Guangdu Temple and Merit Hall worship Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva and ancestors of the worshippers’. Ksitigarbha represents the birth of the holy one and is known as Ksitigarbha in Buddhism whereas he is known as Grand Master of Serene Darkness (Youming) or Great Lord of Fengdu in Taoism. According to The Collection of the Ten-Wheels Sutra of Ksitigarbha of Mahayana Buddhism, “With steadfast endurance like the earth (dadi), purity and deepness like the secret storage of Buddhist canons (mizang).” Hence, the name ‘Dizang’ is derived, symbolizing Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva has three virtues like Tathāgata, with limitless dharma and fortune to save and educate numerous people so that they can successfully relieve themselves.

  •   In Buddhism, during the period after Gautama Buddha passed away and before Maitreya was born, Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva was regarded as being directed by Gautama Buddha to lead the people lost in the evil world without Buddha. According to the Sutra of the Great Vows of Ksitigarbha, the Bodhisattva made a great aspiration, ‘I vowed to do the greater good in the future, to help the people pass through the sea of misfortune. I shall not be Sakyamuni if the underworld is not empty. I would do my best, regardless of difficulties, to save people from darkness with thousands and billions of avatars so that they will escape from misery and live in Heaven.’ In comparison with other Buddha, Ksitigarbha took vows more seriously. From this aspiration, we can learn that Ksitigarbha, greatly related with Sahā World, has a very important responsibility, with a focus on the creation of happiness and a Buddhist path for mortals. He is the representative Buddha for vows.

      Legend has it that Jiuhua Mountain, Anhui, is the Bodhimaṇḍa for Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva. It is said that Kim Gyo-gak, a Buddhist monk from Silla (Southeastern Korean Peninsula), was the manifestation of Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva. Visiting China during the reign of Tang Xuan Zong, Kim cultivated himself in Jiuhua Mountain. 1500 years later after Buddha passed away, Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva descended to the world as a man from Silla named Kim Gyo-gak, a close relative of the King of Ancient Silla Kim. It is said that Kim Gyo-gak had studied in Tang China in his early life, well-educated with Chinese studies. After going back, Kim decided to give up his life in the royal family to be a monk. Taking the Divine Beast ‘Di Ting’ (Listening) with Him to sail to Jiuhua Mountain, Qingyang County, Chizhou, Jiangnan, Kim then sat at the peak of Jiuzi Mountain. In folk culture, the thirtieth of the seventh lunar month is the date when Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva was enlightened.

      Furthermore, in folk culture, Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva is regarded as the lord of the underworld, supervisor of Yama and Dongyue Dadi. When holding a funeral, exorcising ceremony, and Pudu rites, etc., the people often worship Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva. The graveyard, columbarium, or the place in wars or with a lot of accidents, also worship Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva, in the hope that He would exorcise the dead and bless the lived. A Buddha is generally wearing a crown, decorative wreaths, and a celestial gown whereas Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva appears either like a Buddha or a bhikkhu, bald or wearing a Buddha crown and a Kāṣāya, with a tin cane in His hand.