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Words-and-Pictures: Six Jizo

Note: This selection of Words-and-Pictures was made on September 13, 2001, as I walked on the Old Tokaido.

These statues are found at Togakuin, located between Oiso and Odawara in Kanagawa Prefecture. These are Stations #8 & 9 respectively (from Tokyo) on the Old Tokaido Highway. You can read about my (disappointing) visit to Togakuin in my Logbook.

A view of Togakuin itself can be seen here.

I first mentioned the Six Jizos or Rokujizo back on the Words-and-Pictures page for Honsenji. As I said there, in one form of Buddhist cosmology there are six "worlds" or levels of being: the worlds of hell, hungry ghosts, beasts, demons, human beings, and heavenly beings. There is said to be one Jizo to represent the beings in each world. Jizo saves. Children and travelers especially come under his protection.

Jizo-sama is extremely popular, being found not just on temple grounds, but by roadsides, in fields, and in art and stories. (You can read a summary of one of my favorites, "Kasajizo," on this Wikipedia page. And here's a video telling of the story; press "CC" if you can't see the English subtitles.)

I came to love O-Jizo-sama so much that when I returned to America, I enshrined a statue in my family's garden. Read the whole story here. [2019: That statue is now in a bamboo garden at my home in the Philippines!]

Posted September 26, 2019

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