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農曆七月普渡與台灣社會
Ghost Month and the Pudu rite

溫振華/Wen Chen-hua
(台灣師大歷史系教授)
(Professor, Department of History, National Taiwan Normal University)

2001-08-27


A man closes his eyes in prayer while holding a basket
of fruits on the first day of Ghost Month in Lung Shan
Temple in Taipei yesterday. According to legends, the
gates of Hell are opened at the break of dawn on the
first day of the seventh moon, letting the anguished
souls in a world of darkness return to earth to visit
their descendants and enjoy the feasts prepared in
their honor.

在早期的台灣社會中,孤魂野鬼被視為社會
不安的源頭。因此,為安撫無人祭祀的鬼魂
,於每年農曆七月舉辦融合佛、道兩教的普
渡儀式。然而長達一個月的祭典儀式,不僅
代表早期社會對鬼神的敬畏,也傳達了台灣
人民對客死異鄉的孤鬼一種蘊含宗教情懷與
同胞手足般的憐憫之情;十九世紀以後,普
渡祭典的舉行更成為台灣社會區域人際網路
連結的重要媒介。本週「台灣歷史之窗」特
別邀請師大歷史系教授溫振華執筆,介紹此
一融合幽暗與熱鬧的傳統節慶,並述說其在
台灣社會中所獨具之特殊意義。


In early Taiwanese society, wandering ghosts were seen
as the source of social disturbances, and so in order
to placate these souls who had no one to carry out
ceremonies for them, each year in the seventh month of
the lunar calendar, the "Pudu" rite, which blends
Buddhist and Taoist beliefs, was held. However, the
month-long ceremonies and rites not only represent
the fear and reverence that early Taiwanese society
had for ghosts and gods, they also convey the religious
and brotherly pity which Taiwanese people felt for the
souls of those who had died in a strange land; after
the nineteenth century, the holding of the Pudu rite
became an even more important medium through which
Taiwanese regional society could connect interpersonal
networks. This week's Window on Taiwan is written by
Professor Wen Chen-hua of the history department at
National Taiwan Normal University, who introduces this
traditional festival which blends darkness and
liveliness, and describes its unique and special
significance in Taiwanese society.


鬼魂在漢人信仰中的意義

農曆七月為漢人俗稱的鬼月,月中的普渡是
漢人社會一年中重要的祭典,祭拜無人奉祀
的孤魂野鬼。要瞭解鬼魂在漢人信仰中的意
義,可由下圖漢人的神鬼信仰體系來說明:

The Jade Emperor
玉皇大帝

Kuanyin, Matsu
觀音、媽祖

Paosheng, Chingshui
保生大帝、清水祖師

The Sage King Kaichang, the King of
the Three Mountains
開漳聖王、三山國王

The God of the Earth
土地公

One's ancestors
祖先

Wandering souls (also called the
"answering men," "the hordes of old
men," "the justice men," "the Lao
Ta men", "the good men," "the good
brothers," etc.)
孤魂野鬼(或稱有應公、大眾爺、義民爺、
老大公、萬善爺、好兄弟......)


The significance of ghosts in Han belief

The seventh month of the lunar calendar is commonly
called Ghost Month by Han Chinese people, and the
"Pudu" rite in the middle of this month is an
important sacrificial ceremony in Han society, when
we offer sacrifices to those roaming dead souls who
cannot be reincarnated, and who have no one to offer
sacrifice to them. The diagram below explains Han
people's gods and spirits belief system, and may
help you to understand the significance of Ghost
Month in Han belief.

神界中,最高的神祇是玉皇大帝,其次是觀
音、媽祖等等,最低的是土地公。鬼界中,
有人供奉的是祖先,無人奉祀的是孤魂野鬼
。孤魂野鬼由於無人祭祀,成為漢人信仰中
,社會不安的重要來源。


The highest deity in the celestial world is the Jade
Emperor, and after him come deities such as Kuanyin
and Matsu. At the bottom of the pile is the God of
the Earth. People sacrifice to their ancestors, and
the wandering souls are those who have no descendants
to sacrifice to them. Because wandering souls have no
one to offer them sacrifice, they are a major source
of social unrest in Han belief.


