Urban Dharma Newsletter... October 29, 2002
2. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva
3. Jizo Bodhisattva ...Guardian of...
4. Jizo in Japanese culture
5. Yanaka Baby
6. Jizo and The Old Man ...Tadami Town
7. Book Review: Jizo Bodhisattva: Modern
Healing and Traditional Buddhist Practice...
8. Temple/Center of the Week: San Jose
Buddhist Church Betsuin
Japanese name for the Mahayana Buddhist bodhisattva ('Buddha-to-be'),
Kshitigarbha, known as Dìzàng in China
among the eight great bodhisattvas, Jizo is believed to be concerned
with the welfare of children, travellers, and lost souls, and
to be the guardian of highways and of mountain passes. He is
sometimes shown in a series of six images.
literally means "Womb of the Earth " or "the
one who encompasses the earth". According to the "Ten
Wheel of Earth Womb Sutra", the name represents this Bodhisattva's
personality which include patience, stillness, hardness and
vastness (like earth), deepness and profundity (like womb).
The implication is that our mind creates all Dharma and accommodates
all matters just like the earth womb. It is the foundation on
which everything grows, including the immeasurable treasures
- the Buddhist Way. Ksitigarbha is the bodhisattva who saves
suffering beings in the Hell, therefore, is often referred to
as the Bodhisattva of the Hell beings because of his vow to
not achieve Buddhahood until "all the Hells are empty".
This vow actually encompasses all sentient beings.
is the only Bodhisattva portrayed as a monk. He has a monk's
pilgrim's staff with six rings, which signifies that Ksitigarbha
stands by all beings in the six paths of existence. According
to the "Earth Womb Sutra", Ksitigarbha was appointed
by Shakyamuni to be the headmaster of Buddhism on Earth during
the period from the Nirvana of Shakyamuni to the advent of Maitreya,
the next Buddha born on Earth. As the master of the six paths
(Hell, Ghost, Animal, Man, Asura and Deva) he is described as
savior for all beings from suffering. With this responsibility,
his status is well-respected by all Buddhas and other beings
in the Ten Dharma Realms including human beings. Because Ksitigarbha
is connected to deliver sentient beings wandering astray in
the Hell, this expresses an extremely profound and esoteric
aspect of the Bodhisattva's compassionate activity. This deepest
compassion is working from the highest to the lowest. He is
thus the supreme embodiment of spiritual optimism, the most
profound development of Mahayana universalism.
one thousand years ago, a Korean Buddhist monk named Gin-Chau-Jue
went to Jo-Hwa Mountain in China for Dharma practice around
in mid-Tong Dynasty. Regional followers believed Gin is the
emanation of Ksitigarbha therefore, after he passed away, start
building temples to worship him. Since then Jo-Hwa Mountain
becomes the sacred site of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva.
China, Ksitigarbha is known as Di-Tsang, in Japan as Jizo. Ksitigarbha
is especially popular in Japan as the savior of the souls of
dead children, particularly aborted ones. He is more popular
in the Far East than he ever was in India and Tibet.
JIZO BODHISATTVA ...Guardian of Deceased Children, Expectant
Mothers, Firemen, Travelers, and Pilgrims.
of the most beloved of all Japanese divinities, Jizo works to
ease the suffering and shorten the sentence of those serving
time in hell. He is the guardian of unborn children in particular,
as well as expectant mothers, firemen, travelers, and pilgrams.
of India origin, he is revered more widely in Japan, Korea,
and China than in either India or Tibet, and appears to have
entered Japan around the sixth or seventh century AD along with
Buddhism's introduction to Japan. Kshitigarbha (Jizo) was worshipped
in China as early as the fifth century A.D., but is mentioned
much earlier in the Mahavaipulya Sutras of India (in which he
appears to the historical Buddha at the time of the Buddha's
death). Like the Goddess of Mercy, Jizo is a bodhisattva (one
who achieves enlightment but postpones Buddhahood, or the rest
of Nirvana, until all can be saved.
