Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/17/2016

Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva

I’ve developed a sudden and inexplicable interest in the bodhisattva Ksitigarbha in the past week or so. Strange considering I haven’t really been practicing with any Mahayana grips recently and my prior reticence regarding Avalokiteshvara. In terms of the ontological status of any of the great bodhisattvas of the Mahayana traditons I am still circumspect and the attribution of the sutras describing Ksitigarbha are dubious at best. And yet…

Perhaps more than anything else if it’s the attitude of active compassion and engagement worth those in suffering that calls to me most. That and the idea that there are beings dedicated to the wellbeing of all to whom one can turn when in dire need. So you see I have my logical explanation and my affective pull all sorted out.

I have often puzzled at the gap between my own aspirations and private practice and my behavior under duress work my wife and children. If nothing else may my exploration of Jizo bodhisattva help me to bring me patience and sensitivity to my interactions and remind me to descend into the very depths of hell to relieve the suffering of my dear ones.


  1. You’re probably aware of this already, but the Wikipedia page for Ksitigarbha makes mention of his role in Theravada as Phra Malai. The traditions are not always so separated as one is led to believe.

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