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.
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.
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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