Hase Dera Temple in Kamakura, where most of these photos were
taken, Jizo plays the role of guardian for stillborn, miscarried,
or aborted children. Hundreds of little Jizo statues can be
found at this temple.
to tradition, children who die prematurely are sent to the underworld
as punishment for causing great sorrow to their parents (their
death caused grief to their folks). They are sent to Sai
no Kawara, the dry bed of the river of souls in purgatory,
where they pray for Buddha's compassion by building small stone
towers, piling stone upon stone. But an underworld demon soon
arrives and scatters their stones and beats them with an iron
no need to worry, for Jizo comes to the rescue to help the children.
Because of this traditional story, children who die prematurely
in Japan are called "mizuko children," or water children,
and the saddened parents pray to "Mizuko Jizo."
today, you will invariably find little heaps of stones around
Jizo statues, as many believe that a stone offered in faith
will shorten the time their child suffers in the underworld.
will also notice that Jizo statues are often wearing tiny garments.
Since Jizo is the guardian of dead children, sorrowing mothers
bring the little garments of their lost ones and dress the Jizo
statue in hopes the kindly god will specially protect their
little hat or bib is often seen as well, the gift of a rejoicing
parent whose child has been cured of dangerous sickness thanks
to Jizo's intervention.
also has many devotees among firemen. The story is that Jizo
descends into the infernal regions to witness the punishments
and tortures of condemned souls. He was so affected by their
agony that he, for a time, took the place of their relentless
custodian, and greatly reduced the intense heat of the purgatorial
fires to ease their pain. Hence his following among firemen.
This Jizo is known as the Black Jizo (the "Kuro" or
"Hitaki" Jizo). See photo near bottom of page for
a graphic depiction of Jizo decending into the underworld.
Jizo (Groupings of Six Jizo)
Japan, legend also says that there are six paths to hell, and
Jizo groupings of six are quite common, one each to protect
people from taking the wrong path. Jizo also carries a staff
with six rings, which he shakes to awaken us from our delusions.
But more accurately, the six forms of Jizo reflect the Six Paths
of Transmigration (hell, hungry ghosts, beasts, demons, human
beings, and heavenly beings). I'm not sure, but this grouping
of six if also probably closely related to the symbolic six
worlds shown in the traditional Wheel of Life.
Jizo in Japanese culture
you know? Jizo Stone statues of Jizo (Ksitigarbha) are seen
all over the country. some are housed in beautiful temples,
some in little huts, and others are found standing by the country
roadsides. They are one of the most popular kinds of statues
that has become so characteristic of country life.
was originally Bosatsu (Bodhisattva) of Buddhism who stood between
the world of reality and the world of the dead and saved those
who were on their way to the netherworld. Jizo was entrusted
with the task of saving the people after the death of Buddha
until such a time when the second Buddha would appear. so in
Buddhism he had an important position, and coming to Japan he
has been popularized, and has become the protector of the people.
is thought to be a mild, gentle and kind Bosatsu - Jizo-gao
(Jizo-face) means a gentle, smiling face.
Jizo-bosatsu helps relieve people who are suffering from distress.
is a roadside icon usually placed at a street corner or at the
foot of a bridge to protect pedestrians.
one loses some valuables, wishes to know the meaning of a dream
he had the night before, desires to locate a missing person,
or wants to find a remedy for his illness, it is customary in
some districts to consult Jizo. Jizo is believed
to be able to give answers to all such questions.
because fires are quite frequent in the countly, there are many
Jizo which are believed to have power to extinguish fire.
These Jizo are worshipped in various districts by those
rural people who believe that this god will save them at the
time of fire.
many different places throughout the country, there are Jizo
statues called Migawari-Jizo or Jizowho take the
place of people. It is commonly believed if a man worships Jizo,
Jizo will take his place when he is in some great difficulty,
or in danger of losing his life. There are numerous stories
telling how Jizo statues were killed or attacked in place
of their worshippers. Jizo statues having such traditional
tales have many worshippers because the people believe that
such Jizo would save them in emergencies.
Japan there are quite a number of Jizo statues which
are called Tauye-Jizo or rice planting Jizo, which
are worshipped by farmers in the hope it will aid their rice-planting.
There are many traditional tales telling of Jizo giving
aid to farmers in the rice-planting season.
names of Buddhist temples (tera or o-tera) usually
end in the suffixes "-ji" or "-in"
(To-ji, Jako-in), but occasionally "-dera"(Oka-dera).
