Wong Tai Sin
|Wong Tai Sin (Huang Daxian)|
Lanxi, Zhejiang, China
|Venerated in||Hong Kong and Jinhua|
|Major shrine||Wong Tai Sin Temple|
|Wong Tai Sin|
Wong Tai Sin or Huang Daxian is a Chinese Taoist deity popular in Jinhua, Zhejiang and Hong Kong with the power of healing. The name, meaning the "Great Immortal Wong (Huang)", is the divine form of Huang Chuping or Wong Cho Ping (Chinese: 黃初平; c. 328 – c. 386), a Taoist hermit from Zhejiang.
According to the text Self-Description of Chisongzi (赤松子自述; "Master Red Pine") kept at the Wong Tai Sin Temple in Hong Kong, Wong Tai Sin was born Huang Chuping (Wong Cho Ping in Cantonese) in 328 in Lanxi, Jinhua, Zhejiang province. Western sources have him listed at c. 284 to 364 CE.
Wong Cho Ping is said to have experienced poverty and hunger, becoming a shepherd when he was eight years old. He began practising Taoism at the age of fifteen after meeting an immortal or saintly person on Red Pine Mountain in his hometown. Legend has it that he was able to transform stones into sheep forty years later. Wong Tai Sin later became known as the Red Pine Immortal (赤松仙子), after the mountain where he had his hermitage, and his birthday is celebrated on the 23rd of the eighth lunar month.
In the early 20th century, Leung Renyan (梁仁菴) spread the devotion to Wong Tai Sin from Xiqiao Mountain (西樵山) in Nanhai County, Guangdong to Wan Chai in Colonial Hong Kong. Leung arrived in Hong Kong in 1915  and upon renting an apartment in Wan Chai, set up an altar to Wong Tai Sin in his apartment. He later opened an herbal medicine shop nearby and moved the altar to the back of the shop, where customers could pray to Wong Tai Sin and seek advice for their ailments. Leung would then fill their prescriptions, and the popularity of Wong Tai Sin grew probably due to several successful cures. Leung's shop was destroyed by fire in 1918.
In 1921, Leung said that he received a message from Wong Tai Sin instructing him to build a new shrine. Leung and some Taoist priests were told to walk 3,000 paces northwards from Kowloon City Pier, eventually stopping at Chuk Yuen Village (竹園村). They marked the place with a piece of bamboo in the ground, and using Fu Ji (扶乩) to consult Wong Tai Sin, were told that it was an auspicious site. Wong Tai Sin taught them to determine the would-be centre of the temple by three Chinese feet (approximately 1m) on the right and three Chinese feet backwards of the bamboo mark and the would-be temple was named as "Chik Chung Sin Shrine" (赤松仙館) (Red Pine Immortal Shrine). The Taoist god of literature, Wenchang Dijun (文昌帝君), told the priests, again via Fu Ji, to begin construction of the shrine on 24th of the sixth lunar month.
Eventually, the shrine was completed and was dedicated on the 20th of the seventh lunar month, and the gods communicated several name changes over the next few years through Fu Ji. In the same year, during the celebration of the birthday of Wong Tai Sin on the 23rd of the eighth lunar month, the altar was named "Pu Yi Tan" (普宜壇) by the Jade Emperor (玉帝). Later on, Wenchang Dijun gave the name of the premises as "Sik Sik Yuen" (嗇色園) and the managing body was established. In 1925, the shrine was renamed "Chik Chung Wong Sin Hall" (赤松黃仙祠) (Red Pine Wong Immortal Hall) by the god Lü Ju (呂祖), and it has been in use since then.
Sik Sik Yuen was once restricted to Taoists and their family members until 1934, when it formally applied to the government to have the temple open to the public during every 1st lunar month. The temple was finally opened to the general public in 1956.
The revival of venerating Wong Cho Ping as Wong Tai Sin occurred at the end of the 19th century. Prior to 1911, the Emperor of China was the primary divine religious symbol, often stretching the Mandate of Heaven into religious terms. After the fall of the Qing Dynasty, a replacement symbol was needed, and Leung Renyan arrived in Hong Kong in 1915 with a portrait of the god; it is thus disputed whether the success of Wong Tai Sin Temple is due to the timing of his worship's revival and historical circumstance.
The Wong Tai Sin area and Wong Tai Sin districts are named after the deity. Today, Sik Sik Yuen is an educational and charitable foundation that, true to Leung's origins as a healer, runs a free clinic. In Hong Kong, there is one MTR station named after Wong Tai Sin and there is a Wong Tai Sin Temple. Many tourists from all over the world visit Wong Tai Sin Temple every day.
- "Chinese Immortal Huang Chuping, After Liang Kai". National Institutes for Cultural Heritage. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
- Geertz, Armin W. McCutcheon, Russell T. Elliot Scott S. McCutcheon, Russell.  (2000) Perspectives on Method and Theory in the Study of Religion. Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 90-04-11877-2
- Self-Descriptions of Chisongzi at the temple
- Siksikyuen. "Siksikyuen." "Bio." Retrieved on [2007-04-18].
- Siksikyuen. "Siksikyuen." History. Retrieved on 2007-04-18.
- Lang, Graeme Ragvald, Lars.  The Rise of a Refugee God; Hong Kong's Wong Tai Sin. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-585755-0