I have seen many places in Japan decorated with dozens or even hundreds of Jizo statues. As I wrote before, Jizo is one of the most loved deities in Japan, protector of children, expectant mothers, firemen and travelers.
Perhaps one of the best places to admire these Jizo statue is at the Hasedera Temple in Kamakura, where nearby the Jizo-do Hall there are hundreds of statues representing Jizo in many styles… an impressive view…
In the Buddhist iconography, Jizo is represented as a simple monk, with shaved head but with a third eye and elongated ears, which are attributes of enlightened beings. The most common representation is with Jizo standing with a child in his arms.
But the big statue from Hasedera represents Jizo as Bodhisattva, sitting on a lotus flower, symbolizing the release from the karmic wheel of rebirth. In his left hand there is a wish granting jewel and in his right hand there is a monk cane called shakujo, used by monks for prayers and as a weapon.
An interesting fact about this cane is that the sound made by the rings is intended to alert the small creatures (especially the insects), so that the monk will not hit them by mistake…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: