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last update 24/3/2002

赤柱水僊古廟 ── 不應遺忘的古蹟
( Shui Tsein / Shui Shin Temple )

赤柱水僊古廟十分不顯眼,可能連很多本區年青一輩也未有留意其存。它位於赤柱半島之西 ,赤柱大街最南端海濱,「八間屋」毗連之西北,即臨時新街市填海區堤岸南端對出的海角石岬之巔。僊乃古字,即仙也;故名思義,供奉的是一位水神,名水僊爺爺。( 有云即為「河伯」,待考。)

建築年份不詳,據史家推算,應在清朝乾隆之前 (18世紀)由漁民興建。它可能比赤柱天后廟更久遠,受重視程度卻遠不及,就連旅遊發展局在赤柱豎立的景點指示牌也隻字不提。

廟高及深均只有二米半,寬三米,以綠色琉璃瓦為頂,廟內神牌竟兩仙並放,即除擺放「護國庇民水僊爺爺之神位」外,另兼奉「都天至富財帛星君之神位」。前者庇蔭海事平安,後者賜福漁獲豐收。

明白水神與財帛星君在漁民心目中的角色,才能領悟門外對聯:「水德長垂海天碧,仙恩普蔭民物豐。」

據稱古時沒有燈塔,故此廟不但供漁民禱告祈福,更成為漁民海上導航的地標及明燈。

現在壇上兩端還擺放一小尊關帝像及一以相架鑲好的手寫「達摩祖先之寶座」的神牌,似是後人所加,亦有好一段日子。

遊人站在海邊遠眺,也許會慨歎水僊古廟與對岸北帝廟猶如進入赤柱灣之左右門神。古時漁民聚居,赤柱灣之中心點是天后古廟(前面曾是沙灘),但天后廟建於水僊廟之後,會否經堪輿師指點才加建北帝廟,一方面作風水上之平衡,更作天后之左右護法?筆者如此推測 、想當然,有待查考。說來奇怪,向街坊打探,發現確曾有這樣的傳聞。

如要尋幽訪勝,請由「赤柱總污水泵房」( 前身為化糞池 ) 與礁石之間找小徑往上走四十步即見。廟旁有人家,但沒有惡犬,可放心參觀。

即使不入廟拜神,單看裡面古色古香的中國式橫樑、疊瓦與杉木門,也算為現代都市人上了一課公民教育。

( 侯志輝 2002/3/24 圖、文)

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" 由赤柱舊警署前入赤柱大街,暫別理會大街中店鋪,望東 南左行至街尾,疑前無去路時,直出海濱,小石崗面海處崗頂 古屋兩間,其一人居,另一即神住。那神住者稱「水僊古廟」。僊是古字,即今人常稱神仙的仙字。據考「僊」字遠在六朝時代最為常用,那麼,是否表示古廟已達數百年歷史呢,待考。但香港島以「水僊」恭奉的獨立廟赤柱灘畔這一間應是唯一的了。......並沒僊像,只立神牌..... "

( 陳溢晃• 1995赤柱龍舟競渡大賽場刊)

" 在赤桂西灣海心一礁石上有一廟,廟雖細.但建於乾隆前.此廟是漁民未建天后廟之前所建。這間廟,供奉一位水神;而水神名叫水仙爺爺。而水仙爺爺中的〔仙〕字,寫的是一個古〔僊〕字,那位西人認為此字在元朝時開始流行,而到宋朝為最盛,可能是宋元時代之物。因此廟建於礁石最高處,即使潮水漲時,也浸不到此廟。......神前供有一個香爐,三杯酒。漁民出海捕魚之前,必乘小艇到此廟上香禱告,祈水仙爺爺保護他們一路順風,祈財帛星君保佑他網網千斤,魚蝦大順。 

