Agrandir Agrandir Agrandir

"When you pour garbage on the earth and then you pour milk
and then in three months the garbage will become flowers and the milk will become flowers too."

We invoke your name, Kshitigarbha. We aspire to learn your way so as to be present where there is darkness, suffering, oppression, and despair, so that we may bring light, hope, relief, and liberation to those places. 

We are determined not to forget about or abandon those who are in desperate situations. We will do our best to establish contact with them when they cannot find a way out of their suffering and when their cries for help, justice, equality, and human rights are not heard. 

We know that hell can be found in many places on earth and we do not want to contribute to making more hells on earth. Rather we want to help unmake the hells that already exist. We will practice to realize the qualities of perseverance and stability that belong to the earth so that, like the earth, we can always be supportive and faithful to those who need us.

From the Plum Village Chanting Book

Nous invoquons votre nom, Kshitigarbha. Nous aspirons à suivre votre voie afin d'être présents là où il y a l'obscurité, la souffrance, l'oppression et le désespoir, pour y apporter la lumière, l'espoir, le soulagement et la libération.

Nous sommes résolus à ne pas abandonner ni laisser sans soutien ceux qui sont dans des situations désespérées. Nous nous efforcerons de leur porter secours alors qu'ils ne voient pas d'issue à leur souffrance et que leurs appels à l'aide, à la justice, à l'égalité, et au respect des droits de l'homme ne trouvent aucun echo.

Nous savons que l'enfer se trouve ici-bas en maints endroits et nous ne voulons pas contribuer à la multiplication de ces lieux de tourments sur la terre. Nous voulons au contraire nous employer à faire disparaître les enfers déjà établis. Nous nous appliquerons à incarner les qualités de constance et de stabilité qui sont celles de la terre de sorte que, comme la terre, nous soyons toujours secourables et fidèles à ceux qui en ont besoin.

Texte Liturgique du Village des Pruniers

Jizo is the Japanese name for the Bodhisattva Kshitigarbha, the archetypal
embodiment of the awakened mind whose specific talent is to bring peace
into those places where there is the greatest suffering. Jizo is associated
with the Earth and, like the earth, nurtures, heals, and protects. Jizo is also
closely associated with children.


--Excerpt from a Dharma Talk by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Ksitigarbha (Earth Store Bodhisattva) who vowed to save all living beings in hell embodies truly great qualities of the Buddha. He vowed that he would never abandon you. Wherever there are people suffering the most, there also is Ksitigarbha. In this very world there are hells where people undergo the utmost suffering. We decide never to abandon them, rather we try our best to approach and to support them. Ksitigarbha is these qualities of not abandoning. He never abandons anyone even if that person is horribly difficult.

A lot of us have been in countries where people are deprived of human rights that live in oppression. In some countries, people are so desperate that we feel that we cannot communicate the reality of their suffering with the outside world. Sometimes we even have to pour gasoline on our own body in order to burn ourselves, so people in the outside world will know that people are suffering terribly here. In the world, there are a number of those who are unfairly jailed, they are suffering a lot and they are desperate. If we don't do anything for them, we fail in our Vow. Nowadays, there are a number of people who want to be Ksitigarbha and try to relieve the suffering of people in desperate situations. We live in a society where we have plenty of material luxuries, we are jealous for this little thing, but we don't realize that there are people who are in jail unfairly and they just want to be a person living with dignity. They are thrown in jail, and they suffer a lot. To learn the way of Ksitigarbha is to reach your hand into these most desperate situations, to those who are deprived of human rights, who are put in jail in many totalitarian countries.

We must realize that there are those who have never heard the name of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva yet they manifest these qualities every day. In big cities like Chicago, New York, Manila, Washington D.C., there are a lot of hells also. In Paris there is hell, too. So we have to discover these hells and to dismantle them in order to help people and relieve their suffering. Sometimes we may have the notion that we didn't contribute to the creation of that hell. In fact, we are constantly creating this hell by our forgetfulness, jealousy and craving for money. We do not see that hell exists around us, so we continue to live our lives in a way that is harmful to other beings. We are creating hell around us constantly. We must make it clear that we do not want to make more hells. By our way of living mindfully, we will not act in a harmful way that would create hell around us.

When you act or speak unmindfully, you cause a lot of suffering around you. People suffer because of your unmindfulness. The Sanskrit name Ksitigarbha means "the Bodhisattva of the earth, Earth Store." I vow to develop the stability and solidity of the earth, in order to become faithful and without discrimination, like the earth. The earth never discriminates between perfume and urine. The earth absorbs everything and transforms it into flowers. So I want to learn the quality of the earth, very solid, very profound and stable, very rich, no discrimination, in order to be the support for all those who need my support. I vow to become all of these qualities of the earth so that I will be a great support for many people. When you pour garbage on the earth and then you pour milk and then in three months the garbage will become flowers and the milk will become flowers too. The earth has the quality to release and to accept, the quality of accepting everything and releasing every negative thing. Can we be the support of somebody else if we don't have the solidity of the earth? If you see within yourself that you are not yet solid enough, you must train yourself to become more solid.

There is one man who has the name Nicholas. His letter represents many thousands of similar letters we have received. Nicholas is on death row. He has been waiting to be executed for seventeen years. He had the opportunity to read Living Buddha, Living Christ in jail. On the 28th of December, 1997, he wrote:

“Dear Thay, ... I have been on death row for 17 years already. My life has had a lot of suffering during this time, a lot of despair. But in me there is a will to transcend all these psychological and emotional wounds. These wounds are with me and grow in jail. There are days where I struggle very hard against my anger, and there are moments when I feel I cannot transcend my anger and hate. I feel that I am crushed by my hate. But strangely, I learn to live simply from that moment of learning, the hatred toward those who have been very hard to me, cruel to me, my only vow is to survive without becoming crazy because of this hate. I hope to survive without hate, without hatred toward those who put me in jail, who have tortured me. I don't know how I can do that. I don't know how I can transcend the moment when I feel that I will go crazy or I think that I am going insane… I am very grateful that in jail, after 17 years, I can still keep my sanity. I am not crazy yet. And with that gratitude, I can treasure what happens in my life. When I see the sunset, I feel a lot of happiness. I sit behind my jail door. I can enjoy the sunset through the  little window in my cell. In the last cell that I had, for 12 years, I was only able to look at a brick wall.. In my new jail, there is a window where I can see the city with a lot of trees. And the first time I came in touch with trees, I was so moved that I cried. When I read your book, it was the first time I learned to dwell peacefully in the present moment. I understood  that teaching right away… In this situation, I have a lot of difficulties, but I learn to treasure the short moments of awareness, living in jail. During these moments of awareness the fear and despair in me can not master me, and I tune in to the humanness in me, and I can behave like a Buddhist. I believe that if I continue, I will find transformation. I know that if one day I am executed in a violent way, I will be able to accept that. I wish that from this garbage, I can transform into a flower, I can find peace in me. During my search for peace, I have learned to accept myself as well as those around me… This letter is to tell you, Thay, that the human nature exists in me and to tell you that a death row prisoner can find peace and joy in hell.”

If you are peaceful, if you are calm, if you are happy, if you can smile, then the people in your family will smile and in your society will smile, and they can enjoy the peace radiating from you. So we must see that Ksitigarbha is not merely a legendary personality. Ksitigarbha is in you, in me, and in many others everywhere. We only need to train ourselves to become a Ksitigarbha, then our hand will be able to reach into the places of the most terrible suffering, darkness and oppression.

--Excerpt from a Dharma Talk by Thich Nhat Hanh.