Jizo Bodhisattva is an important icon and influence here at Great Vow Zen Monastery. A Bodhisattva is an archetypal being dedicated to helping others, and embodying specific spiritual qualities. Jizo is known for making a vow to be present with, and benefit to, all suffering beings in all realms, and to continuously benefit others until “the hells are empty”. It is this vow that inspired our name.
Jizo is also the protector of women, children and travelers, and specifically helps children that have died navigate the transition between life and death. There is a tradition in Zen monasteries in Japan of offering Jizo ceremonies to help ease the grief of women who have lost children.
At Great Vow we offer two Jizo ceremonies per-year, and in August we have a Jizo celebration called "Jizo Bon". Many Jizo images stand and sit on the monastery grounds, and we have a Jizo garden in the forest behind our zendo.