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媽祖的故事 Matsu's Story

媽祖的信仰 Matsuism

  媽祖信仰以中國閩南沿海地區為中心,往外延伸至東亞及東南亞沿海地區的海神信仰,由宋代至今已有千百年歷史。

The belief in Matsu, or Matsuism, originated from the coast of the South Fujian province in China during the Song Dynasty and has since had over a thousand years of history. From its origin, Matsuism has extended to the coastal waters of East Asia and Southeast Asia.

  媽祖本名姓 林單名 默,信徒尊稱 天上聖母、天后或天妃娘娘…等,關於 媽祖的尊稱,乃是信徒視聖母,如家中長輩般敬愛,如同敬愛的祖母一般,而有 媽祖的敬稱,在台灣更有許多感受 媽祖如同祖母一般的護祐,而親切的尊呼 媽祖婆。 

Matsu's original name was Lin Mo. Matsu in Chinese means "Maternal Ancestor", "Empress of Heaven", and other maternal names that include "Mother", "Granny", or "Grandmother". Now a days, Matsu is generally regarded by her believers as the powerful and benevolent Queen of Heaven. Her believers look to her with respect and love as the elder and grandmother of their family. In Taiwan, especially, many of her believers truly see Matsu embody the grandmother figure and call her Matsubo (which means Grandmother Matsu) as a form of cordial respect.

  天上聖母媽祖,根據歷史記載生於宋朝建隆元年庚申年三月二十三日,是莆田湄州人氏,姓名 林默,據傳 媽祖出生到了滿月,仍不聞其哭啼聲,故取名為「默」,「娘」為對年輕故娘的暱稱,因此家人稱呼 林默娘。

Matsu, was born in Putian, Meizhou. In the Chinese calendar, she was born on March 23rd in the year of Genshen during the Song Dynasty. As a newborn, she was strangely silent. She did not cry whatsoever during the first month of her life, leading her parents to nickname her Mo (which means "silent"). Because of this her family nicknamed her Lin Moniang, which means the “Silent Girl”.



媽祖的生平 Matsu's Life

  媽祖的父母親,敬祀 觀音大士。

  媽祖的父親在四十歲時,因其膝下只有一子,對傳統家族傳宗接代的觀念來說,只有一子顯得單弱,因此朝夕焚香禱拜 觀音大士,祈求賜子。

Matsu's parents worshipped Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy.

At the time, Matsu’s father was middle-aged (40 years old) and only had one child, but he always dreamed of having more than one. In turn, he prayed day and night to Guanyin, the goddess of mercy, for another Child.

  傳說於己未年夏六月十五日, 媽祖的母親於夜晚睡夢中,望見 觀音大士現身告知,曰:「汝家世敦善行,上帝示佑」,隨後出示丸藥, 媽祖的母親於睡夢中服下丸藥。

  不久就得知懷孕。

Legend has it that on June 15th of the Chinese Lunar Calendar, in the year of Jiwei, Matsu's mother had a life changing dream. In the dream, Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, appeared and she told Matsu’s mother "Your family has only done good through many generations. I will give you my blessing". With that said, Guayin then took out medicine and gave it to Matzu’s mother. Still in the dream, Matsu's mother took the medicine and soon after found out she was pregnant.

  隔年,宋朝建隆元年,庚申年三月二十三日生下一女,即為 媽祖。

The following year on March 23rd of the Chinese Lunar Calendar, in the year of Genshen, Matsu’s mother gave birth to a girl and thus Matsu was born.

  傳說於 媽祖出生的時候,有一道紅光射入室中,晶輝奪目,室內傳出香氣芬芳久久不散, 媽祖出生後,一直到了滿月都不曾哭泣,十分的安靜乖巧,故家人將 媽祖取名為「默」,其家人稱呼祂為 林默娘。

It is said that when Matsu was born, the room was filled with a brilliant light, and the smell of the fragrance of fresh blossoms emanating throughout the room. As a newborn, she was strangely silent and did not cry at all during the first month of her life. This led her parents to nickname her Mo (which means "silent"). The family called the baby Lin Mo Niang.