融合道教與佛教信仰的普渡儀式

面對社會不安之源的孤魂野鬼,發展出七月
普渡的儀式,以安頓這些地獄中無人祭祀的
惡鬼。今日農曆七月普渡,除了漢人的鬼魂
信仰,也融入道教與佛教的思想,因此七月
普渡常稱為「中元普渡」或「盂蘭盆會」。
「中元普渡」之稱與道教思想有關,在道教
的神祇中,有天官、地官、水官,地官執掌
赦罪,於農曆七月十五日(即中元日)神祇
生日降臨人間,定人之善惡罪福。孤魂野鬼
被認為罪過較深,乃延請道士做科儀救渡眾
孤鬼。「盂蘭盆會」是梵語之漢譯,意為施
食拯救苦難。「盂蘭盆會」係釋迦牟尼告知
其弟子目連於七月十五日以盆盛五果百味,
供養十方大德,以救母脫離餓鬼道。由於佛
、道兩教思想之滲入,中元普渡也有佛、道
兩教不同的儀式。

The Pudu rite blends Taoist and Buddhist belief

The Pudu rite, or "Universal Salvation," held in the
seventh month, was developed to deal with the wandering
souls, cause of so many problems in society, to help
settle these demons in hell who have no one to
sacrifice to them. These days, the Pudu rite blends
not just Han beliefs about spirits and dead souls,
but also Taoist and Buddhist thought, and so it's
often called the "Chungyuan Pudu" or the "Ullambana
Rite." The name "Chungyuan Pudu" is related to Taoist
thought. In the Taoist pantheon, there are the Three
Officials, of the sky, the earth and the waters. The
Earth Official is in charge of absolution, and on the
15th day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar
(the day known as Chungyuan), which is his birthday,
he comes down to be among mortals, and decides who is
good and who is bad, who will have suffering and who
will have good fortune. The wandering souls were
thought to have committed greater sins, and so Taoist
priests are sent for to perform the "Ke Yi," a
discipline rite, and thereby rescue these lonely
souls. "Ullambana" is a Sanskrit word which means
to offer food to the souls of the dead and rescue
them from their suffering, and is what the Buddha
told his disciple, Mahamaudgalyayana. He told him
that on the 15th day of the seventh month, he should
go with basins full of "hundreds of flavors and the
five fruits," and offer them to the greatly virtuous
assembled Sangha of the ten directions, and thus
save his mother from the way of the hungry ghosts.
Thanks to the mixing of Buddhism and Taoist thought,
Chungyuan Pudu has two different Buddhist and Taoist
rites.

普渡之儀式主要分成:請鬼、施食、誦經、
驅鬼等。請鬼,是打開鬼門,迎請陰間的孤
魂野鬼來到陽間。為讓眾鬼順利得由幽暗的
地獄來到人間,人們在廟前豎立燈篙,上掛
燈籠,上書「慶讚中元」,引導鬼魂。燈篙
愈高,照明範圍愈大,來食的孤鬼就越多,
因此各廟必須衡量自己能供食的程度,以免
「鬼多粥少」,造成鬼魂的怨懟而加禍於人
間。除陸上豎燈篙外,水中也有放水燈之儀
式,照明來自水中的溺鬼。因深恐來到陽間
的眾鬼不能滿足口食之慾,慎重的街市如鹿
港,從鬼門開後,街民分組輪流按日供食祭
祀,以保平安。

The Pudu rite can be split up into the following parts:
inviting the ghosts, offering them food, reciting
sutras, then driving the ghosts away again. Inviting
the ghosts involves opening the ghost gate, and
inviting the wandering souls to come up from the
underworld into the light. So that the horde of ghosts
can have a smooth passage from the gloomy underworld
up into the world of mortals, people erect lantern
poles in front of temples and hang lanterns, "celebrate
Chungyuan" as mentioned above, and guide the ghosts.
The higher the lantern poles, the larger the area they
light up, and so the more lonely ghosts that can be
fed. For this reason, each temple must consider the
amount of feeding they can provide, so as to avoid
having "too many ghosts and too little gruel" and
angering the ghosts into bringing misfortune on
humans. Apart from the lantern poles erected on the
ground, there is also a ceremony where water lanterns
are set on the water, lighting the way for the souls
of the drowned. Fearing that the ghosts may be afraid
of the world of mortals and will not be able to eat
their fill, so cautious towns such as Lukang have
patrols that take it in turn to offer sacrificial
food each day, after the ghost gate has been opened,
so as to keep things safe.

