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臺南市中西區北極殿玄天上帝(陳美華攝)
 
玄天上帝,全稱「北方真武玄天上帝」,也作「北極玄天上帝」。此外,尚有「玄武大帝」、「北極大帝」、「北極佑聖真君」、「開天大帝」、「真武神」、「元武神」、「開天仙帝」、「黑帝」等稱呼,簡稱「北帝」、「真武大帝」或「玄天上帝」,俗稱「上帝公」、「上帝爺」或「帝爺公」。
玄天上帝和中國自古以來的星神信仰、宇宙觀有關。玄武大帝的稱呼即源於此。玄武一詞,原指二十八星宿中北斗七星,即斗、牛、女、虛、危、室、壁七星的合稱,又因為這七顆星排列形狀如龜,玄武古代的形象亦作龜,或龜蛇合體。玄武也和青龍、白虎、朱雀合稱四獸或四靈,四種動物分別對應東、西、南、北四個方位,以龜蛇為代表的玄武除了象徵北方,也和水族有關,以黑色為象徵,是以有黑帝之稱,也兼海神或水神。此外,玄武也和天蓬、天猶及翔聖並稱為四聖,是綜理北方的神祇。在宋代以前,作為玄天上帝前身的玄武,是龜蛇合體的星君。
玄天上帝大約在七世紀左右開始成為人格神,道士描述他「被髮黑衣,仗劍蹈龜蛇,從者執黑旗」,受上天封為將軍。1018年宋真宗時,官方授予「真武靈應真君」的頭銜,由玄武而成真武,並建立官。1304年時,元統治時,真武成為「玄天元聖仁威上帝」,此一稱號後來變成我們今天熟悉的玄天上帝。玄天上帝農曆3月3日的誔辰在南宋時是全國重要的宗教節慶活動。除了因為道教,玄天上帝的發展從最初的龜蛇合體,成為人形化之外,玄天上帝的傳說也受佛教影響有其轉世的故事。玄天上帝本來是先天一炁所化,託胎淨樂國皇后善勝的身體中,降生變成人間的王子,即淨樂王太子,長大後因為閱讀經書有所體悟,經神仙現身感召,辭親到武當山修煉,歷經種種考驗,最後修煉功成飛升至天上,奉玉皇大帝的命令鎮守北方,披髮赤足,以黑色旗幟為號。後重返人間,降伏世間的妖魔,發生許多靈應故事,包括顯靈於宋仁宗前,幫助文彥博討平貝州的叛亂等等情節,相關內容皆收錄於《玄天上帝啟聖錄》、《大明玄天上帝瑞應圖錄》等文獻中。
        明時皇室更加大力推廣玄天上帝,傳說明開國時,在明太祖與陳友諒的洞庭湖的大戰裡,玄天上帝以龜蛇現身,舞軍心,明太祖因而大勝乃得立國。後來明成祖的靖難之役,也得玄天上帝的翼助而成事登上皇位。後人認為明宮廷崇奉玄天上帝與武當道士涉入明政事頗深有密切關係。此外,明流行的小說,余象斗所著《北方眞武祖師玄天上帝出身志傳》的故事,更在官方的提倡外為玄天上帝的傳播加以薪火。值得一提的是玄天上帝的職能在臺灣的轉變,明,玄天上帝在臺灣是水神,但到了近代則成為屠戶的保護神,一說此轉變與清貶低玄天上帝的政策有關,也有可能與民間流行的傳說有關,且發生於日治時。可以確定自日治時後,玄天上帝的傳說已變成本是泉州張姓屠戶,事母至孝,因為母親喜食豬肉,張屠戶盡心供養多事殺豬,但在其母死後,卻感悟自己殺業太重,自殺懺悔,腸化為蛇、胃化為龜,自己化為玄天上帝。
玄天上帝在明鄭時的台灣的宇數遠多於媽祖、關公、吳真人等,其時為臺灣最主要的信仰。最早於嘉南地區大約興建有四至八座玄天上帝,例如台南市民權路上的北極殿有明寧靖王書寫的匾額,靈佑宮亦有明駐軍之說。至清代時,嘉南地區已擴充至十多座到二十座之譜,並擴展至臺灣其它地區,例如南投、台中等地區亦建有主祀玄天上帝的宇。日治初的統計全臺有三十四座左右。民國49年時全臺灣約有267座,至2002年時成長至約600座左右分佈於全臺。目前亦成立有全國性社團「中華道教玄天上帝弘道協會」,以推展道教信仰為宗旨。
 
南投縣草屯鎮玉皇宮玄天上帝(陳美華攝)

關鍵詞
玄天上帝、玄武、真武、帝爺公
 
考資料
1.肖海明。2006。《真武圖像研究》。北京:文物出版社。
2.蔡相輝。1983。〈明鄭台灣之玄武崇祀〉。《明史研究專刊》。台北:大立。頁171-181。
3.莊宏誼。2007。〈宋元時道教玄天上帝信仰與傳說演變〉。《保生文化祭道教神祇學術研討會論文集》:6-37。
4.王見川、皮慶生等著。2010。〈真武神〉。《中國近世民間信仰》。上海:上海人民出版社,頁206-232。