Shinto shrines (jinja) end in "-jinja"(Yasaka
Jinja), or for larger shrines "-jingu" or just
"-gu" (Meiji Jingu, Kitano Tenman-gu), and
occasionally "-taisha" (Sumiyoshi Taisha).
The word miya is the same character as -gu (large
shrine) and is commonly used in place names, but is pronounced
gu in the names of actual shrines.
have mentioned Jizo shrines, which are in fact not buildings,
nor are they Shinto. They are little stone monuments, usually
about the size and shape of a rounded stone mile-post, with
the face of the Buddhist deity Jizo (jee-zo) carved into them.
If you don't see lots of them, you're not getting away from
of the stone Jizos are very old and look it, with all detail
worn away from the rounded stone. People on religious pilgrimages
-- or just on their way to a shrine -- will stop to say a prayer
and leave a little offering (a coin, candle, fruit, or flower)
at every little Jizo they pass. Jizos are often clothed in red
bibs, often dozens and dozens of them, which are also commonly
left as offerings. In Japanese Buddhism, Jizo is regarded as
a savior of children and protector of travelers. Roadside statues
of Jizo are found throughout Japan.
story I found about a particular Jizo is given below:
I got back from our three-day school trip, I re-read "Angry
Jizo." It is a story about the atomic bomb in Hiroshima.
brilliant flash painted the town white. It was as if the sun
had fallen before his very eyes. People wearing scorched and
tattered shirts fled past the fallen Jizo, dragging their feet
on the ground. When the fires finally died down, the city of
Hiroshima had become a vast field of burnt-out ruins, without
houses or schools or office buildings or trees or flowers. A
badly burned little girl collapsed face down in front of the
stone Jizo. Her entire back was bright red, as if draped with
a blanket of red peonies. "Mo-m-my, water. I want some
water," the girl said, looking at the stone Jizo. "Some
water, please, water."
this, the stone Jizo had been known as "Smiling Jizo,"
but at this point, tears fell from his angry eyes. Mr. Uchida
and all the other survivors shed tears just like this stone
Jizo. For the sake of all those who died, they have joined the
movement to ban the bomb and they call for the abolition of
all nuclear weapons. It's something they feel they just have
a Tokyo back street a few blocks from my house is a small human
figure carved on a stone. It is a jizo, a god imported
from India, via China and mixed with the local gods along the
way. It is believed to protect travelers and children.
are fresh flowers in front of it every day. Behind it
is a pomegranate tree and a red coke-a-cola machine.
are still many street jizos in this part of town. This
one has writing on it ? a date and a name, "Plum Blossom."
It is her name. The death name of a child that died in
the early spring. Plum blossom only fits in the early
spring. The date says she died in the Edo Era, about the
time Fuji last erupted.
one here knows that girl, or any of the family that came after
her. But they still keep fresh flowers in front of the
stone. They keep it clean. They keep it in place.
JIZO AND THE OLD MAN ...Tadami
upon a time there lived an old man and an old woman. The new
year was just around the corner, so the old woman, with flaxen
textiles she had woven by hand with heart and soul, said to
the old man, "The new year is coming closer. We'd better
sell these textiles in Tadami and prepare for the new year.
Would you go to Tadami to sell them?"
right," said the old man, and totteringly set out for Tadami
in the rain, wearing a straw rain coat and a bamboo hat. In
his hands were the textiles the old woman had woven.
front of a shrine on the way to Tadami he found Roku-Jizo, or
the six guardian deities of children, soaked with sleet. The
deities appeared to be shivering in the freezing cold. The old
man thought to himself, "I feel cold even wearing a straw
rain coat and a bamboo hat. The Jizo-sama must be very cold.
