Qingshui Zushi (清水祖師, 1045-1101), the Master of Clear Water, is known locally as Zushi-Gong (袓師公) in Taipei basin. He was a Buddhist monk in Northern Sung dynasty and born in Yongchun(永春), Fujian(福建) and stayed at Qingshui(清水), Anshi(安溪) during most of his life until he was dead. That is why he called Qingshui Zushi.
The story of Qingshui Zushi from a Buddhist monk becoming a deity of popular religion is related to the magical power of him. According to his biography, Qingshui Zushi became a monk in Dawun temple(大雲院). Later, he went to be the Zen Master Ming(明禪師)’s disciple in Dajinsan(大靜山). After he was enlightened, he was devoted to benefiting social by constructing bridges and paving roads. When it was 1083, a drought caused severe damage at Anshi(安溪). Master was invited by the people of to pray rain for Anshi. Qingshui Zushi made it and he was well known of his magical power. People in Anshi asked him to stay and be the abbot of Qingshui yen(清水巖). Qingshui Zushi stays there until he was dead.
There are many magical stories about Qingshui Zushi. Qingshui Zushi is also called Wumin Zushi(烏面祖師), the Dark Face Master, because he fights with a ghost in a cave. He defeat the ghost. However, in the fighting, the ghost sets a fire to smoke out Master. Though it does not work but Master’s face becoming dark. As a monk with magical power, it is the major factor of Qingshui Zushi transforming from a Buddhist monk to a deity of popular religion. Regarding to the records about Qingshui Zushi in the following dynasty, when there was a drought, plague, locust plague, grouped outlaws, Qingshui Zushi as a deity was prayed by people. Apparently, protecting people from the disaster is the main function of Qingshui Zushi as a deity.
In Taiwan, the belief on Qingshui Zushi was introduced by the residents from Anshi, the area where Qingshui Zushi originated. Qingshui Zushi also presented his magical power in Taiwan and got his other title. Qingshui Zushi was called Luobi Master(落鼻祖師, the Master dropping nose). It was said that in the Tongzhi period. An earthquake happened. At the same time, the statue of Qingshui Zushi was carried in a procession circled Shiman(石門, Stone Gate), in the Northern Taiwan. Because the statue’s nose of Qingshui Zushi was dropped suddenly, people was seeing the event and not staying home when earthquake happened. People escaped from the accident. People thought it a grace from Qingshui Zushi and named him as Luobi Master. It was also said that the statue of Qingshui Zushi dropped its nose when there was the Battle between Qing(清) and France. As a result, Taiwan army defeated French navy. It could be said that the name, Luobi Master, represented Qingshui Zushi indeed localized in Taiwan.
Most of the temples dedicated to Qingshui Zushi are located in the northern Taiwan. There are three major temples. They are Changfu yen(長福巖) in Sanxia(三峽), Qingshui yen (清水巖) in Manka(艋舺) and Dansui(淡水). They are also called Zushi temple. Zushi temples in Dansui and Sanxia are famous of the huge festival. Changfu yen is famous of Thai Di Gong(殺豬公) festival.
Qingshui Zushi, Luobi Master, Qingshui yen