Jijang – Jizo, the Earth-womb Bodhisattva

One of the popular Bodhisattvas in Korea and Japan is Jijang, or Jizo (Ksitigarbha, in Sanskrit.) Often he is portrayed as the Bodhisattva who saves beings in hell, or who helps extend short lives. In Japan, he’s often thought of as the Bodhisattva who looks after children or fetuses who’ve passed away.

But there’s an interesting thing about his name that I’ve only recently noticed:  The first character, “ji”(地), means earth, and the second, “jang”(藏) means to conceal. While this is often translated as “Earth-womb,” “Earth-store,” or “Earth-treasury,” this can also be read as “concealed by earth”.  Sound familiar?  (“Only covered by dirt” is a common reference to the inherent, enlightened essence that we are each endowed with.)

That which is only “concealed by earth” can save us from hell, can bring the lives that make up our body into harmony, and can help even those who have passed away.

Jijang Bosal
Jijang Bosal
Jijang Bosal

5 thoughts on “Jijang – Jizo, the Earth-womb Bodhisattva”

  1. Really interesting!
    Fina loves JiJang, she’s always touching the statue of him in my little meditation corner.
    Just a couple of hours ago, I was telling her, “Next Saturday is Children’s Day, then the next is Fina’s Birthday, then the next is papa’s birthday, then the next week is Buddha’s birthday.”
    “Next is JiJang’s birthday?” she asked.

  2. My favorite Bosal.

    A Bosal devoted to saving me and my fellow hell-beings.

    I never knew that about his name. Very sweet.

    Thanks very much Sunim.

    – roy.

  3. people often say things like “who saves beings in hell”, “the saviour”, etc, they speak about saving yet beings are suffering. It seems to me until your own mind can connect to what’s inherently yours, nobody can save you, so I don’t chant anymore, because it takes my attention to outside direction,

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