Which Jizo do you like the most?
Jizo is one of the most popular Buddhas in Japan. You can see it on the roadside as well as temples because it is a guardian deity to save all beings especially children and travelers. The appearance of Jizo is like a Buddhist monk wearing a robe and having a staff in the right hand and a treasure jewel in the left hand.
In Buddhism, there is no Buddha who can relieve people in this world by the time Maitreya Bodhisattva has attain enlightenment 5.67 billion years later after Gautama Siddhaarhta (the founder of Buddhism) died. So Jizo decided to stay in this world to relieve people in the appearance of a human monk. That’s why people feel closer or familiar to Jizo.
Why does Jizo sometimes wear a bib or a cap?
Because in Japanese legend, when young children die before their parents and their souls pick up pebbles and make a tower to cross the Sanzu River in the hell, a devil comes up and destroys it with its stick. Jizo saves children and helps cross the river. Parents put bibs and caps (usually red) on Jizo in the hope of Jizo helping and protecting their children in the afterworld.