It is claimed that the goddess Mazu, a Chinese sea goddess, is
the goddess most celebrated in modern times, with the number of her devotees currently
estimated at over 100 million and more than 1,500 temples devoted to her worship.
Known by many names and titles, her name Mazu (Ma Tsu), means
mother. Like Kuan Yin she is a goddess of compassion, one who is willing to intercede on
the behalf of those in distress. But she is also revered for her courage, her willingness
to fight for her principles.
It is likely that she was the goddess who is recognized today as
Mizu-Gami, or Me-Gami, the "goddess of karate".
A few legends tell that she was sprang from the urine of the great
creator goddess Nu Kua, but many experts believe that Mazu may have originally been a real
woman, born around 960 A.D. to a devout Buddhist family that lived on a small island.
This girl, Lin Mo, showed an amazing spirit and mind and was accepted to study with an
elderly Taoist priest who, aware of her precocity, took her as a pupil when she was only
thirteen. She blossomed under his tutelage and soon amazed everyone by developing
"second sight", an awareness of distant events that one usually has no way of
Mazu was also blessed with extraordinary powers and was known to
calm storms and rescue sailors who were in danger. She was proclaimed a bodhisattava (in
Buddhism, a person who has attained perfection but elects to remain on earth to help
Lin Mo agreed to marry only if the man could defeat her in a match
of Chinese boxing, a skill she had obviously mastered. She remained undefeated, and
unmarried, throughout her brief life.
At the age of 28, Lin Mo told her parents that she must leave
them, walked to a nearby mountaintop where witnesses reported she was encircled by a dense
fog of clouds that lifted her up into the heavens and transforming her into a magnificent
The goddess Mazu (Matsu), more than any other of the Chinese goddesses, moves us
toward reconciliation....with family, with nature, and with both the masculine and
feminine elements present in our personalities. Most importantly, she propels us
toward an integration of mind, body, and spirit.