere we went in Kansai we found, by the sides of roads or in temple gardens, small groups of stone statues, sometimes in mixed sizes, often dressed in bibs/aprons of red or white.

Kansai, 2009

I learned that these are common depictions of one of the most loved Mahayana Buddhist divinities, a bodhisattva named Ksitigarbha, venerated in Japan as guardian of children and travelers.


Parents leave offerings of caps or bibs, flowers, and stones, with these statues called Jizō (or more respectfully, O-Jizō-san), often as pleas to reduce the suffering of their children alive or dead.


The Jizō are believed to be responsive to sincere prayers of faith, so maybe that explains these coins tossed for good fortune.


J is the letter at ABC Wednesday. Go check out the other creative offers this week... or better yet, join the fun!

27 comments:

Rajesh said...

Wonderful shots. Never heard of this before.

photowannabe said...

Fascinating.
I learn so much about our world from you and your travels.
This is a custom that's brand new to me. Wonderful photos explaining it to me.

Roger Owen Green said...

very informative; mostly new to me.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Leckeres für Mensch und Katze - Goodies for a pleasant life said...

Great shots :)

EG Wow said...

Fascinating and totally new to me!

Kay L. Davies said...

Guardians of children and travelers. Well, that certainly resonates with me, Francisca. I love the photos. The first one is spectacular, and the homey sweetness of the others makes me smile.
So wonderful.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Karen said...

What an interesting custom!

FrankandMary said...

I've long considered my meditations the best part of my day, so anything of a Buddhist nature interests me. ~Mary

joo said...

Fascinating post, Francisca! Japan is a dream (one of dreams, to be honest)!

Leslie: said...

Wow! I learn something new every day...what an interesting concept this is. Have a joyous week, Francisca.

Leslie
abcw team

Evelyn said...

Good info. I remember seeing them and wondering about the bibs.

Jo Bryant said...

great shots and to learn something new

Ms. Becky said...

love that first photo!!! it reminds me of a vintage post card, only better. happy day to you Francisca.

VioletSky said...

Seeing those stones dressed in aprons must have been very confusing! Such an interesting tradition.

Kim, USA said...

Interesting and informative post Francisca. Thanks!
ABC Wed

chubskulit said...

Just wonderful!

My take on J, please come and see.

Love your note on word verification, I too is against it.

Oakland Daily Photo said...

So interesting. A reminder of how much I don't know or even imagine to know. Always eager to learn something new.

Gattina said...

Very interesting, I didn't know all that !
Gattina
ABC Team

Shooting Parrots said...

This probably sounds condescending, but they do look quaint.

Dorian Susan said...

What an interesting tradition....I'm glad you asked about and shared. That first shot has such a wonderful POV.

Nanka said...

Bears striking resemblance to Hindu customs in Hindu temples!! Very interesting read from afar!!

My J Post - Just Because...

Kaori said...

Beautiful photos of the Ojizo-san! I especially love the first one with the fall leaves surrounding it. I think it's nice that the community takes care of these Jizo by changing the water and washing the bibs from time to time :-)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Children and TRAVELERS huh? We should leave an offering. Everything is so beautiful and well cared for-- you can tell how much this Divinity is honored.

☆☆Mumsy said...

Fascinating information, and I learn something new this morning.

Your photos are always wonderful to see.

Kathy Bischoping said...

Thank you, this post was very interesting!

TheChieftess said...

Interesting!!!

Dina said...

I have never ever seen this custom. Thank you for showing us!