Cao Daiism Essay

3102 words - 12 pages

When one thinks of the phrase "Cao Dai," they will associate it with a political group involved in protest of French rule in Vietnam, if they have ever heard of it at all. In actuality, while Cao Daiists did play a part in these protests, Cao Dai is a primarily indigenous Vietnamese religion that encompasses many other world religions but is also extraordinarily unique in its belief system and practices. Cao Dai was officially founded through a medium session in 1926 by Ngo Van Chieu (a.k.a. Ngo Minh Chieu), an official of the French colonial administration that was widely read in both Eastern and Western religion with a particular interest in spiritism (Ellwood). One of the main points of Cao Daiism is that it was founded by God (Dai Dao) himself, unlike other religions, who Cao Daiists believe were founded by men. In the past, God has sent His message via prophets and messengers. He sent His word to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel. Before that he gave the world his son Jesus Christ who had a direct communication with God. And after attaining "supreme enlightenment" Sidhartha Sakyamuni (today known as "the" Buddha) gave man the Dharma he could not conceive before (Do 15). However, as Cao Daiists believe, God saw the violence and hatred throughout the world that not only was not solved by religions founded by people he had sent a message to, but actually because of these religions. This did not sit well with God. So, while practicing a medium session on April 24, 1926, Chieu received the following divine message: Formerly, people lacked transportation and therefore did not know each other. I then founded at different epochs and in different areas, five branches of the Great Way: Religion of Humanity, Geniism, Christianity, Taoism and Buddhism, each based on the customs of the race. In present days, transportation has been improved, and people have come to know each other better. But people do not always live in harmony because of the very multiplicity of those religions. That is why I have decided to unite all those religions into ONE to bring them to the primordial unity. Moreover, the Holy Doctrine has been, through centuries more and more denatured by the people responsible for spreading it, I have been suffering seeing that human beings for almost ten thousand years have been committing crimes and spending their life in Hell for ever. I have now firmly resolved to come Myself to show you the Way (Anonymous). Just over five years before, Chieu was laying on his hammock when a huge eye appeared in front of him, just a few meters away. It shined like the sun and was surrounded by a halo. Chieu was frightened and attempted to cover his eyes, yet he could still feel the Eye's glare. The glare intensified, frightening him more. Chieu had previously chosen a cross to represent Duc Cao Dai, but God said that a cross had already been used (by Christians). A week later, Chieu found himself in this state of fear as God helped show him what should be...

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