A Taste Of Chinese Hospitality.............Part 17
Legendary Guardian of the Chinese Seas
Xubing had not only drawn an itinerary for my trip, he had taken a print out of it. In a way, I was thankful that not many people were coming to meet me because the onus of making arrangements for them too would have fallen upon Xubing. He told me that one person, who goes by an Id. Awei, was coming with his daughter on 19th February to meet me/us and he had to go to the airport at 1 O’clock at night to receive them. Airport I learnt from him, was 30 kilometres from Haicang.
Xubing had a plan to drive us to the temple of Mazu on 18th Feb. She is worshipped as the goddess by the fishermen in the coastal region of Fujian, Zhejiang, Henan and even in Taiwan.
According to the legend, a girl named Lin Moniang was born on March 23, 960 (during the Song Dynasty) as the seventh daughter of Lin Yuan (林愿) on the island of Meizhou in Fujian province. She did not cry when she was born, thus she was given the name with the meaning "Silent Girl." As the legend goes, she started swimming relatively late at the age of 15 but very soon she became an excellent swimmer. She wore red garments while standing on the shore to guide fishing boats home, even in the most dangerous and harsh weather.
Lin Moniang's father and brothers were fishermen. One day, a terrible typhoon arose while they were out at sea, and the rest of her family feared that those at sea had perished. In the midst of this storm. One version of the legend says that she fell into a trance while praying for the lives of her father and brothers while another says that she dreamed of her father and brothers while she was sleeping or sitting at a loom, weaving. In both versions of the story, her father and brother were drowning but Moniang's mother discovered her sleeping and tried to wake her. This diverted Moniang's attention and caused her to drop her brother who drowned as a result. Consequently, Moniang's father returned alive and told the other villagers that a miracle had happened.
Other versions of the story relates to four drowning brothers, with three returning and the fourth lost to her being revived (with no mention of a father).
There are at least two versions of Lin Moniang's death. In one version, she died in 987 at the age of 28, when she climbed a mountain alone and flew to heaven and became a goddess. Another version of the legend says that she died at age 16 of exhaustion after swimming far into the ocean trying to find her lost father and that her corpse later washed ashore on Nankan Island of the Matsu Islands.
Mazu is usually depicted together with two guardian generals known as "Thousand Miles Eye" (千里眼, Qianli Yan) and "With-the-Wind Ear" (順風耳 Shunfeng Er). Though their iconography can vary, both are usually represented as demons; "Thousand Miles Eye" is often red with one horn, while "With-the-Wind Ear" is green with two horns. They are said to have been two demons whom Mazu conquered. Both of them were in love with her, but she said she would marry the one who defeated her. Using her martial arts skills, Mazu defeated them both and they became her friends.
Mazu herself is usually depicted wearing a red robe in paintings or murals, but in sculpture is always clothed in the jewel-festooned robes of an empress holding either a ceremonial tablet or a jewelled staff whilst wearing the easily recognized flat-topped imperial cap with hanging beads at the front and back.
Over the time, the religions of Buddhism and Taoism borrowed popular deities from each other in attempts to attract devotees to their temples. In order to justify Mazu's presence in Buddhist temples, legends were circulated claiming that Mazu's parents prayed to Guan Yin for a son, but Guanyin answered their prayers with the birth of yet another daughter.
It was then believed that Mazu was a reincarnation of Guanyin on earth, and it is Guanyin she is said to have been especially devoted to as a child. As a result, Mazu is recognized and respected in both the Taoist and Buddhist pantheons of deities, while some Buddhists believe Mazu to be one of Guanyin's many manifestations. (Stories sourced from Wikipedia)
Hello Zhang- Do you mean to say that you can't logon this site without VPN? Maybe, I am not sure. Earlier this site could be accessed without VPN but perhaps Chinese control has decided that it needs monitoring :)
what an interesting narration and pictures !!! Nice to read about the Gods here. I must see if there is a parallel..There would be I am sure !!! Goddess Gyuanyn looks so beautiful and peaceful :))))))
Thanks Usha Ji,
Amalgamation of religions- that was one of my objectives of giving this story and the pictures. Oriental religions have a lot in common.
Such fusion of faiths also occured in India. Buddhism generously borrowed from the ancient greek religion to incorporate some of its Gods when the Parthian Greeks topk to tje faith. For instance the Bodhisattva Vajrapani was actially Greek god Zeus. Tibetan Buddhism picked up Shiva and Kali etc. So in China both Taoism and Buddhism existed in similar cultural context it is not surprising that they shared deities.i
Yes you are right MVB. They were all plagiarists. Hindu scriptures have astonishing similarities with Greek mythology. Quaran and Old Testament have similarities that can't be explained without believing that plagiarisation was as prevalent then as it is now and good orators were interested in starting their own religions then as are Babas of today :))