Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva vowed
that as long as there was still one suffering soul in hell, he would
not attain buddhahood. Since there are always many souls in hell,
Ksitigarbha has a lot of work to do! However, because of his great
compassion, the bodhisattva still vowed to save them all. He does
not want to see people being punished in hell and then committing
still more crimes in their next lives. In addition to suffering
souls in hell, the bodhisattva also helps living beings in other
realms: humans, celestial beings, asuras, hungry ghosts, and animals
and insects. He hopes that by teaching all these creatures, he will
be able to stop them from committing more crimes, and thus help them
to end their constant suffering.
Om Pra Ma Ni Da Ni So Ha
Ksitigabha Bodhisattva Tibetan Mantra
for Eradicating Fixed Karma.
Click on the above link to
listen to the mantra
of Ksitigabha Bodhisattva
The standing posture of Ksitigarbha
Bodhisattva is particularly popular in Japan where he is known as Jizo Bosatsu.
It represents the readiness of Jizo to respond immediately to the calls of help
made by those who have faith in his saving powers. He is usually
portrayed holding a lotus flower in his left hand and forming a
gesture of courage with his right hand. Other well-known images show
his left hand holding a precious jewel while the right hand either
forms a gesture of granting wishes or holds a Buddhist staff. In
these cases, the jewel symbolizes the treasure of another world. He
is ever ready to force open the gates of Hell with the staff and to
dispel the darkness of the infernal realm with his luminous gem. In
addition, another popular depiction of him is in this standing with
his left hand holding an alms bowl against his navel, while his
right hand forms the mudra (hand-sign) of "giving consolation and
peace to all living beings".
Four main P'usas or Bodhisattvas
are depicted in the Chinese Buddhist Pantheon and they represent
four basic great qualities:
KUAN SHIH YIN
PU HS EN
Love and Perfect Activity
||- Great Vow
to help and to deliver all beings
Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is one of the four principal bodhisattvas in
Oriental Mahayana Buddhism. The others are Samantabhadra
Bodhisattva, Manjusri Bodhisattva, and Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva.
He is also known as Earth Store Bodhisattva or Ti Tsang Bodhisattva
in China, Ksitigarbha in Sanskrit, and Jizo Bosatsu in Japan.
Ksitigarbha is an extremely popular Bodhisattva among the Chinese
and Japanese Buddhists. 'Ti Tsang', meaning 'Earth-Store' is a
direct translation of the Bodhisattva's name KSITIGARBHA in
Sanskrit. Among the countless Bodhisattvas in the universe, he and
three others have firmly captured the hearts of the Mahayanists. In
Japan, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, known as Jizo, or Ojizo-sama as he
is respectfully known, is one of the most loved of all Japanese
divinities. His statues are a common sight, especially by roadsides
and in graveyards. Traditionally, he is seen as the guardian of
children, particularly children who died before their parents. Since
the 1980s, the tendency developed in which he was worshipped as the
guardian of the souls of mizuko, the souls of stillborn, miscarried
or aborted fetuses.
In some areas, the admixture of traditional religions has led to
Ksitigarbha being also regarded as a Taoist deity. For example, in
Taiwan, followers of Buddhism, Taoism or folk religion can be found
venerating Ksitigarbha, where he is often appealed to for protection
against earthquakes. There, and in Hong Kong and among Overseas
Chinese communities, his images are usually found in the memorial
halls of Buddhist and Taoist temples.
In one of his incarnation, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva was the ruler of
a small kingdom. He and the king of a neighboring realm were good
J friends, as well as good and righteous kings. However, some of their
citizens still committed all kinds of crimes. So one day, these two
kings got together and decided to help their people. One vowed to
attain buddhahood as soon as possible so that he could save these
poor people. The other king vowed to save these poor people first,
and then he would be willing to attain buddhahood only after all his
people had done so. The latter king was the one we know today as
There are two places seen as the Pure Lands of Ksitigarbha
Bodhisattva. The one in India is called as Kharadiya Mountain which
is situated near the ancient city of Gaya, ninety-six kilometers
southwest of modern Patna. The other one is at Chiuhua Mountain, one
of the four most famous mountains in China. It is situated in Anhui
Province of eastern China. It is one of the four great Buddhist
mountains of China and at one time housed more than 300 temples.
Today, 95 of these are open to the public. The mountain is a popular
destination for pilgrims offering dedications to Ksitigabha.
The Buddha once gave a lecture about Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva on
this mountain. Just before he began to speak, all sorts of astounding
things happened - clouds made fantastic formations around the mountain,
and the people in the audience saw themselves decorated with flowers, jewels,
and other ornaments. The radiance of the jewels shone in every direction
to the Pure Lands of other buddhas. Then, the Buddha told the people why all
this was happening.
A Korean monk named Chin Chao-chueh once lived there with his white dog.
It is said that during the day Chin gave lectures on Buddhism to his disciples
and lay followers, but at night he also taught ghosts and suffering souls in
hell. Therefore, people believed that Chin was a transformation of Ksitigarbha
Bodhisattva, and they built a temple on the mountain to commemorate him after he
died. Chiuhua Mountain thus became this bodhisattva's Pure Land in China.
Whenever you have the urge to pray to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva for any help,
focus at his picture intently for a few seconds as you silently recite, "NAMO
TI TSANG WANG PUSA, NAMO TI TSANG WANG PUSA" before closing your eyes to visualise
him. He is very responsive to sincere prayers of faith and he may yet grant you
your wish, if it is not too unselfish or unreasonable. All may pray to him with
this simple invocation and, who knows, your past karmic links with him may yet
make you into another ardent Ksitigarbha devotee again in this lifetime.
Pra Ma Ni Da Ni So Ha" This is Ksitigabha Bodhisattva Tibetan
Mantra for Eradicating Fixed Karma. Click on the above link to access free
Buddhist Prayer Beads are a traditional meditation or chanting tool used to count time.