  媽祖八歲的時候,便開始研讀經典書籍,已經能理解在文章中所表達的意義。

At the age of eight, Matsu began to read books, fully understanding the meaning of the text that she was reading.

  媽祖十歲的時候,不同於一般同齡還在玩耍的孩子,已能定心不受外界干擾,專心一致的誦經禮佛。

At the age of ten, she was found reciting Buddha scripture. At this point she could focus on her recitation in order to be in the moment to avoid distraction from external factors.

  十三歲時,有一名玄通道士來到林府拜訪,見 媽祖天資聰穎,因此傳授「玄微秘法」, 媽祖見微知著,馬上就融會貫通,運用「玄微秘法」為人預知禍福、趨吉避凶。

At the age of thirteen, a mysterious Taoist priest visited the Lin Family and observed that Matsu was both talented and intelligent. The Taoist Priest could see Matsu’s potential, so the Taoist Priest taught Matsu the “mysterious secret law."

  十六歲時,在鄉里發生疫病傳染, 媽祖研斷是鄉里的飲水井出了問題,於是便深入井中探查原因,於井中發現造成病源的鼠疫,將其排除後,並於其中尋獲不知何時藏於井中的古藉仙書與銅符, 媽祖仔細鑽研後,至此能通靈變化,驅邪救世。



At the age of sixteen, an unknown disease began to spread throughout the village where Matsu and her family lived. Matsu went out to investigate what was causing the spread of disease and determined that the drinking water from the wells was questionable. By looking into the drinking wells, Matsu concluded that the source of the disease was actually the plague. However, the plague wasn’t all that Matsu had discovered. In the drinking wells, Matsu also found by accident copper coins and a few Taoist books filled with descriptions of ‘secret powers’. Being the studious and intelligent person that she was, she studied the books as fast as she could and learned how to change the spirit world and how to perform exorcisms.

  同年九月, 媽祖父兄渡海,此時 媽祖正操作著紡織機織布中,突然閉目臉色頓變,在一旁 媽祖的母親覺得很奇怪,於時便上前將 媽祖呼醒, 媽祖睜眼醒來後,哭泣的說:「阿父無恙,兄沒矣」。

In September of the same year, Matsu’s father and brother went on a journey across the sea. At the time, Matsu was relaxing and weaving fabrics. Suddenly, her eyes closed and the expression on her face changed completely. Seeing this, Matsu's mother felt uncomfortable and quickly woke Matsu up. Matsu woke up crying and said "Something happened. Father is unharmed, but my brother did not make it".

  原來, 媽祖父兄渡海遇到船難, 媽祖靈魂出竅飛身前去救援,因中途被母親喚醒,只救到父親,失去將兄長救起的機會。

It turned out that her father and brothers’ boat had been sinking. Sensing that this was happening to her family members, Matsu’s soul fled to go rescue them. However, because her mother suddenly woke Matsu up, she only had the chance to save her father and did not have time to save her brother.

  隨後與母親及兄嫂渡海尋找兄長的遺體,行至海中突然水色澄清,兄長的遺體浮上水面。

After that, Matsu, her mother, and sister-in-law went across the sea to find her brother’s body. Suddenly, the sea water turned clear and her brother’s body was seen floating on the water’s surface.

  二十一歲,莆田發生大旱,此時 媽祖為人預知禍福、趨吉避凶,被眾人敬仰信賴,聲名遠播,莆田縣府前來請 媽祖求雨, 媽祖見縣府平時德行不佳,常對其夫人大聲揍罵,因此拒絕祈雨。要求縣府先更改習性,縣府為此感到不悅而離去。

At the age of Twenty-one, a massive and serious drought hit Putian. It was so bad that the county government asked Matsu to worship for rain. As much as Matsu wanted to help Putian and specifically the Putian people, Matsu felt the county governor was immoral and knew he often abused his wife. When the governor approached Matsu, she asked him to change his attitude and his ways, but the governor became angry and walked out. Matsu had no choice and ended up refusing to pray for rain.

