Posts Tagged ‘emperor’

Hian Thian Siang Te – God Of Northern Heaven

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Hian Thian Siang Te ~ God Of Northern Heaven

玄天上帝 Xuan Tian Shang Di (Hok Kian: Hian Thian Siang Te) is one of the most popular Chinese God, being honored and worshipped worldwide from Northern to Southern China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Indonesia. Some also regard Him as 上帝公 Shang Di Gong (Siang Te Kong). He ranks amongst the highest Gods, next to Yu Huang Da Di, The Yellow Jade Emperor (Ruler of All Heavens). He is also one of the Four Great Heavenly Gods:

  1. 青天上帝 Qing Tian Shang Di of the East
  2. 殷天上帝 Yan Tian Shang Di of the South
  3. 白天上帝 Bai Tian Shang DI of the West
  4. 玄天上帝 Xuan Tian Shang Di of the North

Hian Thian Siang Te has sovereignty over the Northern Heaven, thus became the highest leader amongst Gods in that region. His image is often portrait stepping on a tortoise and a snake. Xuan Wu is an official God in the Northern region, and symbolizes as snake and tortoise. Hian Thian Siang Te is also known as 真武大帝 Zhen Wu Da Di (Cia Bu Tay Tee) who is in fact, Xuan Wu. On the left and right are His two assistants, General Zhao and General Kang.

The worship of Hian Thian Siang Te began to flourish during the Ming Dynasty. It was stated that during the revolution of Zhu Yuan Zhang (the founder of Ming Dynasty), he once suffered a major defeat during a battle which led him to hide in a Shang Di Miao Temple in Wu Tang Shan mountain area of Hu Bei province. Due to the protection of Hian Thian Siang Te, Zhu Yuan Zhang managed to escape from the Mongolian troops who were sweeping out the remaining of his army.

Again due to the aid of Hian Thian Siang Te, Zhu Yuan Zhang succeeded in overcoming the Mongolian invasion, and overthrown the Yuan Dynasty. He established the Ming Dynasty after defeating all of his enemies in trying to reunite China.

To honor Hian Thian Siang Te’s accomplishments, merits and gratitude for His protection, Zhu Yuan Zhang then built a temple of honor to Hian Thian Siang Te in the capital of Nan Jing (Nan King) and in Bu Tong San Mountain. Since then, Bu Tong San become a holy place for the Taoists. Also, the worship of Hian Thian Siang Te expanded throughout the country, and most temples in major cities honored Him, with image made from solid brass found up to present day. In addition, He is also regarded as the Protector of a Country/Nation.

During the regime of Zheng Cheng Gong in Taiwan, many Shang Di Gong temples were established, with the main purpose to uplift the image and authority of the government, and also to become the worship center for both the civil and army. Shang Di Miao temples spread all over the country since then, and amongst the biggest was in Tai Nan, Southern Taiwan, built during the Dutch colony.

Upon the fall of Zheng Cheng Gong’s regime, the Qing Dynasty from Manchu came into power, discrediting Shang Di Gong by claiming that He was actually a repented butcher. The political aim was to morally wipe out the remaining followers of the Ming Dynasty by exploiting tales from the Buddha’s teaching about a repented butcher who cut opened his stomach, removed its content, and then became the Buddha’s follower. The tortoise and snake being stepped were said to be the intestine and body organs of the butcher. Due to that, His rank was reduced to Butchery Protecting Deity. Following that, the building of Siong Te Bio temples were reduced, and there has been only one temple being built in Lao Gu Shi Miao, Tai Nan.

The emperors of Manchu era did indeed admired and honored Hian Thian Siang Te, and this was proven by the building of many temples solely to honor Hian Thian Siang Te within the Forbidden City’s complex, the Emperor Palace in Beijing, which is named Qin An Tian. Another was built in the Resting Palace in Cheng De.

Wu Dang Shan, a holy mountain of Taoists, located in Hu Bei Province, Central China. Since Tang Dynasty era, the temples had been started to be established there. But a massive construction was carried out the government of Emperor Yong Le during Ming Dynasty era. It is not surprised since Xuan Tian Shang di was appointed as the Kingdom’s Guardian Angle.