Oh, poor Jizo-sama...."
have a good idea! I will tear up the textiles my wife wove and
cover the poor Jizo-sama with the strips."
the old man, getting the textiles down from his back, started
ripping them into strips and using them to cover the Jizo. When
he was finished he said to himself, "Jizo-sama must be
somehow warmer now. I'm really glad. Since I have given them
all the cloth my wife wove, I can no longer buy anything for
the new year. Still, we can greet the new year with the buckwheat
porridge or rice gruel we already have at home. I will talk
about it to her when I get home."
the old man headed unsteadily for home. At home he talked about
the guardian deities to the old woman, who was equally happy.
that is wonderful. Jizo-sama must be really happy now. I am
really pleased," said the old woman.
having dinner, the old man and woman went to bed. When they
awoke after a while, they could faintly hear someone in the
distance saying, "Where is the old man's house? Where is
the old woman's house? Let's pull the loads with 'yo-ho!' They
aren't so heavy. Yo-ho!"
that? They say 'the old man's house' and 'the old woman's house.'
I cannot think of any house around here except for ours. That's
rather strange," the old man said to his wife.
is the old man's house? Where is the old woman's house? Let's
pull the loads with 'yo-ho.' They aren't so heavy. Yo-ho!"
The voice came closer and closer. And in front of the old man's
house, the Jizo stopped and said, "Here it is. This is
the old man's house. Here it is. I'm so happy we found it."
old man and woman are asleep. Open the door and drop the loads
inside the house."
put down the loads with a thud in a corner of the house. "Very
good. The old man will be delighted. Very good. Let's go back,"
Jizo left, the surprised old man and woman woke up to find out
what had happened. They found, among many gifts, glorious articles
for the new year--you could probably find such splendid things
only in a castle--and red clothes for the children living in
the vicinity of the old couple's abode.
tore up the textiles and covered Jizo-sama with them. Jizo-sama,
who felt very warm in the shredded textiles, must have left
these as a present for us," said the old man. The old man
and woman blubbered for joy.
everyone was preparing for the new year, the old man and woman
distributed the red clothes and new year food among their neighbors,
and they lived happily ever after.
Jizo Bodhisattva: Modern Healing and Traditional Buddhist Practice
...by Jan Chozen Bays, Ven. Heng Sure
Reviewer: Noah Soule from Pai, Northern Thailand... Jan
Chozen Bays Roshi's new book Jizo Bodhisattva, Modern Healing
& Traditional Buddhist Practice shows many sides to the
complex character of this modern western Zen Teacher. This Book
will also aquaint many western readers with Jizo Bohdisattva,
the Japanese interpretation of Quan Yin (the chinese goddess
of good fortune.) This book contains a wonderful blend of interesting
scholarly work, heart opening personal experience and inspiration
from some of the grittier aspects of zen practice. Far from
being a remote monastic, Chozen Roshi has "taken the mountain
to the market place," and as this book clearly demonstrates,
all those who have been touched by her practice have benefited.
From her compassionate listening to the victims of sexual abuse,
to her one on one training interviews with her students, Chozen
Roshi's inspiration truly makes her a living bodhisattva.
the same qualities that mystics throughout the ages have taught,
these stories of Jizo demonstrate the value of selflessness,
compassionate action and fearlessness. Jizo Bodhisattva is the
showing of the way, the support we need to do it ourselves,
the compassionate voice in our heart and in the heart of all
things. Truly mystics will recognize the immortal spirit of
wisdom incarnate in Jizo Bodhisattva and scholars will welcome
Chozen Roshi's addition to the field of Buddhist studies.
Reviewer: Michael from Portland OR... I could go on and
on about this book, but what I really want to say is that this
is a perfect book for our troubled times. I hope many people
read it, learn from it, and practice with it.
San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin
North 5th Street, San Jose, CA 95112
- Friday 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
** 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
in 1902, San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin (SJBCB) is a Temple
of the Jodo Shinshu Nishi Hongwanji tradition of Buddhism.
is a member of the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) and part
of the Coast Distrct.
are located in the Japantown area of downtown San Jose. Our
primary focus is on following the path to enlightenment by preserving
faith the Three Treasures: Dharma (the teachings), Sangha (the
people), Buddha (the Enlightened One)
following service schedule applies during the regular school
year - early September through mid-June.
AM - 10:00 AM
service is oriented toward the childresn and their parents.
Incense offering, chanting, singing, and a brief sermon (Dharma
talk) are part of the service. The children are then dismissed
to Dharma School.
