CHAPTER III - CAODAI COSMOLOGY

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CHAPTER III - CAODAI COSMOLOGY

CHAPTER III

CAODAI COSMOLOGY

The Appearance of God

The Nature of God

The Divine Eye

The Mother Goddess

The Constitution of Human



LEARNING OBJECTIVES:


1- Know that God is the Great Sacred Light, the Monad.

2- Know that it is by emanation that God gives the Small Sacred Light to all in the Universe.

3- From the Monad comes the Yang and Yin Energies.

4- The Yin Energy is entrusted to Mother Goddess, while God governs the Yang.

5- Know the Three Parts Constitution of the Human.



I- THE COSMIC ETHER AND THE APPEARANCE OF GOD


In this chapter on the cosmology of CaoDai, we’ll learn from the scriptures about the Cosmic Ether, the appearance of God or the Great Sacred Light, the nature and power of God, the nature and role of the Mother Goddess and the constitution of humans.

The following message on the coming of God Đức Chí Tôn( Đại Linh Quang or Great Sacred Light-) and the creation of the Universe was received on the 23rdday of the 9thmonth of Bính Tý year 1936.

Note that it mentioned “an extraordinary detonation”, prior to the Big Bang which was generally known toward 1954.

 

“Poem

In this immense Universe,

There exist Invisible Worlds full of serene sojourns.

The Creator laid out miraculous laws,

To establish a world of Virtue and Wisdom.

 

Children! Why is it called VŨ-TRỤ (the Universe)? How do you perceive it? 

 

The entire space forms VŨ (UNI). The extremity of this space is called TRỤ (VERSE).  VŨ encompasses the four cardinal points, as well as the upward and downward directions. TRỤ also signifies the past and present. Thus, the term VŨ-TRỤ (UNIVERSE) encompasses both space and time. 

 

Prior to the manifestation of the Supreme Being, that space was an amorphous and infinite nebula, because it was in the Primordial Chaos. 

 

That space is the Non-Being or the Absolute Emptiness. In this Absolute Emptiness is the miraculous PRINCIPLE of the Natural Nature, along with its antagonist twin, the ENERGY of the Adapted (Naturalized) Nature.  Such PRINCIPLE and ENERGY are respectively the Yang and the Yin in the Primordial Chaos. They united and crystallized slowly in infinite time to form a splendid globe of light. At the determined time and date, this massive ball of light exploded with an extraordinary detonation that shook up the space. A Divine Light Popped out from this explosion, unceasingly swirling and waltzing in space, projecting around it a dazzling halo whose rays continuingly illuminate the entire Cosmos. That Divine Light is the Supreme Being of the Universe, emerging from the Absolute Emptiness (the Non-Being). 

 

Since then, the Universe has had the Supreme Being, perfectly good, omniscient, omnipotent, immutable, and capable of transforming in infinite forms. The Absolute Master of the Universe governs and commands Genesis, applying the Yin-Yang mechanism to separate the pure from the impure and condense the Energy of the Primordial Nebula (the Non-Being) to engender all creatures. 

 

That Yin-Yang mechanism functions without respite, without interruption, to assure the life and perpetuity of all beings, and maintain Heaven-Earth. 

 

Scattering in the immense Universe are innumerable spheres: pure and impure, superior and inferior, bright and obscure. Obeying the pre-established order and harmony of the Celestial Mechanism, all these spheres move around here and there, ascend and descend continuously and perpetually.” 

(Đại Thừa Chơn Gíao, CDGW-GCET, 2015, p 243).


From the CSCDHM, 2015, p 58, we can read:

With only My Spirit, I have created Buddhas, Immortals, Saints, Local Spirits and all human beings and the universe. Therefore you are Me, I am you... The Cosmic Ether created only Me. So, who created those founders? It was the Tao or Me. You must understand this:If I did not exist, there would be nothing in the universe. And if there were no Cosmic Ether, then I would not exist either.”

 

From “CaoDai, a Realizable Path to Light” by Hum Dac Bui, M.D. and Hong Dang Bui, M.D.; p277,

we read the following on the creation of humanity:

 

“First there existed The One, called "Thái Cực" (Monad), or the Supreme Being. The Monad then divided into Yin and Yang, the dyad of "Âm Quang" (Yin/Shakti/Creative Energy) and "Dương Quang" (Yang/Primordial Energy). The Yin carries adjectives such as heavy, dark, cold, dense, negative, inactive…  while the Yang is said to be clear, bright, warm, pure, positive, active...  The Supreme Being is the master of Yang energy, which is the origin of the invisible spiritual element in everything, and the Mother Goddess is the master of Yin energy; Yin being the mother of all visible physical manifestations. The Mother Goddess utilizes Yin and Yang energies to create the heavens and universes. 

The Supreme Being is the “Great Sacred Light” - or Energy - and a human being’s spirit is created with a spark of the Great Sacred Light called the “Little Sacred Light” or the soul (also referred to as ‘conscience’ in this book). The level of heaven achieved by a soul depends on the proportion of Yin and Yang forces (energy) in their constitution. Upon reaching a level with more Yang, one would be lighter, brighter, higher, and closer to Godhead/reunion with The Supreme Being. Each level would accommodate correspondingly lighter or denser souls, lighter souls reaching higher dimensions. 