Among the temples there, the most well known was Yu Xu Gong {Giok Hi Kiong} with Beijing Palace style-building, located  in the Northwest of the main peak of Bu Tong San. Another one was Yu Zhen Gong which was built in the 15th Yong Le Year, in the North foot of Bu Tong San. In this Temple there was homage & statue of Zhang San Feng {Thio Sam Hong], the founder of martial art of self-defense institution-Wu Dang [Bu Tong Pay} branch.

The most complete temple building was Zi Xiao Gong Temple which was located on the Northeast peak, constitutes a center of all series of House of worships in that mountain. Bronze statue Hian Thian Siang Tee, the sculpture of Master Ji (experienced sculptor from Korea who is very popular to foreign countries) placed here.  In this temple could be seen the symbol of Bu Tong Sam Mountain namely Turtle & Snake Statues. Those metal statues represented a turtle which was twisted tightly by a snake. It is said the snake intended to compel the turtle to vomit everything in its belly.

According to belief, such turtle originated from the stomach & the snake from the intestine of Zhen Wu that has changed its appearance. It was narrated that one upon a time in his meditation which was without eating and drinking, Zhen Wu felt his intestine and belly were quarreling. It seemed that a very extreme hunger caused both his body organ blamed each other. Zhen Wu realized if it was left, it could influence the tranquility his heart. In his annoyance, he split his belly and took out thesadi both organs, then threw them out to the grass behind him. Then as if nothing happened, he continued his meditation.

Stomach & intestine, since they everyday heard Zhen Wu recites holy verses of Taoism, gradually had magic power. Both then changed into turtle and snake, and then sneaked into going down the mountain to eat livestock and human being.  Zhen Wu that had become Deity was very fury for this incident. By riding cloud & unsheathed sword he went down the mountain.  His sword’s cut on the back of turtle left scars to present. As since, on the back of turtle were seen scars like sword’s cut. With magic power rope he tied the neck of snake, so that as since the snake’s necks is smaller that its body.

After being conquered, turtle & snake had the Er Jiang position meaning “Two Commanders” and become seat foundation of Zhen Wu Da Di. But, the turtle seemed like still having invisible character. It was recognized by Zhen Wu, he then asked the snake to twist turtle’s body tightly, in order that all objects it swallowed to be vomited again & in order to reveal all crimes that it had ever committed. Up to now, these turtle & snake statues still exist in the rear space of Zi Xiao Gong temple & then it was made logo symbolizing Bu Tong San Mountain.

There was still any 1 the important relic that has relation to Hian Thian Sian Tee, namely a well named Mo Zhen Jing  (a well, the place to sharpen needle). It is reported when Zhen Wu was holding meditation in this mountain, his heart loosened. He then decided to leave that place.  Arrived at the edge of this well, he saw an old woman was sharpening iron pestle. Zhen Wu was surprised, then asked what the intention of the old woman to sharpen the iron pestle. Laughingly, the old woman said that she was sharpening a pestle to make needle for embroidery. Hearing the answer, Zhen Wu just realized the intention behind the old woman’s words. Immediately he went back to the mountain to continue his meditation. The name Mo Zhen Jing, was then being famous. Presently, near the well is built a rangon and statue of old woman is sharpening pestle.

In relation to these turtle & snake, the entrepreneurs of bamboo raft in Taiwan & Hong Kong worshipped to Hian Thian Siang Tee, in order that turtles and snakes in rivers were not courageous to cause wave & rolling wave to threaten their business. In addition to in Taiwan and Hong Kong, worship to Hian Thian Siang Tee has spread to Southeast Asia, particularly in Malaysia Singapore and Indonesia. In Singapore, Wak Hai Cheng Bio Temple in Philip Street is famed for worship to Hian Thian Siang Tee. In Indonesia, nearly every temple provides altar for him.

It is said, the first Hian Thian Siang Tee Temple in Indonesia is Welahan Temple, Central Java. In Semarang, most of temples provide special altars for him. Meanwhile the temple that is specially for Hoan Thian Siang Tee worship as a host is Gerajen & Bugangan Temples

Hian Thian Siang Tee (Zhen Wu Da Di/Cin Bu Tay Tee) is presented as a deity who is wearing golden war cloth by unsheathing a devil conquering sword, both of his without shoes-feet stepped on turtle and snake.

The birthday of Hian Thian Siang Te is commemorated on the 25th of the 2nd month of Lunar year.

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Hian Thian Siang Te - Dewa Langit Utara

Hian Thian Siang Te - Dewa Langit Utara