(Kishimojin is represented by the Ten Demon Daughters (Jurasetsunyo), #24 on the Gohonzon Diagram.)
Her name is translated as “Mother of Demon Children,” but more accurately she is the demon that protects mothers and their children.
According to legend, Kishimojin ate
children so that she could have milk to feed her favorite child. The people
asked the Buddha if he could put an end to it. So the Buddha made Kishimojin’s
child invisible to her. She searched frantically for him and eventually
came to the Buddha for help. The Buddha asked her how she felt about not
being able to find her child. When Kishimojin told him of her great anguish,
the Buddha explained that that is how she made other mothers feel when
she ate their children. After that Kishimojin vowed to protect mothers
and children. Later, in the Dharani Chapter of the Lotus Sutra, she and
her ten daughters vow to protect the practitioners of the Lotus Sutra in
the evil age that was to come.
depictions of Kishimojin. The 2000-year-old carving at left is from ancient
Center is a Chinese worship object. At right is a Japanese painting from the Kamakura period.