When looking back on the foundation of Guandu Temple, you would find many stories in several periods. Here list some examples: first, about Guandu Temple, Bhiksu Shih Hsing brought a statue of Mazu from Mazu Temple, Meizhou Island, Fujian to Taiwan; he was struggled by floods of Keelung River and Tamsui River when he passed Guandu outfall in a heavy rainy day. Bhiksu Shih Hsing sincerely tossed divination blocks and realized that Mazu wanted to stay in Guandu; he therefore built a thatch house as a temple. On the other hand, the Japanese pioneer of Taiwan religion study, Fukutaro Masuda thought that sailor Tsai of Meizhou Island sailed to North Taiwan with a statue of Mazu and parked in Guandu. Accidentally, the vessel was wrecked, so the sailor placed the statue on a huge rock for temporary. It turned out that the statue was stuck on the rock when he wanted to move it. Tsai therefore tossed divination blocks and was indicated that Mazu would like to stay there. Hence, Mr. Lin in Guandu suggested building a temple. There were a lot of stories concerned; most of them were related to the culture of building temples of sea faith. The miracle of building of Guandu Temple was the culture result of so many legends.
The most efficacious Mazu statues in Guandu Temple were Da Ma7 (The First Mother) and Second Mother; they had different legends of how they arrived: according to Guandu Temple, Bhiksu Shih Hsing brought the statue of Da Ma from Mazu Temple in Meizhou Island, Fujian to Taiwan to worship. About Second Mother, it was said that a vessel was wrecked and the statue of Second Mazu washed up to Qilian. After a farmer found the statue, it was worshiped in Tzusheng Temple (mainly worshiped Wuguxiandi) on the street. The statue was sent to Guandu Temple as Tzusheng Temple was going to be renovated; believers were indicated that Mazu decided to stay in Guandu Temple to ‘take care of seaside’ to shield sailing vessels and fishermen on the sea, while they wanted to move the statue back to the temple after renovation. Since, two Mazus stayed in Guandu Temple. That was why Tzusheng Temple invited statues of two Mazus back to Tzusheng Temple with big Lion Dance/gongs and drums teams every 16th January; Xiandigong would join the pligrimage team, marching around Qilian, which was known as ‘two Mazus returning mom’s home’. It was believed among academics that this custom was related to the faith of prevention of plague in Japanese rule and praying to two Mazus for getting rid of diseases or pests.
There are more miracles of Mazu: in 21 of Guangxu era (1895), Japanese army occupied Taiwan. In order to catch robbers around Dadaocheng, Japanese soldiers entered Guandu villages and visited every house to search for robbers’ hiding spaces. Considering Guandu Temple and Guandu residents supported the Formosan resistance movement, Japanese soldiers burned more than 30 houses and Mazu Temple. Although the statue of Mazu was poured over coal oil, believers found that only the face of the statue of Mazu was smoked to black without any injury after the fire was put down. Residents in Shezixing across Guandu heard about this and went to Guandu to bring two statues of Mazu back to Shezixing at night. They had been hidden by the foot of the stone wall of Guanyin Mountain and were sent back to Guandu Temple. That was why we had cultural landscapes of pilgrimages of black-faced Guandu Mazu and Shezixing Mazu.
During World War II, Japanese Yokota Air Force in Tamsui Airport decided to hide more than ten seaplanes in fields with lots of sea hibiscus trees next to Zhonggang River before Guandu Temple. Afterwards, US military found it and delivered an air strike. When the US military airplane flew to Guandu, it was seen that a Chinese ancient woman stood on clouds and flipped the bomb out with her skirt. It turned out that the bomb fell to somewhere between Guandu Nature Park and Dadu Road. Residents later found a black burnt mark on the gown on the statue of Mazu and therefore believed in Mazu’s divine manifestation of pushing the bomb aside to save people’s lives.
For centuries, people migrated and changed living ways. Han people became majority, instead of Taiwanese Plains Aborigines; traffic on land in Guandu replaced traffic on water. However, divine manifestations about Guandu Temple have been sacred for believers as time goes by. No matter how tribes and traffic change, Guandu Temple and Guandu faith of Mazu are getting more and more important for people.