Hank Glassman: "At the Crossroads of the Six Paths: Images and Legends of the Bodhsattva Jiz from Kyoto's Higashiyama"
Jizô is among the most beloved and familiar deities in the Buddhist pantheon in Japan. This paper explores legends and visual representations of this deity from the medieval period, centering upon the neighborhood of Kyoto known as "the eastern hills" (Higashiyama). This area was, from ancient times, famous for its large cremation grounds, Toribeno. We will take up several specific stories from local temples that emphasize Jizô's role as a bridge between this world and the next.
Hank Glassman, Haverford College
Hank Glassman received his Ph.D. in the Department of Religious Studies at Stanford University. He is teaching in the joint Department of East Asian Studies at Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges. His work centers on the religious culture of medieval Japan. He is currently working on a book on the cult of the bodhisattva Jizō (called Dizang in Chinese, Jijang in Korean) from the thirteenth century to the seventeenth. The book examines the place of images in the development of the Jizō cult in three communities of belief: priests, women and warriors. He has written numerous articles including, “At the Crossroads of Birth and Death: the Blood-Pool Hell and Postmortem Fetal Extraction”; “’Show Me the Place Where My Mother Is!’ Chūjōhime, Preaching, and Relics in Late Medieval and Early Modern Japan"; and “The Nude Jizō at Denkōji: Notes on Women's Salvation in Kamakura Buddhism.”