  經過了數十日,縣府反省思考, 媽祖的教誨十分有道理,下定決心改變習性善待夫人,隨後再次專程前往拜訪 媽祖,親自向 媽祖請罪,並誠懇的請求 媽祖為百姓祈雨, 媽祖感受到縣府懺悔的誠心,於是便向上天祈雨,不久後果然天降甘霖,水深三尺,官府據此上表朝庭稱頌,稱「神姑功德」。

After a few months of reflection, the Governor had a change of heart to what Matsu had said during their initial meeting. He quickly made a special trip to visit Matsu to ask for her forgiveness and to apologize for how disrespectful he had acted before. Matsu felt the governor’s apology was sincere, so she prayed for the rain to come, as the governor had asked. Soon after, it started raining, and rained so much that three feet of water accumulated. The governor was so happy that he submitted Matsu’s achievement to the Emperor in order to mark the achievement as a "Goddess merit."



  二十三歲,鄉里間傳聞,在西北方山上有二神怪,出沒為祟,鄉里人心惶惶,眾人終日擔心害怕,便懇請 媽祖收伏神怪。於是 媽祖單獨一人前往西北方山上,果然於山上尋得二神怪持著武器不斷吆喝, 媽祖試圖勸服無效,神怪仍不斷吆喝,於是 媽祖揚起手中絲帕四兩撥千斤,二神怪便無法再拿穩武器,武器雙雙掉到地上,同時二神怪被絲帕一拂倒地不能再爬起,二神怪見 媽祖神通廣大便誠心悅服,至此臣服為左右二將,號 金精將軍千里眼、 水精將軍順風耳。



At the age of Twenty-three, rumors started to spread through the village that there were two demons in the northwest mountains. As the rumor went, these demons were looking for destruction. The people in the village started to panic and urged Matsu to go to mountain to see if the rumors were true. Eventually, Matsu could no longer say no to the villager’s pleas and decided to go alone to the mountains. When she got to the mountains, she found that the rumors were true. Not soon after arriving, she quickly found herself face to face with the two demons who had both arms up, an axe in one hand, and was shouting the most horrible sounds. Matsu tried to calm them down, but they did not listen to what she had to say. With no other choice, Matsu waved her silk handkerchief, and suddenly the two monsters dropped their axes and fell to the ground. Seeing Matsu’s power first hand, the two monsters in turn showed sincerity, loyalty, and obedience to Matsu. By doing so, the monsters had earned Matsu’s trust and friendship, so she hired them as her guardian generals. One guardian, Qianliyan, always standing guard on her left, and one guardian, Shunfeng’er, always standing guard to her right. Qianliyan, as his name implies, was Matsu’s eyes, as he could see for 1,000 miles. On the other hand, Shuangfeng’er was Matsu’s ears, as he could hear any sound that was carried in the wind.

  媽祖後來又收服常在海上興風作浪的海晏公,任命海晏海公為 媽祖部下總管,統領十八位水闕仙班,每當海上行船者有危難時,虔誠禱告求救, 媽祖座下十八位水闕仙班的使者,皆能前往救護,護衛海上船民的安危,這也是信徒尊奉 媽祖為海神的原故。

Later on, Matsu made Hai Yan Gong, the powerful sea monster who often created treacherous sea storms, her operations leader. As operations leader, Hai Yan Gong commanded a team of eighteen ocean guardians. When boats on the sea hit rough weather, were in critical condition, and asked for help, his team of guardians were always able to go rescue the people in time.

  媽祖二十四歲時,在莆田地區發生大疫病,連莆田的縣官也染病,官府的人告訴縣官,在湄洲海濱,有一位神姑神通廣大,能起死回生、救災救難,於是莆田縣官親自齋戒淨身,誠心的親自拜訪祈求 媽祖解救眾生, 媽祖嘆道:「此乃天數,不敢抗天。」。

At the age of twenty-four, an epidemic spread across the entire Putian County. Even the Putian governor got infected by the disease. One of the government officials told the governor in the Meizhou City seashore area that there was a powerful Goddess who would be able to cure the epidemic and bring life back to Putian County. Upon hearing this, the Governor fasted and visited Matsu to ask her to rescue Putian County and its people. However, there was nothing Matsu could do this time. She told the Governor that succumbing to the plague was the fate of people and that she was not able to go against the fate decided by the gods.