AM - 11:00 AM
more in depth Dharma talk distinguishes this services which
is meant for any and all interested people.
PM - 2:30 PM
to the Adult Service, the entire service is conducted in Japanese.
Open to everyone.
The following schedule applies during the Summer months - mid-June
until early September.
AM - 11:00 AM
the summer, the Dharma School, Adult, and Japanese Language
Services are suspended, and a single Sunday Family Service takes
their place. Similar in basic format to the Adult Service, the
Sunday Family Service begins as typical services, but separate
English and Japanese language discussions are held during the
service. All who wish to come meet first in the Hondo (main
Temple), and the Ministers will provide directions.
OF THE SAN JOSE BUDDHIST CHURCH BETSUIN
movement to start a Buddhist group in San Jose was Initiated
under the leadership of \ Kuwada, Kumakichi Nakamura,' Fukuichi
Okida, and others around 1900. It started as a Howakai or religious
meetings held at various Buddhist homes on a rotation basis.
On August 28, 1902, the first Jodo Shinshu Buddhist organization
called the San Jose Hongwanji Buddhist Church was recognized
as a branch of the San Francisco Buddhist Church with ministers
traveling from San Francisco to conduct monthly services and
meetings. These meetings were held at Various homes as a Temple
of their own did not exist at that time.
Honen Takahashi came from Japan In 1906 to become the first
resident minister In San Jose. History gives his service years
as 1906 to 1908, but that Is Incorrect. He was in San Jose until
at least July 2, 1915, because he was named as one of the defendants
In a Superior Court lawsuit for not paying for lumber purchased
to build the Independent Buddhist Mission of San Jose in 1913.
Others named in this lawsuit were Iwakichl Kuwada, K. Taketa,
and T. Fukul. [Summons #22368 dated July 2, 1915, In Archives
December 11, 1906, a Mr. J. Maruyama paid Attorney B. Grant
Taylor to examine title to the middle 1/3 of Lot 194, Block
19, of White's addition to the City of San Jose and paid the
County Recorder $1.00 for the release of Mortgage, Montgomery
and Rea to Brickenridge and $1.00 for a Deed, Brickenridge to
Maruyama This property was recorded as 630 North Fifth Street,
where our current Annex building stands today, and where the
Independent Buddhist Mission of San Jose stood, built In 1913.
[Documents In Archive file.) This property was the home of Mrs.
G. Brickenridge who, with her husband David BrIckenridge, purchased
said property on February 28, 1888. T. S. Montgomery and James
W. Rea were the mortgage holders of this property. The first
church at this address was known as the San Jose Hongwanji Buddhist
history tells us that Reverend Gyoow Sasaki, second resident
minister, arrived In San Jose In 1907 to assist Reverend Honen
Takahashi. This Hongwanji Church experienced some turbulent
days In 1906, and a falling out between the two ministers occurred.
To this day, the reason for this division Is not clearly known.
Reverend Honen Takahashi and some of the members seceded from
the Hongwanji and formed their own Independent Buddhist Mission
at 630 North Fifth Street. Where Reverend Sasaki held his Hongwanji
services Is unclear. It had to be a Howakai held at various
members' homes on a rotation basis.
on June 26, 1909, the Maruyama's held property at 630 North
Fifth Street was sold to the State for delinquent taxes. On
December 5, 1910, J. Maruyama bought back the property by paying
back taxes of $37.75. This property was valued at $515.00 at
the time. [Document In Archives file.]
523 North Sixth Street property's legal description was *1 1/3
part of Lot 188 In Block 18 of White's addition to the City
of San Jose." There was a home on this property. Michael
Madden and his wife Jane E. Madden sold this property to Walter
Trinkler on June 25, 1907, selling price unknown. On November
8, 1907, Walter Trinkler, for Love and Affection, gave this
property to his wife, Antonia M. Trinkler.
August 30, 1911 [original Deed of Trust dated August 31, 1911,
on file in Archives.), Reverend Gyoow Sasaki, a single man,
purchased 523 North Sixth Street from Antonia M. and Walter
Trinkler for $200.00 with a down payment of $10.00 American
gold coin. Deed of Trust held by the Trinklers with "a
promissory note of even date herewith, for the sum of Two Hundred
(200) dollars, in sixty days, with Interest at the rate and
times therein specified; also the payment of such additional
sums not exceeding in the aggregate sum of $500.00."
