Jizo is one of the main deities of Amida Buddha and is a popular modern deity in the Jodo and Shingon sects. According to Buddhist teachings, all living beings are born into one of the six states of existence (Samsara – the cycle of birth and death), and each is destined for death and rebirth in repeating cycles over countless ages. Jizo is the patron deity of these six worlds and is considered the patron saint of expectant and nursing mothers, maternity mothers, children, firefighters, travelers and pilgrims. Jizo was initially female, but is now mostly depicted as male. However, there is an exception to this rule when he appears as a child-bearing Jizo. In modern Japan, Jizo is revered as a guardian deity for children. Parents make offerings to Jizo to thank him for saving their children from illness. It is believed that children who die prematurely do not live long enough to accumulate good deeds and cannot enter the Pure Land. Jizo is said to have taken these unfortunate souls to the Pure Land by sneaking them under his robe. You may notice that toys and offerings are placed around the statue, and grieving parents place the offerings to evoke protection for their children. In Japanese folk beliefs, red is considered the color of protection against evil. Jizo is often decorated in red because of its role in saving people from the torments of hell, bringing fertility, protecting children, and bringing longevity. Perhaps coincidentally, newborn babies are sometimes called “”aka-chan”” in Japan. Aka means red in Japanese. The Daruma is a doll modeled after Bodhidharma, an Indian monk who founded the Zen school of Buddhism. It is said that Bodhidharma meditated on a rock for nine years, but when he attained enlightenment, his limbs were paralyzed.