  莆田縣官苦苦哀求,人民苦難,死生唯有神姑能救,希望神姑悲憫萬民。

The Governor pleaded with Matsu and pleaded for the Putian people’s life. It was unfortunate that life and death was up to the Goddess’ desire, but he was sincerely hopeful that Matsu would be compassionate towards his people.

  媽祖念及此位莆田縣官素來以仁慈治理對待百性,又肯誠心代替百姓懺悔,便出手相助,取菖蒲九節,並書寫符咒,囑付將符貼於染病者的大門上,再煎蒲飲之,患疫病者皆痊癒。

After Matsu witnessed the Governor’s mercy for his people and his willingness to repent for them, Matsu changed her mind. She then took the calamus nine scripture to write spells. She told everyone to affix the spells to the door of anyone’s house who was hit by the epidemic, and then cook calamus nine soup for them to drink. Everyone listened to Matsu’s words and life in Putian quickly recovered.

  媽祖二十六歲時,當年正月後開始下雨,直至五月綿綿不停,閩南、江浙一帶盡成水國,官方上奏朝庭,拜請神姑解救。

At the age of Twenty-six, Fujian and Zhejiang province experienced non-stop rain from January to May, leading to deep floods throughout the regions. The local officials informed the Emperor of their dire situation in hopes of asking Matsu to help save their lives.

  媽祖言:「此仍皇天降災,皆因人間積惡。」。

Matsu heard of the flooding and said, “this disaster is the heavenly action of the god in direct response to the sinful acts of human kind, so there is nothing I can do.”

  「此念萬民苦難,而為民請命。」。於是便設壇焚香焚符當空禱告,忽然一陣大風吹來,眾人看到遍佈於空中的濃雲散去停止下雨,並看到雲間有龍攀升而去,自此解除水患。

Matsu always cared about the suffering of human kind and wanted to pray for them before making her journey to the mountains. She lit some incense to make a prayer to the heavens. Suddenly a burst of strong wind blew, the clouds scattered, and one could just make out a magnificent dragon flying away.



  二十八歲 九月八日

  媽祖告知家人,喜好清靜,不喜歡居住在凡塵,明日重陽時,要登上高山。

At the age of Twenty eight, on September 8th, Matsu told her family, “After thinking about this for some time, I’ve decided to head to the high mountains tomorrow. I like the quiet and I don’t like living with mortals, so I think this will be best for me.”

  隔日早晨,焚香講經後,告訴姊姊們此行登山遙遠,因此不希望姊姊們同行,但神情顯得略有悲傷,眾人不明所以,乃笑著安慰 媽祖出行登山。

The next morning, after lighting the incense and reading her books, Matsu told her sisters that she was planning a long trip to the mountains and did not want them to come with. It was apparent that Matsu was a little sad, but nobody knew why. Doing what sisters do best, they comforted Matsu with their love and wished her a safe trip to the mountains.

  二十八歲 九月九日

  媽祖與兩位護法將軍出行登山,至湄峰最高處,在白日裡飛昇上天,事後屢顯神蹟,凡有危難者,誠心禱告,必得護祐,顯靈傳聞不斷。

At the age of twenty-eight, on September 9th, Matsu and her two generals traveled to the peak of the Maifeng. Then, in spectacular fashion, Matsu ascended and flew to the heavens. After Matsu made it to the heavens, people experienced many repeated miracles, and anyone who made a sincere prayer to Matsu was blessed.

  後人建祠祭祀,神威靈驗,受信徒敬仰。

Belivers started to build temples for worship, for community, and as a place to offer the heavenly gods, including Matsu, the respect they deserved.

  自北宋開始神蹟不斷,經宋高宗封為靈惠夫人,成為朝廷官方承認的神祇,並在元代被封為「天妃」,1680年,清康熙十九年,封為護國庇民妙靈昭應安仁普濟天妃,於1684年,康熙二十三年,加封為「天后」。

Since the beginning of the Northern Song Dynasty, constant miracles occurred. The miracles were credited to Matsu, and because of this, the Song Emperor appointed her as the “Goddess Madam Ling Hui”. After the appointment, Matsu officially became the Goddess recognized by the Emperor and the central government. In the Yuan Dynasty Matsu was called "Tianfei", and then in 1680, the 19th year under the rule of Qing Dynasty Emperor, Kangxi, Matsu was appointed and recognized as the “Heaven Goddess Princess” (庇民妙靈昭應安仁普濟天妃Piming Miaoling Zhaoying Anren Puji Tianfei). Four years later in 1684, then the 23rd year under the rule of Emperor Kangxi, Matsu was again promoted. This time to “Heaven Goddess Queen” (天后).

