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Chinese Temples Committee
 

Deities

Che Kung - General Che (車公)

Che Kung was said to be a great general in the Song Dynasty (宋朝). He was honoured by the emperor for his great merits in suppressing a rebellion in southern China. After his death, people began worshipping him for his loyalty and bravery.

Hau Wong - Marquis Prince (侯王)

Hau Wong refers to Yeung Leung-jit (楊亮節), a loyal and courageous general. Despite his failing health, he remained in the army to protect the last emperor of Southern Song Dynasty (南宋) who took refuge southwards in Kowloon.

Hung Shing - a God of the Sea (洪聖)

Hung Shing was originally a government official named Hung Hei in Tang Dynasty (唐朝). He promoted the study of astronomy, and geography and established an observatory to observe the meteorological changes. His devotion to work made him die at a young age. After his death, the reigning emperor gave him the posthumous title of "Kwong Lee Hung Shing Tai Wong" (廣利洪聖大王). Legend has it that Hung Shing continued to guard the people against natural disasters on numerous occasions after his death. The government then built temples to worship him as the God of Southern Sea.

Kwun Yum (also named as Guan Yin) - Goddess of Mercy (觀音)

Kwun Yum or Kwun Sai Yum (觀世音) is known for centuries as a deity of sympathy, compassion and mercy, hearing the pleas of those who are suffering. She is worshipped by people of both the Taoist and Buddhist religions. Kwun Yum in the earlier times was a male divinity, but evolved to be a female deity in Tang Dynasty. Arising from a saying that Kwun Yum studied Taoist teachings on lotus blossoms, some Kwun Yum Temples are also called Lin Fa Kung or Palace of Lotus Flower (蓮花宮). Temples dedicated to Kwun Yum are often alternatively known as Shui Yuet Kung or Palace of Water and Moon (水月宮), which stands for all that is quiet and peaceful and detached from the material world.

Mo Tai /Kwan Tai (also named as Guan Di) - God of War (關帝/武帝)

Mo Tai/Kwan Tai was a great warrior under Emperor Liu Bei (劉備) of the Three Kingdoms period (三國). He was a brave and upright person with a passion for reading the historical writings of Confucious about the warring period in East Zhou Dynasty. One day, while he was travelling on the road to get away from the unrests, he met Liu Bei and Zhang Fei (張飛) and became sworn brothers in the Garden of Peach (桃園) to re-establish the Han Dynasty (漢朝). In the battle of Mak Shing (麥城), he was defeated and killed. It was said that after his death, his spirit had performed many miracles to protect the natives in the vicinity of Mount Yuk Chuen (玉泉山). In gratitude for his help, the natives built a temple to worship him.

Pak Tai (also named as Bei Di) - Supreme Emperor of the North (北帝)

Pak Tai, also named Yuen Tin Sheung Tai (玄天上帝)(Supreme Emperor of the Dark Heaven), was a prince of the Shang Dynasty (商朝). During the fall of the Shang Dynasty, the Demon King ravaged the world. The Taoist Primeval Deity (also known as Yuen Chi Tin Chuen (元始天尊) then ordered the Jade Emperor (玉帝) to appoint Pak Tai as the commander of twelve heavenly legions to fight the evil. Pak Tai defeated the Demon King and was subsequently granted the title of Supreme Emperor of the Dark Heaven. In Pak Tai temples, the bronze tortoise and serpent under the feet of Pak Tai's image signifies that the good always prevails over the evil.

Sam Tai Tze/Na Cha (also named as San Taizi/Nazha) - the Third Prince (三太子/哪吒)

Sam Tai Tze who is better known by his real name "Na Cha"(哪吒). He was the third son of a great general in the Chinese legend, Fengshen Yanyi (Deification of the God)《封神演義》. After his death, Na Cha's Taoist teacher reincarnated his spirit in a lotus flower and gave him a spear and a pair of flaming wheels for him to fly about. With these weapons, he helped the future emperor of Zhou Dynasty to overturn the Shang Dynasty. The Jade Emperor awarded him to be the chief commander of the 36 Celestial Generals of the Heaven and guarded the door of the Heaven ever after. He is known for his power to overcome demons and ghosts.

Shing Wong(also named as Cheng Huang) - The City God (城隍)

Shing Wong means a god who protects a city. The responsibility of Shing Wong is to manage the ghosts and spirits of the district under his charge and to maintain peace and order in both the nether and living worlds.

Tam Kung - Sea God Lord Tam (譚公)

Tam Kung was originally a native of Wai Chow (惠州) in Guangdong Province (廣東省) during Yuan Dynasty. When he was 12 years old, he already possessed supernatural powers to command the wind and rain, and cure the sick. His ability to forecast the weather made him a popular deity among the fishermen.

As he became immortal at a young age, images of Tam Kung are made with a boyish appearance in the temples.

Tin Hau (also named as Tien Hou) - Goddess of the Sea (or literally Queen of Heaven)(天后)

Tin Hau (天后) who is also called Matsu (Mother–Ancestor) was a native of Fujian Province. She met a Taoist priest at the age of 13 who taught her how to predict the future and help those who were sick and weak. It was said that she travelled about the sea on a mattress made of reed to save the people who were being drowned. People therefore looked upon her as the goddess for safety on the sea. As Hong Kong was once a fishing village, many fishermen built temples to pray for protection from Tin Hau. Nowadays, over 100 Tin Hau Temples are built in Hong Kong, which make up the largest number of temples honoured in her name among other deities.

Yuk Wong Tai Tai - Jade Emperor (玉皇大帝)

Yuk Wong Tai Tai or the Jade Emperor is the in-charge of the Heaven. According to the Original Deeds of the Lofty Jade Emperor (高上玉皇本行集經), Jade Emperor is the son of the King of the Pure Blissful Kingdom of Lofty Heavenly Lights and Ornaments and of the Empress of Precious Moonlight. He was bright and clever when young, and kind and benevolent as a grown-up. He devoted the entire state treasury to the needy. In the Taoist world, Jade Emperor is the deity of the highest order.