Jizo Ceremony for Children
The loss of an infant or child often opens a well of profound grief. No matter how the child dies, suddenly or slowly, whether through illness, sudden infant death, accident, miscarriage, abortion, or suicide, our sorrow is deep and may be long-lasting.
To help families and friends in their process of grief, we honor their lost children by participating in a ceremony in the Jizo Bodhisattva remembrance garden. Jizo Bodhisattva is regarded as a caretaker of women, travelers, and children who have died.
We will spend time making a personal memorial for our child, by writing a message, making a simple toy or necklace, or sewing a small garment. There will be materials available, but you may wish to bring scissors, thread and needle, and a small piece of red cloth. Many people also bring a picture of the child or other personal token of remembrance. These memorials are left on the Jizo statues. Families and friends are welcome to revisit the garden any time.
The ceremony is very simple, and done in silence.
There is no charge and anyone of any religious affiliation is welcome.
Chozen Bays, Roshi
Jan Chozen Bays, Roshi has studied and practiced Zen Buddhism since 1973. She received Jukai (lay precepts) in 1975 and Tokudo, Priest's Ordination, in 1979 from Taizan Maezumi, Roshi. From 1978 to 1983 she lived at the Zen Center of Los Angeles, studying with Maezumi Roshi and directing the Zen Center's non-profit Medical Clinic. She finished formal koan study in 1983 and she was given Dharma transmission (authorization to teach) that same year. Following the death of Maezumi Roshi in 1995 she has continued her training with Shodo Harada Roshi, a Rinzai Zen teacher and the abbot of Sogen-ji monastery in Japan.
Since 1985 Chozen Roshi has been the teacher for the Zen Community of Oregon. In 2002 she helped to found Great Vow Zen Monastery and is the co-abbot. In 2011 she also helped found Heart of Wisdom Zen Temple in Portland, OR.
She has published many articles about Zen in the periodicals Tricycle and Buddhadharma. Her first book, Jizo Bodhisattva, Modern Healing and Traditional Buddhist Practice (Tuttle, 2002), has been re-issued in paperback as Jizo Bodhisattva, Guardian of Children, Women and Other Voyagers by Shambhala. She is the author of How to Train a Wild Elephant: And Other Adventures in Mindfulness (Shambhala, 2011).
Chozen Roshi is also pediatrician, mother and wife.