Request for Question Clarification by
04 Jul 2006 08:39 PDT
First of all, let me express my condolences for your loss.
Today is the Fouth of July, so I am unlikely to get someone. Because
time is of essence on your part, I will tell you about my work so far,
so you might carry on from there.
The bottom line is, that I haven't managed to locate *** through the
Internet*** a place where such ceremonies take place. My next idea was
to call Zen-Buddhist temples in your area and check it, but because of
the holiday, it is not possible.
The ceremony is usually not transliterated to English as "mizugo" but
as "mizuko kuyo", "mizuko" being a "child of the water" (that is, a
fetus), and Kuyo means "paying your respect". It is usually done in
shrines dedicated to Jizo, which is the "patron saint" (Bodhisattva)
of children and travellers.
This tradition has developed in post-1945 Japan, especially since the
1970s, and has been criticised as "commercialisation of the temples",
and expression of corrupt priesthood. Now, I am saying that not in
order to discourage you - I think your idea is great and I also found
a Catholic church offering a similar service to Catholics - but
because if you'll have a chance to make the phone calls before I do,
you might get such responses even within the Zen-Buddhist-Japanese
community. Another thing is that in Japan, the babies are usually not
actually buried there - it is not a cemetery - but it is a shrine to
remember the baby through a Jizo sculpture.
However, naturally, it is worth a try. On Wednesday, me (or one of my
colleagues) will try to call these Zen Temples, if you're not up to it
- but please let me know. In any case, your "key terms" to ask these
people is if you can have a "mizuko kuyo" ceremony and whether they
have a Jizo icon to give you for it.