Photo Hunt: Free week

First time I participate in . Theme this week - any pic goes...

©M.P - Jizo statues in Kamakura, Japan.

Jizo is the bodhisattva who plunges fearlessly into any place or situation to help those in need. (Bodhisattva is one who devotes his or her life to freeing others from suffering. Bodhisattvas are not worshipped, but are an inspiration to awaken to the qualities of an enlightened being that are inherent in everyone.) Jizo specializes in helping women, children, and those who travel, on both physical and spiritual paths. Jizo embodies the qualities of benevolence, determination, and unflagging optimism. In modern Japan, Jizo is popularly known as the guardian of unborn, aborted, miscarried, and stillborn babies (Mizuko Jizo). These roles were not assigned to Jizo in earlier Buddhist traditions from mainland Asia; they are instead modern adaptations unique to Japan. Jizo serves his customary and traditional roles as patron saint of expectant mothers, children, firemen, travelers and pilgrims. Many 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 child. A 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.

At Hase Dera Temple in Kamakura Jizo plays the role of guardian for stillborn, miscarried, or aborted children. Hundreds of little Jizo statues can be found at this temple. According to legend children who died prematurely were sent to the underworld as punishment for causing great sorrow to their parents. They were sent to Sai no Kawara, the river of souls in purgatory, where they prayed for Buddha's compassion by building small stone towers, piling stone upon stone. But underworld demons soon arrived and scattered their stones and beat them with iron clubs. But Jizo came to the rescue. In one version of the story, Jizo hid the children in the sleeves of his robe.

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Postat av: jams o donnell

Great shot and thanks for sharing! Welcome to the Hunt. It's a lot of fun choosing photos for each week's theme

Postat av: Sandy

Very interesting picture

2008-05-11 @ 22:05:10
Postat av: Margy Lutz

Thanks for combining you photo with such a great explanation. That is one thing I love about this site - I get to meet people from around the world and learn new things. I chose a rainbow photo for my entry. Come see. - Margy

2008-05-11 @ 22:54:14
Postat av: CY

Welcome to Photo hunt and great shot! Now I have another friend in Japan to share our photos with.

2008-05-13 @ 02:42:02
Postat av: tnchick-

Thanks for PhotoHunting! That's a pretty neat photo, interesting!

2008-05-14 @ 23:08:07

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