Xuantian shandi is also known as Zhenwu(真武) or Xuanwu(玄武), the Dark Warrior. The title Dark Warrior is origin from ancient cosmology and constellation. In Han dynasty, As Xuanwu, Xuantian shandi is a symbol of star not a warrior. People regarded Xuanwu’s outlook as a combination of snake and turtle. The combination represented the northern pole and the Big Dipper(北斗七星). It was because of people thought that the seven stars line as a turtle. Xuanwu is also linked with the direction. They are called siling(四靈). Siling are spirits corresponding to the cardinal directions represented as four kinds of animal. Xuanwu is one of them. The others are the Green Dragon (青龍, qinglong), White Tiger(白虎, baihu), Red Sparrow(朱雀, zhuque). Because Xunawu is corresponding to the north, he is also called He di(黑帝), Black Emperor. Xunawu is also as a deity administrating the creatures in the ocean and river. Basically, Before Sung Dynasty, Xunawu was represented as a creature mixed by turtle and snake.
Xunawu became Xuantian shandi, an individual figure, by 7th century. Taoist described him as a figure having unbounded long hair, wearing black robe, holding a sword and stand on a turtle and a snake. His followers flied black flags. By 1018, Sung royal courts titled him as Perfected Warrior, Numinous Response Perfected Lord(真武靈應真君, Zhenwu lingying zhenjun) and founded a temple dedicated to him. Xunanwu became a warrior and general. By 1304, When it was Yuan reigned, Xunawu was titled the Primordial Sage of the Dark Heaven, Benevolent and Majestic Highest Emperor (玄天元聖仁威上帝, Xuantian yuansheng renwei shangdi). A title we are familiar with.
Xuantian shandi became an individual not only in Taoist way but also Buddhist. There is another story about him. Xuantian shandi was origin a prince in a kingdom. When he grew up, he was inspired by a Taoist scripture and divinity. Then he left his kingdom for Wudan Mountain and pursued Taoist practice. He experienced many trials and suffering. Finally, he became a divinity and flying to the heaven. Jade Emperor decreed him as a general and dispatched him to guard the heaven ‘s northern side. Xuantian shandi is not only as a general in the heaven but also as an exorcist in this world. Occasionally he returns to the earth helping people. It was said he made his presence in Sung dynasty when there was a rebel in Bei province(貝州) and he assisted the general Wen YenBo(文彥博) suppressing the rebel.
In Ming Dynasty, Xuantian shandi still made his divine presence before Ming Emperor and be propagated by the royal court as well. When the founder emperor Ming Taizu(明太祖) was in a decisive battle with his main enemy Chen Yulian(陳友諒) by the side of Dongting Lake (洞庭湖), Xuantian shandi showed up and animated the army. Finally, Ming Taizu won the battle and founded Ming dynasty. Xuantian shandi kept his privilege again. No doubt one of the reasons is that the Taoist in Wudan Mountain was closed to the royal court and involved deep to the interior affairs of royal house. Wudan Mountain is the main Taoist temple dedicated to Xuantian shandi. Besides the official propagation, popular novels helped lot as well. The novel, Biography of the Northern Zhenwu’s origin(北方眞武祖師玄天上帝出身志傳),written by Yu Xiangduo(余象斗) is one of them.
In Taiwan, the temples dedicated to Xuantian shandi Where there is under the reign of Zheng Chenggong(鄭成功,1624~1662) were more than the temples dedicated to Mazu(媽祖). It was the main deity enshrined and prayed by peoples. Apparently it was because of Ming royal court favoring on Xuantian shandi. There were about four to eight Xuantian shandi ‘s temples scatter on the plain of Tainan(台南) and Chiayi(嘉義). The number is increased in Qing dynasty. There were about more than ten to twenty temples dedicated to Xuantian shandi. The belief on Xuantian shandi was also spread to other area, such as Nantou(南投) and Taichung(台中). In the reign of Japan government, the numbers was up to 34. It was estimated 267 by 1960’s. According to an investigation in 2003, there were about 600 in Taiwan.
Not only the belief on Xuantian shandi developed but also the function and the legend changed in Taiwan. Originally, Xuantian shandi was a tutelage deity of sea and river. However, he became the tutelage deity of butcher. It was said that Xuantian shandi was a butcher when he was living. He was filial piety to his mother who was favoring eating pig’s internal organs. He offered many meals to his mother. However, after his mother was dead, he regretted that he killed many lives. He committed suicide as repentance and his intestines and stomach became a snake and a turtle. He transformed to Xuantian shandi. Xuantian shandi is popular today, there is a national association named The Mission Association of Xuantian shandi in Chinese Taoism(中華道教玄天上帝弘道協會)that identified itself as a Taoist association and goaled on promoting Taoist teaching.
 
Keywords:
Dark Warrtor, Zhenwu, North Pole Temple, Wudan Mountain
 
考資料
1.肖海明。2006。《真武圖像研究》。北京:文物出版社。
2.蔡相輝。1983。〈明鄭台灣之玄武崇祀〉。《明史研究專刊》。台北:大立出版社。頁171-181。
3.莊宏誼。 2007 。〈宋元時道教玄天上帝信仰與傳說演變〉。《保生文化祭道教神祇學術研討會論文集》:6-37。
4.王見川、皮慶生等著。2010。〈真武神〉。《中國近世民間信仰》。上海:上海人民出版社,頁206-232。
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