Gyoow Sasaki already had a loan lined up from The Yokohama Specie
Bank, Limited, in San Francisco on July 22, 1911, at 7% interest
before he purchased the North Sixth Street property. On September
8, 1911, Reverend Sasaki went to City Hall and obtained a building
permit from G. W. Darling, Building Inspector, for "remodeling
523 North Sixth Street for Mission for himself." He paid
a fee of $4.00. [Receipt #83 dated 9?8?11 In Archives file.]
On December 31, 1911, Reverend Sasaki obtained another loan
for $500.00 from the Yokohama Specie Bank of San Francisco.
The funds from these loans must have been used for the remodeling
or the building of a new Church on this property. Both these
loans were paid off on February 23, 1912. [Receipts In our Archives
than what I've already mentioned here, there Is nothing in our
Archives pertaining to the construction of a church at 523 North
Sixth Street. We know from our pictorial collections that a
beautiful Japanese styled church was built here by Shinzaburo
Nishiura and his brother G. Nishiura, as well as the 630 North
Fifth Street Independent Buddhist Mission in 1913, and our current
Hondo at 640 North Fifth Street In 1936 ? 1937.
February 17, 1912, Reverend Sasaki obtained a loan from a Mr.
Jerome Bailey for $1,000.00. [Receipt In Archives file.] The
Trinklers were paid off In full by this time, so the Reverend
used the property as collateral for this loan. He paid a quarterly
Interest of $17.50 until he paid off this loan in full on May
17, 1915. It is my strong feeling that this fund was also used
In the construction of the Church.
April 16, 1912, Reverend G. Sasaki, Y. Salto, and K. Dobashl
loan from the Nippon Bank of Sacramento, California, at the
rate of 1.5% per month, said Interest to be paid monthly. It
was due on September 15, 1912, and was paid off In full. [Receipt
In Archives file.]
Sasaki insured this frame building with Aetna Insurance Company
of Hartford, Connecticut, on April 9, \1913, for $1,000.00,
loss payable to Jerome Bailey, for a $9.00 premium. The next
day he Insured the contents for $500.00 coverage, for an additional
premium of $4.50. Reverend Sasaki's Buddhist Mission of San
Jose filed Incorporation papers on July 15, 1913. No street
address other than San Jose, California, was listed on the Incorporation
papers. Signers were G. Sasaki, President; S. Jio, First Vice
President; T. Nakamoto, Second Vice President, J. B. Fukui,
Secretary; K. Dobashl, Treasurer; K. Z. Hayashi and N. Ishikawa,
Directors. [Legal document In Archive files.]
the Independent Mission group filed for their incorporation
papers fifteen days later on July 30, 1913, no street address
was used on their papers. This made things very confusing for
the next generation In 1936, as you will learn later.
have in our Archives a permit obtained from the City of San
Jose to construct a new church on North Fifth Street In 1913.
This was the familiar two?story church with a bell tower and
a stairway leading up to the second floor chapel from the front
side of the building. Our early history dates this church as
erected in 1908, but that Is Incorrect. The previous building
standing here was sold for $40.00, either dismantled and moved,
or demolished. [Receipt in Archives file.] After the fire of
1925, the bell tower was removed, and the new stairway to the
Chapel went straight up from the sidewalk.
coming to San Jose, Reverend Sasaki took a bride, also from
Japan. On July 24, 1913, Reverend Sasaki and his wife, Yuki
Sasaki, relinquished their legal rights to 523 North Sixth Street
to the Buddhist Mission of San Jose, Inc. The consideration
was $10.00 American gold coin. Mrs. Yukl Sasaki could not sign
her name on the Deed of Trust, so she signed It with an "X,"
witnessed by Will M. Beggs, attorney, and Fred Beck. Will M.
Beggs was the attorney who drew up the Articles of Incorporation
for the Mission. This title transfer was done in anticipation
of Reverend and Mrs. Sasaki leaving San Jose. They left In 1915
and whether they returned to Japan or transferred to another
Temple stateside Is unknown.
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