Ajimi Jizo



Fudo Myo-O Gallery


Ajimi Jizo 嘗試地蔵 (味見地蔵, 毒味地蔵)

Jizo Bosatsu tasting the food for Kobo Daishi

(あじみ・どくみじぞうそん)奥之院 嘗試地蔵尊

嘗試 kokoromi is another reading.

Kobo Daishi, Kukai (774-835)
Kukai died on Mount Koya on April 23, 835, and it is believed that even now he remains in eternal samadhi in his bodily form within the inner shrine on the mountain. He has his cloths changed twice a year for summer and winter. He gets food every day. Details about his life are in the LINK below.

This small Jizo statue stands in a small hall in front of the inner sanctuary, Oku no In 奥の院, the hall where Kobo Daishi resides to this day. Every morning at six and at an early lunchtime around 10 he gets food, prepared by monks in a special kitchen, mostly from food offerings of the believers.
(Before the adaption to our modern times, food was brought at four and six in the morning!)

The food is carried in a special procession on a tray along this little hall and a bit of each item placed for Jizo to taste it, making sure he gets no poison.

Before Jizo was installed in this place, a deity called "Mikurya Myoojin" 御厨明神 stayed there, as an incarnatin of Aizen Myo-O. This deity transformed again into Byoodoo Oo 平等王, who is another deification of Jizo.
(This is the confusing theory of the recruitment of Shinto deities to the side of Buddhism.)

When Kobo Daishi was still alive and spend his days at Koya San, there was a couple of his disciples that cared for his daily needs and food, called Aiman 愛慢 and Aigo 愛語. These two have later been transformed to Mikurya Myoojin. Since they came from the land of Tosa with Kukai, they are also called "Tosa no Kuni Mikurya Myoojin「土佐の国御厨明神」(とさのくにのみくりやのみょうじん).
KURIYA 厨 is another old name for a dirt floor kitchen, where food was prepared for the monks. So they are a kind of kitchen deities.

The custom of carrying food has been obeserved since olden times, it was first written about in 1023, when Fujiwara no Michinaga 藤原道長 visited Koya san.

Here is a photo of the small hall.

Detail of the Jizo face

© PHOTOS : 2004 高野山真言宗 総本山金剛峯寺


Monks carrying the food for Kobo Daishi 空海の膳

© PHOTO 佐藤弘弥撮影
Look at this LINK for more super photos of Koya San.


Daruma Museum LINKS

Kukai, Kobo Daishi 弘法大師 空海 (Kuukai, Kooboo Daishi)

... ... ... Jizo Jizoo Bosatsu 地蔵菩薩


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