Jizo (2011)

A statue of Jizo at the Koyasan Buddhist Temple in the Little Tokyo National Historic Landmark District of Downtown Los Angeles.

Jizo is dressed in a bright red bib, an honor typically bestowed by the mothers of deceased children to invoke his protection of the children’s spirits.

This statue exemplifies the iconography associated with Jizo. The monastic attire, long ears, halo, “jingle staff” with six rings representing the six “desire realms” of Buddhist cosmology, and Cintamani (a wish-fulfilling jewel) indicate a Bodhisattva, a Buddha who foresakes Nirvana to help others attain Awakening. The soft, juvenile face and the little children gathered around him are specific to Jizo, the Bodhisattva who protects children, pregnant women, and travelers.

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