Jizo Bodhisattva is a beloved figure in Japanese Buddhism, and statues of him can often be seen along roads to protect travelers, in temple grounds and cemeteries. He is a figure of Compassion, much as Kannon, who travels anywhere from heaven to hell to help those in need ... especially those who find themselves in a hell of their own making by Greed, Anger and Ignorance.
Jizo has become known over the centuries as a protector of children and women, including expectant mothers. Most of all, he is the protector of deceased children, including stillborn, miscarried or aborted infants. He is thought to protect them in the 'other world', nursing and soothing them, guiding them back for another chance to be born in this world when the time is right. For that reason, he is often seen by the hundreds in cemeteries dressed in children's clothes and a bib, surrounded by toys and dolls.
The Jizo at the top is one who remains standing amid mud and rubble despite the recent earthquakes and Tsunami in northern Japan. So many children where lost in that tragedy.
In my heart, I hope that Jizo is with them somehow...
Today's Sit-A-Long video follows at this link. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 15 to 35 minutes is recommended.