As Retold By
Reverend Raido Hirota
ISHIBOJIN and Jurasetsu are written on the upper left side of Gohonzon. Kishibojin is the
mother-of-devils; Jurasetsu are her ten demon daughters. Kishibojin is called the
mother-of-devils because she symbolizes the selfish nature of mothers whose love for their
children is so extreme they become devils.
Kishibojin had more than a thousand children. In order to assure their health and well being
she kidnapped the babies of others and fed them to her own. At once this demonstrates her
great concern for her own children while conversely revealing her disregard and
unmindfulness of others. And because the task of feeding her children was too great for her
to undertake alone, she enlisted the Jurasetsu, her ten demon daughters, to help her capture
and murder other children.
Kishibojin's heinous activities did not go unnoticed by
Shakyamuni Buddha. To teach her a lesson the Buddha himself
kidnapped her tenth demon daughter (also Jurasetsu in
Japanese), whose name was
"Plunderer-of-Vital-Energy-of-All-Beings" and hid her away.
One would think that Kishibojin would not miss one particular
child when she had more than a thousand children. But since she
loved all her children equally she did miss that one child.
Day and night she searched tirelessly for her one missing child.
She knew she had erred. She knew what she had been doing
was wrong. That is why she hated Shakyamuni, the emblem of
truth and goodness, and avoided him. And as Daishonin says, "It
is quite natural that [she] should, for the crooked piece of wood
hates the straightness of the carpenter's string, and the dishonest
man is not pleased with the honest administration of
government." So for a long time Kishibojin continued to search
on her own for her missing child and nearly went out of her
mind from fear and worry.
Finally, driven to the point of total desperation, she confronted
Shakyamuni and asked him if he knew where Jurasetsu was.
Without hesitation Shakyamuni took Kishibojin to Jurasetsu and
scolded to her, "By losing this one child you now know the
suffering and torment other mothers feel when they lose a
child." For the first time Kishibojin understood the pain and
suffering of other people.
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