Story of Earth Store Bodhisattva
Earth Store Bodhisattva is known as Ti Tsang (or Di Zang) Bodhisattva in China, Ksitigarbha in Sanskrit, and Jizo Bosatsu in Japan.
The name of this Bodhisattva means "the one who encompasses the earth". Earth means stillness, hardness, stability, vastness and versatility. It represents our mind which creates all dharma and accommodates all matters. It is the foundation on which everything grows, including the Buddhist Way. Store means deepness, profundity and subtleness. It represents the immeasurable treasures.
According to Earth Store Sutra, Earth Store Bodhisattva was appointed by Shakyamuni to be the headmaster of Buddhism on Earth during the period from the Nirvana of Shakyamuni to the advent of Maitreya, the next Buddha born on Earth. He is also said to be an incarnation of Enma (or Yama), the king of the Hell. In broader sense, he is the master of the Six Paths (i.e. Hell, Ghost, Animal, Man, Asura and Deva). Thus, he is described as occupying a position between deva/men and the hell for saving all beings from suffering. Undoubtedly, his status is well-respected by all Buddhas and other beings in the Ten Dharma Realms including human beings.
Earth Store Bodhisattva, one of the Four Great Bodhisattva in Buddhism,
is the Bodhisattva with the greatest vow. His vow is:
As the Hell is the lowest in the Ten Dharma Realms, the vow implies that Earth Store Bodhisattva will be the last one to become Buddha amongst all.
Earth Store Bodhisattva is so compassionate that he renounces the states of Buddha, in order to rescue the beings from suffering and help them to attain enlightenment.
Earth Store Sutra describes the past life of Earth Store Bodhisattva. Before being a Bodhisattva, he was a young Indian girl of the Brahmin caste. Because her mother was impious, she was tortured and suffered in hell after she died. The young girl was terrified, thus made a great vow to save all beings from such torments.
As Earth Store Sutra was sermoned by Shakyamuni to his mother in Prayastrimsat, (not on Earth!) this Sutra is also known as the Sutra of filialipiety. If morality is the first step in cultivating Buddhist Way, filialipiety is the first step in morality. That is why this Sutra is so important for all Buddhist beginners.
The Earth Store Sutra also reveals the virtues and merits of Earth Store Bodhisattva and the method to cultivate the Buddhist Way. Therefore, the Sutra is one of the most popular sutras in Buddhism. People read and recite it as their daily practice in the cultivation of the Buddhist Way.
Like other Bodhisattva, Earth Store Bodhisattva is represented by many images and symbols, such as Six Ti-Tsang, Six Messengers, Yen Ming Ti-Tsang, etc. He always holds a piligrim staff and a cintamani (a disc of sun) surrounded by the ten kings of hell. It indicates that "He who delivers from the torments of hell."
Earth Store Bodhisattva is also well known in Japan, Korea and other countries. 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.
To read or download the Earth Store Sutra (Ksitigarbha Sutra), please visit the following site: