Jizo Throughout Southeast Asia: What’s In a Name?

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Jizo Throughout Southeast Asia: What’s In a Name?

Jizo Bodhisattva has so many names, often more than one in each country where he is revered.

Kyoto Jizo, 2006

In Sanskrit, his name is Ksitigarbha, (pronounced ksih-tee-GAHR-bah”). In Chinese he is often called Dìzàng, Dìzàng Wáng Púsà, Ti Tsang. In Japanese he is also Ojizo Bosatsu and Ojizo-sama, in Tibetan he is Sai Nyingpo, in Korean he is called Ji Jang.

The list goes on. For one Jizo workshop his name translated as “Earth Treasure Store Bodhisattva.”  I have heard his Sanskrit name translated as “Earth Womb” — rather like our Mother Earth.  The imagery holds true:  Jizo’s mission is to protect us, to remain on earth until all beings are finished suffering. I am still amazed that I ever found Jizo — first in Kyoto and then while hiking on Miyajima Island, off Hiroshima.

When I mention his name, most people have never heard of him and even after they know who he is, it seems he gets called Cheeso and other awkward terms.  I call him Jizo because I discovered him in Japan and because it is the easiest name to pronounce, thus make him accessible to more people.  Most folks don’t want to hear about something they can barely pronounce.

By | 2019-01-23T15:33:42+00:00 October 23rd, 2011|All, Buddhism|0 Comments

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