  媽祖信仰,由閩南往東亞及東南亞沿海地域傳播,包括中國、台灣、日本、泰國、馬來西亞、新加坡、越南…等地,至今更遍及全世界,非洲、美洲都有恭奉 媽祖的廟宇。

Since the start, Matsuism has spread from the South Fujian province to East and Southeast Asian coastal areas, which include China, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and many other places. Today, the religion is practiced in about 1,500 temples in 26 different countries across the world (source: Wikipedia).



媽祖封號 Matsu’s Title

  宋代 媽祖履顯神蹟,助捕海盜、救旱災、救瘟疫、退水患,朝庭四次加封夫人,並累封至妃爵。

As you now know, during the Song Dynasty, Matsu made many miracles happen. She helped catch pirates, and saved people from devastating plagues, dreadful floods, and treacherous droughts. Also during that time, Matsu was recognized and promoted to different levels of Goddess four times; from Madam Goddess to Goddess Princess.

  元代、明代, 媽祖護祐航海,履顯神蹟,官民不斷上表朝庭,晉封至天妃。

In the Yuan Dynasty and Ming Dynasty, Matsu again blessed human kind with many miracles. For her service, Matsu was recognized and appointed to “Tian Fei” (Heaven Goddess Princess).

  清代,康熙二十三年,加晉封至天后,並諭旨州縣官府春秋祭祀,此後清代歷任皇帝又陸續加封十三次,使 媽祖成為所有神明中封號最長的神明。

During the Qing Dynasty, in the 23rd year of rule under Emperor Kangxi, Matsu was recognized and appointed to “Heaven Goddess Queen” (天后) and the edict of the National Spring and Autumn Worship. After that, the subsequent emperors of the Qing Dynasty recognized her thirteen additional times, which made Matsu the god with the longest title.

  最長的封號,共62個字,由清代咸豐皇帝加封:

With the last appointment made by the Qing Dynasty Emperor Xianfeng, this title is a total of 62 words.

護國庇民妙靈昭應宏仁普濟福佑群生諴感鹹孚顯神贊順垂慈篤祜安瀾利運澤覃海宇恬波宣惠道流衍慶靖洋錫祉恩周德溥衛漕保泰振武綏疆天后之神。



天上聖母尊稱的來源
The origin of the name “God Mother of Heaven”

  第一個說法,見於連橫所著的台灣通史。

Refer to the book “The history of Taiwan” by Mr. Hen Lian

  清代,康熙十九年,閩浙總督姚啟聖奏:「蕩平海島,神佑靈異,請賜崇封」,遂封 天上聖母。

In one version it is said that in the 19th year under the rule of Emperor Kangxi, the Governor of Fujian and Zhejiang, Yao Qishen, wrote to the Emperor "Matsu made this island peaceful with her super natural powers. Please do anything you can to officially recognize her.” Trusting the Governor’s personal opinion, Emperor Kangxi then recognized and appointed Matsu as “The God Mother of the Heaven”.

  或是明朝崇禎年間,所封「天仙聖母青靈普化碧霞元君」的簡稱。

In another version it is said that Matsu’s name, “The God Mother of the Heaven” was appointed during the Ming Dynasty by Emperor Chongzhen. She was given the short name of angel of the holy spirit of “Bixia Yuan Jun” (天仙聖母青靈普化碧霞元君).

參考資料:天妃顯聖錄

Chinese story editor: October , 2003
中文故事彙整編篆:施勝台顧問(Mr. Shengtai Shi)
         李鼎賜(Mr. DingCih Lee)
English translation: September , 2017
英文版編整翻譯:Ms. Liling Chen(陳立玲)
        Mr. Tom Shu(舒廷宇)

     

  



  



  



  





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