A-Ma Temple: one of three famous Buddha halls in Macao | govt.chinadaily.com.cn

Ten must-visit attractions in Macao

A-Ma Temple: one of three famous Buddha halls in Macao

Updated: Dec 19, 2019 govt.chinadaily.com.cn Print

A-Ma Temple
妈阁庙

Ma Temple, located in the southeast of the Macao Peninsula, is the oldest temple in the area. [Photo/VCG]

Approximately four hundred years ago the Portuguese landed on a sea promontory near a temple. They asked the local inhabitants the name of the land, but the locals misunderstood, thinking that the Portuguese were asking for the name of the temple. So they answered "Ma Ge".

Later, the Portuguese translated the name into "Macao" and used it to refer to the land. A-Ma Temple is one of the three famous Buddha halls in Macao.

The A-Ma Temple was constructed in the year 1488 of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to commemorate Mazu, the sacred sea goddess who blesses the fishermen. It is said that the goddess was called Lin Mo, and that she was born in Putian, Fujian province, and was more intelligent than other children of her age. She could predict good or ill luck and after her death she often helped merchants and fishermen ward off calamities and turn danger into safety.

Now there are a number of folktales about the great goddess narrated in the littoral lands.

The A-Ma Temple offers silence and spectacular views. It contains six main parts which make up a series of classical Chinese architectural treasures; all guarded by stone lions.

Entering it and going across a gateway, visitors will reach the Hongren Hall by a winding path. A statue of Mazu is worshipped here, and it is believed that the hall has the longest history in the complex. [Photo/VCG]

Going ahead, visitors come to the Hall of Avalokitesvara. It was constructed mainly using bricks and stone in a simple style. Compared with the other halls, the Zhengjiao Chanlin (a Buddhist hall) was designed tastefully both in regards to size and architectural style.

Containing not only an ancient architectural complex, A-Ma Temple also possesses a measure of the rich and profound Chinese culture. [Photo/VCG]

It would be worth your while to stay and enjoy the various poems and inscriptions carved on the stone along the cliff. Furthermore, each year, on the birthday of Mazu and on the Chinese New Year, many disciples gather here. They burn lots of incense to pay homage and pray for good fortune.

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