Brief Introduction for Beginners:
Extracts from the internet and books. (May blessings and appreciation go to the authors of these articles)
Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha: 地藏菩薩
(Na mo Dai Yuen Ti TsangWang P'usa) 南無大願地藏王菩薩
Kshitigarbhs Bodhisattva, also known as Ti Tzang Pu’sa had vowed not to rest until he has saved the suffering beings in Hell, therefore, he is often referred to as the Bodhisattva of the Hell beings because of his vow not to achieve Buddha hood until "all the Hells are empty".
However, his vows do not cover only hell beings, as Ti Tsang Pu’sa also promised the Buddha saying “O World Honoured One, “should some good men or good women have even one thought of reverence for the Buddha Dharma, and for those good men and good women who always hear of virtuous deeds, practice moment by moment without ceasing and who, naturally never retrogress from the “Unexcelled Path of Enlightenment”, I shall resort to deliver and liberate that person from samsara”.
As Earth Store Sutra (also referred as the “Fundamental Vows of Ksitigarbha”) was spoken by Shakyamuni Buddha to his mother in Trayastrimsas Palace; this Sutra is also referred as the “Sutra of Filial Piety”. This Sutra also recorded Buddha’s many praises on the immeasurable merits and compassion of Ti Tsang Pu’sa and cited the many benefits that we will gain from reciting this Sutra and paying obeisance to Ti Tsang Pu’sa images.
According to the Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha placed his confidence in Ti Tsang Pu'sa to look after all Buddhists Sutras and to care and liberate beings from sufferings during the period from the Nirvana of Shakyamuni to the advent of Maitreya, the next Buddha born on Earth.
As the master of the six paths (Hell, Ghost, Animal, Man, Asura and Deva) Ti Tsang Pu’sa is described as savior for all beings from suffering. With this responsibility, his status is well-respected by all Buddhas and other beings in the Ten Dharma Realms including human beings. Because Ti Tsang Pu’sa is connected to deliver sentient beings wandering astray in the Hell, this expresses an extremely profound and esoteric aspect of the Bodhisattva's compassionate activity.
Ti Tsang P'usa has many emanations and he has manifested in countless forms to save beings at different times and places.
Ti Tsang P'usa's compassion is not practised exclusively for the benefit of the beings of the hell realm, he also gives blessings to those of the world who seek his help and he is a comforter of the poor, oppressed, sick, hungry, and those who are troubled by spirits and nightmares. Those who have firm faith in him can easily receive his protection. With faith one needs to recite any of these simple prayers:
"NAMO TI TSANG WANG P'USA' or
"NAMO KSITIGARBHA BODHISATTVA YA".
Kshitigarbha (Sanskrit, "Womb of the Earth") is known as Ti-ts'sang or Dicang in China and Jizo in Japan. Kshitigarbha is especially popular in Japan as the savior of the souls of dead children, particularly aborted ones. In Japan, he is the guardian of travellers by land, and he helps the women in labour. He also performs the role of a prolonger of life and guardian of safety of children. In Korea, he is also highly reputable as the object of worship. He is more popular in the Far East than he ever was in India and Tibet.
In Japan, Ti Jang Wang Pusa also known as “Jizō” is very well venerated and appears in many different forms to alleviate the suffering of the living and the dead. In modern Japan, Jizō is popularly venerated as the guardian of unborn, aborted, miscarried, and stillborn babies (Mizuko Jizo). These roles were not assigned to Jizō in earlier Buddhist traditions from mainland Asia; they are instead modern adaptations unique to Japan. At the same time, Jizō serves his/her customary and traditional roles as patron saint of expectant mothers, women in labor, children, firemen, travelers, pilgrims, and the protector of all beings caught in the six realms of transmigration. Jizō is also one of the 13 Deities 十三仏 (Jūsanbutsu) of the Shingon Sect of Esoteric Buddhism in Japan. In this role, Jizō presides over the memorial service held on the 35th day following one's death.
One of the most beloved of all Japanese divinities, Jizō works to ease the suffering and shorten the sentence of those serving time in hell, to deliver the faithful into Amitaba western paradise (where inhabitants are no longer trapped in the six states of desire and karmic rebirth), and to answer the prayers of the living for health, success, children, and all manner of mundane petitions. In modern Japan, Jizō is a savior par excellence, a friend to all, never frightening even to children, and his/her many manifestations
Jizō is also, like "Kannon" (Kwan Im Porsat), one of Amida Buddha's main attendants and, like Kannon, is one of the most popular modern deities in Japan's Amitaba Pure Land (Jōdo 浄土) sects. The two share many overlapping functions -- both protect the Six Realms of Karmic Rebirth, both are patrons of motherhood & children (Koyasu Jizo, Koyasu Kannon), and both protect the souls of aborted children (Mizuko Jizo, Mizuko Kannon)
HOW TO PAY HOMAGE TO TI JANG WANG PU SA?
