I first mentioned the Six Jizos or Rokujizo back
on the Words-and-Pictures page for Honsenji.
As I said there, in one form of Buddhist cosmology there are six
"worlds" or levels of being: the worlds of hell, hungry
ghosts, beasts, demons, human beings, and heavenly beings. There
is said to be one Jizo to represent the beings in each world. Jizo
saves. Children and travelers especially come under his
Jizo-sama is extremely popular, being found not just on
temple grounds, but by roadsides, in fields, and in art and stories.
(You can read one of my favorites, "Kasajizo," here
in a version illustrated by a schoolgirl, or here
in one drawn by a professional.)
I came to love O-Jizo-sama
so much that when I returned to America, I enshrined a statue in my
family's garden. Read
the whole story.