施食

「施食」是普渡中最重要的儀式,信眾供奉
豐盛的飯菜以飽眾孤鬼口福。除食物之外,
也為其準備經衣(即新衣),讓其在陽間渡
過短暫的舒適生活。施給眾鬼的食品,因有
法師的科儀,信眾認為食後會帶來好運,因
此有搶取貢品的「搶孤」活動,形成普渡過
程中最熱鬧的畫面。除了施食之外,也為這
些孤魂眾鬼誦經,使其能超渡達於樂土。普
渡的尾聲是農曆七月二十九的「關鬼門」,
這天傍晚,人們在自家門前準備菜餚,為眾
孤鬼「餞別」,廟前的燈篙也要拆除,宣告
普渡結束。有時寺廟生怕孤鬼留連不願歸回
陰間而危害陽間之人,因此於是日深夜特請
鍾馗押孤,以保地方安寧。


The offering of food

The offering of food is the most important rite in
the Pudu, and believers make sacrifices of rich dishes
to sate the lonely ghosts' appetites. Apart from food,
people also prepare new clothes to allow their passage
into the world to be a comfortable one. Because of the
discipline rite performed by the priest, believers
think that the food for the hordes of ghosts will
bring them good luck if they eat it, and so people
compete for the food offerings in the "chiang gu"
activity, the liveliest scene in the Pudu rite.
Apart from the offering of food, people also recite
sutras for the wandering souls, so that they can
cross over into paradise. The end of the Pudu rite
is the "closing of the ghost gate" on the 29th day
of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, and at
dusk on that day, people prepare cooked food outside
the doors of their homes as a "farewell dinner" for
the lonely ghosts, and the lantern poles in front of
the temples are dismantled, announcing the end of the
Pudu rite. Sometimes, fearing that the lonely ghosts
will be unwilling to return to the underworld, and
will harm mortals, temples will invite Chung Kuei
(a special deity who protects humans from evil spirits)
to escort the ghosts, and in this way keep the locality
safe and peaceful.

孤魂野鬼在台灣社會裡的特殊意義

七月普渡在台灣漢人社會中,比其在原鄉還
來得受重視。十七世紀以來,漢人冒險來台
拓墾,毒蛇猛獸、瘟疫、勞累、械鬥、民變
,奪走珍貴的人命。「九死一生」的諺語說
明瞭其生活競爭的艱辛。遍地無人收埋的屍
骨形成先民對鬼魂強烈的畏懼心理。但這些
身死異鄉的孤魂野鬼有許多是來自原鄉的兄
弟,在宗教與憐憫的驅使下,人民集資收埋
曝露的屍骨,形成台灣有應公或萬善祠高密
度的現象,台北一個小小的木柵區就有二十
六間這樣的祠廟。由於這些客死台灣的孤魂
野鬼都是在台灣如兄弟般互相照料的拓墾者
,因此七月普渡在台灣稱為「拜好兄弟」,
不同於原鄉的「拜人客(即外地人)」。



