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 臺南市新營區太子宮開基中元帥(王素滿攝)

元帥是哪吒的職稱,哪吒源自梵語 nalakūvala,亦音譯作那吒、哪叱、那羅鳩婆、那拏、那吒矩韈囉、哪吒俱伐羅等等,本是佛經中的天神毗沙門之子或孫子。除了中元帥的稱呼外,哪吒在台灣民間還有「太子爺」、「三太子」「羅車」等不同稱號。中元帥是民間宗教裡五營兵將的主帥。所謂的五營兵將,最簡單的意思是由鬼神組成的軍隊,它們負責守護宇所在地域的宇、民眾,聽候法術、儀式專家的差遣,以驅逐地方邪祟。在台南地區有些地方以哪咤為主祀神者,則把中元帥和中營元帥區分開來,中營元帥是五營元帥,同樣姓李,但並非哪吒。
最早哪吒在佛經裡出現,原是一種文學比喻,藉由天神喜獲麟兒哪吒的情景,展現佛陀之父得子的喜悅。後來密教將哪吒化為護法神,補充以更具體的形象,成為天王的三子或孫子,手捧戟或是,追隨天王,奉佛教勅保護佛教。此一形象經轉化後,收入《道藏》的《三教搜神大全》,祂變成托天王李靖之子,仍排行第三,有三頭九眼八臂,足踏盤石。這時的哪吒已和中國的歷史與傳說更進一步結合。哪吒之所以成為中元師,扮演民間宗教宇護衛軍的主將,帶領諸鬼神眾,有著諸多成因。包括佛教經典提供相關神話來源、形象塑造、法術概念等基礎;加以流行的小說如《西遊記》、《封神榜》為之倡導;乃至道教將祂收錄成玉皇大帝座下的仙人,幾股力量交織的結果豐富了哪吒的性格,促成其普遍流傳。
目前全台登錄以哪吒為主祀神者,至少有40座,推估實際數字遠高於此,最知名者為新營太子宮。民間流傳有相關的宗教經典、戲曲,例如《中元帥降魔真經》、《哪吒鬧東海歌》等。高雄近年來組織有「中元帥聯誼會」,與此聯誼會者,以中元帥為主祀神者約有一百多處(2007年資料)。據說哪吒因為腳踏風火輪,象徵敏捷的移動,成為台灣許多職業駕駛的守護神,駕駛們會在車上放置一尊小神像,祈求三太子保祐行車順利平安。目前中元帥三太子,甚至已結合現代電子技術,成為電音三太子。換言之,哪吒三太子與時進行,已是台灣非常流行的守護神。


 臺南市新營區太子宮開基中元帥(王素滿攝)

臺南市新營區太子宮開基中元帥(王素滿攝)


關鍵詞:中元帥、李哪吒、三太子、五營
 
考書目
《北方毘沙門天王隨軍護法儀軌》
《毘沙門儀軌》
明初文獻《三教源流搜神大全》(台北,聯經,1980年8月)
二階堂善弘。1996。〈哪吒太子考〉。《1996年佛學研究論文集》台北:佛光出版社,286-323。
柳存仁。1958。〈毘沙門天王父子與中國小說之關係〉。原刊載《新亞學報》第三卷第二,收入《和風堂文集》卷中。上海:古籍出版社,1991年,頁1045-1094。文字略有改動。
蔡清旭。2007。〈台灣中元帥聯誼會研究〉。新竹:玄奘大學宗教學系碩士在職專班。
李豐楙。2003。〈五營信仰中的中元帥,其原始及衍變〉。《第一屆哪吒學術研討論文集》,(高雄:中山大學清代學術研究中心)。
許宇承。2009。《臺灣民間信仰中的五營兵將》。台北:蘭臺。