If anyone sincerely and wholeheartedly concentrates while reciting Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha name, follow the Dharma words spoken by him, and read with concentration The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s fundamental vows, then that person
- can be freed from all kinds of obstacles, defilements and sufferings.
- Can reduce negative karma and be distant from and be unaffected by any sort of evil, or falling onto the three evil paths
- will have intelligence that become honed to the clarity, sharpness and keenness.
- Will realise the highest virtue and create good roots, enabling them to listen to the Right Dharma and open their mind to the highest wisdom.
- Will possess a healthy body and a calm, bright mind with no impurities
- May be able to create great compassionate intentions and vows for the benefit of all sentient beings.
The Buddha told Akasagarbha that there are twenty eight benefits if any good men or good women who should see Ksitigarbha’s image and hear this Sutra and read and recite it, and who should also donate incense, flowers, etc as offerings, in addition to giving praise and making obeisance to Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha. (details of these 28 benefits are tabled in the Sutra book which is readily available in Tai Pee Sim Monastery).
Auspicious Date to pay respect to Ti Jang Wang Pu Sa, is on 30th day of the 7th lunar month. However, Tai Pee Sim Monastery also conducts a Dharma chanting session to honour Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha on 14th day of the 7th lunar month.
His Dharma Words:
To teach all people, again and again, that they must believe in the “relationship of causes and effects”. If you plant good causes, you will realise good effects. If you plant evil causes, you will get evil effects.
Description of Ti Tsang P'usa
Ti Tsang P'usa has often been mistaken by uninformed Buddhists to be Mogallana who was a disciple of Sakyamuni Buddha, because he too had a similar experience of descending to the Hell Realm to seek and save his mother. The stories may sound similar but they happened at different times and adopted quite different methods to save their mothers.
Many others also tend to mistake Ti Tsang Pu’sa as Hsuan Tsang, the famous Tripitaka master of the Tang Dynasty who made the hazardous journey to the West to seek the Buddhist scriptures. This is mainly due to the Sangha robe and the five-leave crown which both are seen to wear.
Ti Tsang P'usa is also mistaken by many to be "Yen-Lo-Wang" or Yama, the "King of Hell." It must be mentioned that Ti Tsang is a Bodhisattva and not a mere King of the Fifth Hell. He does not judge the dead but seeks to save them from their suffering.
Ti Tsang P'usa is dressed as a simple monk with shaved head. Often he holds a wish-fulfilling jewel in one hand and a monk’s pilgrim’s staff with six rings in the other. The six rings indicate that the Bodhisattva protects all beings in the Six Realms of existence. Often his feet are visible, representing his ceaseless travels to all who need him.
Ti Tsang P'usa,is also seen seated upon a lotus throne. His hands holds the precious flaming pearl which has vast magical powers beyond description. He wears the robe of a Northern Buddhist monk and on his head is the "five-leave crown, where the representation of a Dhyani-Buddha can be seen on each of the leaves.
The standing posture of Ti Tsang 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. Standing upon a lotus, he holds his precious flaming jewel with his left hand while the ringed staff is held with the right, 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.
Ti Tsang P'usa is at times depicted accompanied by a dog, which also has a significant meaning. On the death of his mother, the Bodhisattva hastened into the underworld with the view of comforting her and to seek favorable treatment for her. However, he could not find her but later discovered that she had already taken rebirth as a female dog. Upon his return to earth Ti Tsang soon traced and adopted the animal, which then became his companion on his pilgrimages.
Another popular depiction of him is in this standing or 'activity-form' which has 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".
Images of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are recognised by the symbols that they are associated with. Each of these symbols has a particular meaning. For example,
The KHAKKHARA, or Ringed Staff, which Ti Tsang P'usa holds, is not only meant to warn small and crawling creatures of his approach so as to avoid stepping on them but also to inform people of his presence through the jingling caused by the rings.
The Khakkhara is often a wooden staff capped with metal loops or crotchets and rings, which are four, six or twelve in number. The Four-ringed staff is carried by a monk who has perceived the Four Noble Truths of Suffering, the Cause of Suffering, the Cessation of Suffering, and the Path leading to the Cessation of Suffering. The Six-ringed staff belongs to a Bodhisattva who is constantly practising the Six Paramitas, while the Twelve-ringed staff is held by a Pratyeka Buddha who has realised the Twelve-fold Links of Causation.