The special significance of wandering souls in
Taiwanese society

The Pudu rite of the seventh month has traditionally
been more important in Taiwanese society than it was
in the original settlers' old hometowns back in
China. From the seventeenth century, Han people
took the dangerous risk of coming to Taiwan to
develop the land, and put their lives at the mercy
of poisonous snakes, fierce animals, pestilent
diseases, backbreaking toil, mob fights and popular
uprisings. The old adage "nine deaths, one life"
[meaning a situation so dangerous that it would
kill nine out ten people] explained the tricky job
of fighting to stay alive. Everywhere, the remains
of the dead who had no one to bury them created an
atmosphere of intense fear about ghosts for the
settlers. But these wandering souls of the dead from
other places had many brothers from their hometowns,
and prompted by religion and pity, people raised
funds to bury these exposed remains, and this created
the phenomenon in Taiwan of densely-packed graveyards
for the unclaimed dead. In the small area of Mucha,
Taipei, there are 26 such memorial temples. Because
these wandering souls who had died in this foreign
land of Taiwan were taken care of like brothers by
other settlers here, the Pudu rite in the seventh
month was given the name of "honoring our brothers,"
rather different from the "honoring strangers" which
took place back in China.


就台灣社會發展史觀察,中元普渡的祭典成
為十九世紀以後,台灣社會區域人際網路連
結重要媒介。這些中元節祭祀的好兄弟,許
多是為了保鄉衛民而犧牲的。在祖籍別意識
強烈的時代,不同祖籍別的人群各自透過中
元節祭典,形成自己的集團,彼此團結,共
同面對敵人。台北大龍峒的保安宮是祖籍福
建同安縣人中元節的祭祀中心,台北盆地內
同安籍人分三組輪流擔任中元祭典主持。艋
舺的龍山寺、清水的祖師廟分別是福建三邑
(即南安、晉江、惠安三縣)與安溪縣移民
的祭典中心。新竹縣新埔鄉枋寮的義民廟是
新竹客家祖籍為主的中元節祭祀中心,祭祀
在清朝林爽文與戴潮春的反清事件中為鄉而
犧牲的鄉民。因其為鄉抵抗反清者,清官方
為拉攏賜予「義民爺」。


The connecting medium of interpersonal networks

If we look at the history of the development of
Taiwanese society, the Chungyuan Pudu ceremony became
and important medium for connecting interpersonal
relationships in the regions of Taiwan, from the
seventeenth century onwards. Many of these "good
brothers" of the Chungyuan Festival lost their lives
protecting their villages and defending the people
there. In an age where consciousness of one's hometown
identity was intense, people with different hometown
identities would, through the Chungyuan Festival
ceremony, form their own groups, mutually unite, and
become a common body against their enemies. The Pao
An Temple at Talungtung in Taipei was the center for
the Chungyuan Festival rites for descendants of
settlers from Tong'an County in Fujian Province,
China, and within the Taipei Basin, three groups of
Tong'an County descendants would take it in turns to
preside over the Chungyuan ceremony. The Lungshan and
Chingshui temples in Manka (Wanhua), were the center
for ceremonies for the descendents of immigrants from
Sanyi (the three Fujian counties of Nan'an, Jinjiang
and Hui'an) and Anxi county in Fujian Province. Yimin
Temple in Fangliao, in Hsinpu Township, Hsinchu
County, is the center of the Chungyuan Festival
ceremonies for Hsinchu Hakkas, and at the time of
Lin Shuang-wen and Tai Chao-chun's anti-Qing revolts
during the Qing Dynasty, the ceremony was carried out
for countryfolk who sacrificed their lives for their
hometowns. Qing officials bestowed upon them the name
of the "Yimin men" [roughly translatable as "justice
men"] on these anti-Qing resisters in order to placate
the local people.

台灣七月普渡稱為拜好兄弟實有其特殊的歷
史背景。除宗教的意義外,七月普渡成為連
結十九世紀台灣中北部社會最重要的媒介。
如果人們能以七月拜好兄弟的「熱情」來關
懷幫助人間的弱者,則孤魂野鬼或可減少。

Giving the name "honoring brothers" to Taiwan's seventh
month Pudu rite has its own special historical
background. Apart from religious significance, the
seventh month Pudu rite was the most important medium
linking communities together in north and central
Taiwan in the nineteenth century. If people could take
the enthusiasm from the "honoring brothers" ceremony
in the seventh month and apply it to helping their
more unfortunate brothers, then they could reduce
the number of wandering souls.

Edited by Tina Lee/ translated by Elizabeth Hoile
李美儀編輯/何麗薩翻譯
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