Jizo is an important bodhisattva or "saint" of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. Most prominent today in Japanese Zen, Jizo is understood to be the protector of those journeying through the physical and spiritual realms. This bodhisattva is closely associated with children, believed to be their guardian before birth, throughout childhood, and after death. Jizo therefore has special significance for pregnant women and for parents who have lost children.
In JIZO BODHISATTVA, Bays, an American Zen master and a pediatrician, offers an easy-to-read and informative overview of the history of this important figure and conveys the practices and rituals connected with him, including a simple ceremony for remembering children who have died from illness, accident, miscarriage, or abortion. Inspired by her personal experience with Jizo practice, she explains how the Buddhist teachings on Jizo can help us to confront suffering and loss. Bays writes for those who are grieving or for anyone with an interest in Buddhism and Zen. She describes some of the rich and diverse ways in which Buddhism is practiced and gives readers an understanding of the Buddhist view of life and death.