Dimu Niangniang, a goddess of earth, is only in Taiwan. She is also called Dimu Zunshen (地母尊神). Regarding to the record of Dimu temple in Puli (埔里), it seems originated from a devotee of Luantang (鸞堂
), phoenix hall, a term referring to the place where a kind of spiritual writing ritual is held in. The devotee’s name is Liang Zhuanxing (梁傳興).He was the people in the period of Japan reign. At first, he got a book, named Dimu zhenjing (地母真經), the Genuine scripture of Dimu. It is said that the scripture was originated from Shanxi province (陝西), mainland China. After he got the Dimu zhenjing, he devoted himself in chanting it. In August, 1916, there was a huge earthquake striking in Puli. Fortunately, before it occured, Liang and his family member got a message from the goddess Dimu Niangniang. She made inside of Liang’s censer burning without reason as a warning. All of Liang’s family escaped from the catastroph. After this event, Liang established a shrine of Dimu Niangniang in his house. In 1937, his son Liang Rensheng (梁任生) moved Liang’s house and the temple to Baohu Ku (寶湖堀) where the temple is located in. The statue of Dimu Niangniang was also set. In 1945, a medium named Zhang Jinying (張金英) was possessed by Dimu Niangniang. She ordered the devotees should expand the temple and open to the public. In 1947, the location was chosen and the temple was rebuilt. The new temple was named Tiandi Tang, the Heaven and Earth Hall. Dimu Niangniang’s birthday is October, eighteenth in Chinese lunar calendar.
Some people thought that Dimu Niangniang is originated from another ancient Chinese earth goddess, Hou Tu (后土). It is also said that she is Jiutian Xuannu (九天玄女). However, the evidence is not strong enough. According to the content of Dimu zhenjing, the religious ideas of it are closed to Wuji Laomu (無極老母). Besides, the ethical codes in it are Confuian. It is an important character among Luantang in Taiwan. The only difference between Dimu temple and Luantang is the dedicated god. Almost all of the Luantang in Taiwan is dedicated to Enzhu Gong (恩主公), Guan yu (關羽). In other words, Dimu Niangniang would be originated from Luantang, a popular sect in Chinese popular religion.
Today, Dimu temple is flourishing in Taiwan. There are various temples dedicated to Dimu Niangniang. Maybe the reason is in relation of the electronic industry. The most famous devotee of Dimu Niangniang is Stan Shih (施振榮), the founder of Acer company. He became the devotee of Dimu Niangniang because of his mother, a single mum raising him up. When the company was just founded, a huge bunchs of IC chips were lost. Shih’s mother and all the family prayed to Dimu Niangniang. Finally, the IC chips were got back. As a result, Shih and some of the company member became the devotees of Dimu Niangniang. This is a famous story about Dimu Niangniang in Taiwan.
Keywords: Dimu Niangniang, the Goddess of Earth, Dimu zhenjing
1.《地母真經》 (另開新視窗) http://www.timu.org.tw/intro_scripture.php