This pair of tiny slippers were left at the old Shingon Buddhist Temple in the Lawai Valley many years ago. Chance are, we'll never know who made them, or for whom. One thing we do know ––these two small offerings that were left at the Temple–– tell a big story.
One gets the sense that these Japanese zōri, flip flops, did not come from Walmart. We can see that lots of care and love went into the making of them. Perhaps this parent didn't have money to buy footwear. The materials themselves look as if they experienced many lifetimes.
Some of you may recognize Jizo. He is an important Bodhisattva, revered throughout East Asian Buddhism. In Japan, Jizo is one the most respected and loved divinities. Among his many roles, he is the guardian of children. Although we don't know who made the tiny slippers, or why they were left at the Lawai Shingon Temple, I think we can make a guess that Jizo was part of the story. This image carve in hard stone radiates a softness, a gentleness that is hard to put into words.