Here in this shrine, stands a sacred figure of the Kannon. Kannon, Avalokitesvara in Sanskrit, is a Buddha-to-be, who is one of the most worshipped and treasured figures in Buddhism.
The Kannon figure in this temple is portrayed with eleven faces, a thousand hands, and a thousand eyes. This is one of the typical manifestation of Kannon and is named “Jyuichimen（eleven faces）-Senjyu（a thousnd hands）-Sengen（a thousand eyes）-Kanzeonbosatzu（Kannon）” It is usually called Senjyu-Kannon, for short.
Although Kannon is considered to be both male and female, our statue here is shown as the figure of a mother taking care of her baby. Its eleven faces show a mother’s various expressions, including Joy, Anger, Sorrow, Happiness. The thousand hands symbolize Kannon’s mercy. All of these hands are opened toward us to accept and relieve our sufferings and sorrows while its thousand eyes are to watch and protect us from evil.
The hands pressed together at the center of the figure symbolize the awareness of and respect for one's own worth. Not to be confused with selfishness, one must value oneself to value others. You’ll notice one turned hand resting on one of the lower left arms. This turned hand represents the support for a baby, resting on its mother’s back and again, indicates the mercifulness of Kannon. This turned hand is very rare among Kannon figures.
The name Kannon, comes from “Kan” in Chinese, meaning “to see” and “On”, meaning “sound”. Put together, the name “Kannon” indicates the ability to see and to hear others’ agonies and sorrows.
There is a tradition to visit 33 sacred figures of Kannon in the Bando area. Bando is an old name for the Kanto region. This pilgrimage is called “Fudasho-meguri” and Jik?-ji is the 9th temple on the pilgrimage. Many people come and pray to the Kannon in Jiko-ji.
The honorary chief priest of Jiko-ji, Saeki Meiryo