Sunday, May 15, 2011

Gods And Goddesses: Mazu

Mazu is the goddess of the sea whose name is also spelt as Matsu and born as Lin Moniang. As Mazu is the goddess of the sea, it is not a surprise that she is a popular goddess to go to amongst sailors and fishermen. Mazu also has various titles, “Princess of Supernatural Favour”, “Protector of the Empire and the Brilliantly Outstanding Heavenly Princess”, “Holy Mother of Heaven Above”, “Heavenly Empress” and “Holy Mother in Heaven.”

Two guardians tend to be depicted with Mazu which were originally demons that Mazu subdued and turned into loyal friends. These two demons are Thousand Miles Eye (who is red with two horns) and With-the-Wind Ear (who is green and with one horn).

Mazu herself is depicted in two ways, in a red robe or clothed in jewel-festooned robes which empresses wear along with holding either a ceremonial tablet or jewelled staffed along with a flat topped imperial cap with handing beads on both front and back.

This goddess is said to be born on the twenty-third day of the third lunar month in 960 in which her birthday is celebrated on the same day. Mazu’s parents prayed to the Bodhisattva Guanyin for a son, however she came out as a girl and some legends state that Mazu is a manifestation of Guanyin.

Despite being the goddess of the sea started swimming at the age of fifteen in which Mazu soon became an excellent swimmer. Notably, Mazu wore red garments while standing on shore to help guide fishing boats back home even in dangerous and harsh weather.

During her early teens, Mazu began burning incense and chanting sutras, at sixteen she had the luck to be given a bronze talisman by an immortal and became an immortal herself.
Mazu, at the age of twenty-eight climbed a mountain alone in which at the top she flew to Heaven and became a goddess where she helped fishermen and sailors in distress.

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