So one of Ryder's first adventures was visiting the Great Vow Zen Monastery here in Oregon. We packed Ryder up in the car at 9 days old and took a 2-hour road trip up in the hills, where we went to share another little wonderful piece of Hunter and honor his beautiful soul.
We attended a Jizo Ceremony that is held to remember children who have been called back into the ocean of life.......away from sadness and away from suffering. The Jizo "Bodhisattva" is a much beloved figure in Japan, Korea, and China, and is a special protector of children, travelers, and women. Zen and I felt naturally drawn to this and thought it would be a special place to share some of Hunter's love, (Zen is Korean and Caucasian, I am African American and Caucasian.......so Hunter and Ryder are Korean, African American and Caucasian).
It was a very touching ceremony and upon it's completion we walked the beautiful remembrance gardens and chose a Jizo statue that we felt represented Hunter and everything he embodies. This particular one stood out to us and had a very warrior-like presence about him and seemed to be pretty studly and very unique.
We decorated the Jizo with our little touch of Hunter, (and Lightning McQueen of course), and also left him a sweet note with a piece of one of his favorite blankets..........and Hudson Hornet:
Love you so much Baby Cakes. Your amazing soul is an overwhelming amount of love, warmth and inspiration to us. We cherish you and carry you with us wherever we go. May you dance on forever to the rhythm of our hearts. XoXo and warm snuggles - Mom and Dad
After we decorated the statue, we moved on to an amazingly beautiful tree, which was two trees intertwined into one, and spread some of Hunter's ashes. As his ashes gracefully blew in the wind and fell to the bottom of the tree - I felt as if the earth was going to open up and swallow me whole. The pain in my heart was so incredibly intense and it was aching with such sadness and disbelief. We were so, so sad at this particular moment and it was reality slamming us in the face, once again, confirming that Hunter is gone. It was as beautiful as it was heartbreaking.
Overall, I felt as if this day brought another level of peace to us. I was comforted and proud to leave some of Hunter's preciousness in this beautiful garden. It felt safe and warm and visited by many kind and loving souls. Another amazing place for Hunter to frolic in on the days he feels like running in the wilderness.
About the Jizo Bodhisattva:
Jizo is the bodhisattva who plunges fearlessly into any place or situation to help those in need. For anyone who has lost a child, Jizo is a powerful image of hope and solace. Jizo's qualities include unflagging optimism, fearlessness, and gentleness.
Jizo Bodhisattva is usually portrayed as a child-monk, often carrying a pilgrim's staff with six rings that jingle to warn animals of his approach and prevent mutual harm.
Jizo also carries the bright jewel of Dharma truth whose light banishes all fear. Jizo travels to wherever there are people who are mired in the darkness of unhappiness and fear, unable to free themselves.
Jizo is the Japanese name of this Bodhisattva, who was also known in ancient India as Kshitigarbha Bodhisattva, the Earthstore Bodhisattva, guardian of the great earth
A Bodhisattva is one who devotes his or her life to freeing others from suffering. Bodhisattvas are not worshipped, but are an inspiration to awaken to the qualities of an enlightened being that are inherent in everyone.
At Great Vow Zen Monastery, they practice with Jizo to help awaken the Bodhisatta's qualities in ourselves.