  中國水仙神共有四位:第一位即河伯,這位河伯,名叫馮夷,他是將黃河上的八處礁石炸毀,使黃河暢通而成仙的;第二位是伍子胥,古書說他,凌威萬物,歸神大海,後人亦立他為水仙之神;第三位是屈原,屈原投江死而成神,亦係水仙之神;第四位是郭璞,神仙傳說他是水仙爺爺。

   古時沒有燈塔,故漁民在礁石上建水仙爺爺廟,作用有二,其一是禱告祈福;另一作用,則是把廟建於礁石高水位上,使在遠遠就望見該處是礁石區,行船時不可駛近,含有燈塔的作用。在廟內上香,晚上看來,便如燈塔也。 "

(Y28 網站 ,根據華人廟宇委員會資料改編
http://www.y28predictions.com/Y28-Fortune/buddism/temple/hk/temple56.htm)

The Ancient Shui Tsein Temple of Stanley
- Antiquity not to be forgotten

(Translation) The temple [otherwise called the Shui Shin Temple ] is really not conspicious at all. Many youngster may not even notice its existence. It was constructed on a seaside rock at the southern end of the Stanley Main Street, westner side of the penisular, neighbouring the Pat Kan ( Eight-unit Housing, Cantonese Baat Gaan). As its name implies, it is dedicated to a water deity, Father Shui Tsein. Shui means water, Tsein is the ancient form of the word Shin, meaning the immortals.( Hearsay information reveals that the immortal may be the "He Bai"[ Mandarin Chinese , meaning the govening father of the rivers]. ) It is said that this temple is even older than the Tin Hau Temple, (18th century, the actual date to be verified) yet it is always overshadowed by the conterpart. Even the HK Tourism Boards "Key Attractions" maps at Stanley memtion not a single word of it. The temple is just 2.5m high and deep , with a mere width of 3 meters and glaze green tiles on its roof. Inside it there are two plaques side by side on the altar, one for the water deity ( who grants netvigation safety) , one for the deity of wealth ( who grants bontiful fishing ). At the altar there is an incent pot togeter with 3 small cups of wine.

Without knowledge of the importance of the two deities to the fishermen, one will not understand the pair of antithetical couplet at the entrance.

It is said that in ancient times before light houses were common, the temple served the function not only as a ground for the fishermen to pray and worship, it was their netvigation landmark in daytime and guiding light after dusk.

Nowadays, at the two ends of the altar we can also find a small statue of Kwan Di [ an ancient general become deity for righteousness ] and a framed hand written plaque for Bodhidharma the First Patriarch [ of Chinese Zen Buddhism ] . They seems to be later introductions of quite some time.

Looking out from the reefs, visitors may wonder how the two temples of Shui Tsien and the Pak Tai (on the opposite side of the bay) seem not only have formed the door guards for the Chek Chue Wan (Stanley Bay), they seems to be the guarding gods on both sides of the Tin Hau Temple. As the Tin Hau Temple was built later than the Shui Tsein Temple, will it be possible that people intentionally add the Pak Tai Temple as an offering to the Goddess and with some consideration on the fung shui symmetry. It is just my theory. But amazingly, locals told me that they have actually once heard of such hearsay.

If you would like to explore this piece of momument, just find the path beside the sewage pumping station and take 40 steps or so up the reef among the huts. You will not be disturbed by barking dogs. Just enjoy your trip. Even though you may not take to worship, but merely studying from the interior the ancient style construction of the Chinese beam and overlapping tiles , as well as the traditional wooden door and its hinges worths a civic education lesson for modern city dwellers.

(Edwin Hou 2002/3)

"... to the east end of the Main Street, with some difficulties you'll find the Shui Tsein Temple next to a household on the rock stretching out from the seafront.
The old word TSEIN, meaning "the immortals", is most popular during the "Six Dynasties" Period several hundred years ago. Besides, it is only this temple in the Island worshipping solely this Water God. ...There is only a tablet, no statue inside ..."

(Mr Chan Yat Fong, 1995 Programme, Stanley Dragon Boat Races )

Research/ translation/ photos: E. Hou 2002/3/7 [copyright]

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