Cao Dai Religion

The Cao Dai religion originated in Viet Nam in 1926 and is a syncretist, monotheistic religion. It is also known as Dai Dao Dai which is the abbreviated for Dai Dao Tam Ky Pho Do which literally means the Great Religion of the Third Period of Revelation and Salvation.

Cao Dai literally means high altar and represents the highest place where God reigns. God’s abbreviated name is in fact Dirc Cao Dai, the full title being Cao Tai Tien Ong Dai Bo Tat Ma-ha-tat which means Cao Dai the Ancient Sage and Great Bodhisattva Mahasattva.

The first disciples claim to have received explicit instructions for establishing a new religion that would commence the Third Era of Religious Amnesty.

As noted in Wikipedia, adherents engage in ethical practices such as prayer, veneration of ancestors, nonviolence and vegetarianism with the minimum goal of rejoining God the Father in Heaven and the ultimate goal of freedom from the recycle of birth and death.

Estimates of the number of the number of Cao Dai adherents are 2 to 3 million with a small number in small Vietnamese communities throughout the world.

They believe there are 36 levels of heaven and 72 planets have intelligent life, with number 1 being the closest to heaven and 72 nearest to hell. Earth is number 68 and it is believed that the lowest citizen on planet 67 would not trade place with a king on 68 and so on.

Three scriptures are recognized:

  • Thanh Ngon Hiep Tuyen
  • Phap Chanh Truyen
  • Kinh Thien Dao Va The Dao

    The Three Teachings are Buddha, Sage (Wise old man) and Saint. These represent hierarchal levels of spiritual attainment with Buddha as the highest.

    Caodaist believe various stages of spiritual development from human up are:

  • Than (angel
  • Thanh (saint)
  • Tien (sage)
  • Phat (buddha)

    Angels, saints and sages may have extremely long lives in the realms of heaven, but only buddhas are free from the cycle of birth and death.

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