Zhongtan Yuanshuai (中元帥), the marshal of Central altar, is Nazha San Taizi (哪咤三太子) who is an Indo deity named Nalakūvala. Nazha is the third son of divine king Li Jin (李靖) in Chinese legend. Zhongtan Yuanshuai is Nazha’s divine official title in Chinese popular religion. Nazha is the leader of five divine battalions which guard a temple of popular religion in Taiwan. The name of these five divine battalions in Taiwan is called Wu-ying (五營), the Five Camps. The Five Camps or battalions are named in directions, including the East (東營), the West (西營), the South (南營), the North (北營), and the Central (中營). The Central altar is the same as the Central Camps which is more specific to designate the place where Nazha dwells in. In short, Zhong-tan, the Central altar is Nazha’s office. In Taiwan, every temple of popular religion is quartered with the Five Camps. In other words, every temple enshrines Nazha as well. There is only one exception. Since Nazha is too popular to be the major god in some temples. When a temple is dedicated to Nazha, the devotees often claim that the marshal of Central altar is not Nazha but another one whose surname coincidentally is Li.
Originally, Nazha was the third son or grandson of Vaisravana, the Heavenly king of the North. He was introduced to Chinese in Buddhist scripture as a literature metaphor which expresses when King Suddhodana, Gautama Buddha’s father, got his new born son, Siddhārtha Gautama, his feeling is so joyful. After Tantra Buddhism was introduced into China, Nazha became more vivid. Still as the third son or grandson of Heavenly king, he held a tower or trident as his weapon. Nazha was a guardian deity of Buddhism. When it was Ming dynasty, Nazha became a major character in popular novel. In the Fengshen Yanyi (封神演義), he was a trouble maker of Heavenly king, Li Jin. Nazha killed the son of Dragon King, Long Wang (龍王), quarreled to Jade Emperor. Eventually, he committed suicide and returned his body to his parents. However, his kind-hearted mother and the master, Taiyi Zhen-ren (太乙真人) helped him to reborn in a lotus and enhanced his spiritual power. As a result, Nazha became a powerful general who assisted Jiang Ziya (羌子牙) to defeat Shang king in the mystical battle between Shang and Zhou kingdom. As a result, Nazha’s image spread in China with the Fengshen Yanyi’s popularity.
As San Taizi, the third prince, Nazha is very popular in Taiwan. San Taizi’s image is a muscular teenager who steps on a ‘wind and fire wheel’, fenghuo lun (風火輪). The wind and fire wheel is a powerful vehicle which can carry San Taizi swiftly to any place wherever he want go. He holds a trident in his right hand and a large golden ring in left hand as his arms. This magical ring is called qian kun quan (乾坤圈), which can change its size freely as San Taizi wishes. On the one hand, San Taizi is so cute that he always smile and young. On another hand, he is a power guardian god and moves quickly and smoothly. As a result, he is so popular in the drivers who drive vehicle as occupation. Most often, the drivers put a small statue of Nazha behind the front shield glass as a guardian god and worship to him for blessing a safe drive.
According to the statistics, there are about forty temples dedicated to Nazha, of which the Taizi temple (太子宮)in Xinying (新營), Tainan county (台南縣) is the most famous. Besides, there are some organizations concerning Nazha in Taiwan. For example, an association in Kaoshung is named Zhongtan Yuanshuai Lian-yi-hui (中元帥聯誼會) that claimed more than 100 temples enrolled as members. Recently, Nazha’s image is even represented as an electro version and showed off in some major occasions. Nazha is an important cultural icon in Taiwan now.
 
Keywords: the marshal of Central altar, Nazha, Nalakūvala, the Five Camps
 
References:
《北方毘沙門天王隨軍護法儀軌》
《毘沙門儀軌》
明初文獻《三教源流搜神大全》(台北,聯經,1980年8月)
二階堂善弘。1996。〈哪吒太子考〉。《1996年佛學研究論文集》台北:佛光出版社,286-323。
柳存仁。1958。〈毘沙門天王父子與中國小說之關係〉。原刊載《新亞學報》第三卷第二,收入《和風堂文集》卷中。上海:古籍出版社,1991年,頁1045-1094。文字略有改動。
蔡清旭。2007。〈台灣中元帥聯誼會研究〉。新竹:玄奘大學宗教學系碩士在職專班。
李豐楙。2003。〈五營信仰中的中元帥,其原始及衍變〉。《第一屆哪吒學術研討論文集》,(高雄:中山大學清代學術研究中心)。
許宇承。2009。《臺灣民間信仰中的五營兵將》。台北:蘭臺。
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