II- THE NATURE OF THE SUPREME BEING – THE UNIQUE AND COMMON GOD FOR ALL & THE DIVINE EYE

·      According to the Free Dictionary accessed on 4/6/20, God is “a Being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions.”  God is supernatural in powers and attributes for a people who believe in and worship. ‘Bible. ca’ describes ‘God as an unchangeable creator, not creature, with the qualities of being everywhere, of all knowing, of all powerful’. So again, omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence appear as integral to the concept of God.

God is also defined through attributes (en.m.wikipedia.org accessed 4/7/20): Eternal, holy, either transcendent (above all) or immanent (in all) or both, non-changing, impeccable, infinite, mysterious; again, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent. Transcendence and immanence both are relayed in this verse in Isaiah 57:15: “ For this is what the high and exalted One says, He who lives forever, whose Name is holy: I live in a high, holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”

·      Since CaoDai conceives that all religions come from one same divine origin and all true teachings of religions lead us to the same goals of attaining peace and purpose in life and utmost liberation, we will be discussing the nature of God as perceived by different traditions.

Judaism considers G-d (the full word is not spelled out as a sign of respect) or Adonai as a state of consciousness that pertains neither to perception nor to non-perception. Or, in other words, the state of consciousness perceiving Nothingness. In the beginning of the King’s authority, the lamp of darkness engraved a hollow in the Supernal Luminescence...and this hollowing of the Divine Essence occurs in Tohu and Bohu. (Chaos and Void) “He stretches the north on Chaos, He hangs the earth on Nothingness (Beli-mah)” (Job 26:7)

Christianitybelieves that God is the Word:  In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. All things are made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.(John 1:1-3)     

And also believes that God is light: God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. (John 1:4) 

When Jesus was baptized on the river Jordan, He saw the light from the sky, and heard the word of God. The same thing happened to Saint Paul when he was on his way seeking to persecute the infidels, he also heard the words of God and saw the light that he thought was fire.

Islam says: Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth (Koran).

Sufism believes that God is the Consciousness of the One reality called Wisdom, Light, Love or Nothing: “In the widest sense, Islamic mysticism may be defined as the consciousness of the One Reality - be it called Wisdom, Light, Love or Nothing.”(Annemarie Schimmel, Chapel Hill, 1975, Mystical Dimension of Islam)


In some types of Hinduism,it is believed that God is the Great Sacred Light, the Primal Energy: He is the one light that gives light to all (Katha Upanishad). The Primal energy is Brahman. That Brahman is beginningless, transcendent, eternal(Bhagavad Gita).

Sikhism similarly says: God, being truth, is the one light of all. (Adi Granth).

The Buddha(Gautama) himself never commented directly on the nature of God or creation, because his greater aim was to overcome human suffering, but a common Buddhist conception is that the Creator and living beings came from the Nothingness: “There is an unborn, not become, not made, unmanifest” (Samyutta-Nikaya of Theravada Buddhism). 

Because of the word ‘Nothingness’ and because the Buddha did not refer to a “God,” it is a common understanding that Buddhists do not believe in a Creator. But this ‘Nothingness’ simply refers to the status of enlightenment where there is no more attachment, no more building of desire (reincarnation), extreme peace, and extinction of ego (Nirvana). 

The Amitabha Buddha has reached the status of the great void or Sunyata, radiating infinite light and spirit from this state of cessation, continuously emanating peace. It may be also called Anuttara Samyak SamBuddhi (A Nậu Đa La Tam Niệu Tam Bồ Đề), supreme perfect enlightenment, equivalent to that state of the Supreme Being. 

From the above, we see that God is perceived as the Nothingness, the Light, and His Word is the truth. Let us now explore the conception of God in CaoDai.

·      The CaoDaist conceives God, Đưc Chí Tôn, in two aspects, the personal(hưũ ngã), and the impersonal(vô ngã), invisible, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God. We will first address the impersonal God.

 CaoDai believes that God is the initial Great Sacred Light appearing in the cosmic ether, which science calls the Quantum Field, also known as the Primordial Chaos. We read from “CaoDai Great Way-The Grand Cycle of Esoteric Teaching” CDGW-GCET, 2015, p. 244, corresponding to Đại Thừa Chơn Giáo, DTCG,2000, p. 216 (Please see above in section I: The Cosmic Ether and the Appearance of God):

“ Prior to the manifestation of the Supreme Being, that space was an amorphous and infinite nebula, because it was in the Primordial Chaos...

That space is the Non-Being or the Absolute Emptiness...this massive ball of Light exploded with an extraordinary detonation...That Divine Light is the Supreme Being of the Universe, emerging from the Absolute Emptiness (the Non-Being).”

Another passage in CaoDai scriptures says: “The Cosmic Ether created only Me. So, who created these religious founders? It was Me, the Tao. You must understand this. If I did not exist, there would be nothing in the universe. And if there were no Cosmic Ether, then I would not exist either.”(TNHT 1992, p. 28)

It was into this cosmic ether that the great source of Divine Light appeared called "Thái Cực" (Monad), Đưc Chí Tôn, or the Supreme Being, God, the Great Sacred Light.

The Monad then created Yin and Yang, the two opposite logos: "Âm Quang" (Yin Energy) and "Dương Quang" (Yang Energy). Yin is heavy, dark, cold, dense, negative, inactive… while Yang is clear, bright, warm, pure, positive, active… Yin and Yang interact with each other to form the heavens and universes.

Another passage describes Light, Yin and Yang, and the Eye, used to represent God in CaoDai, as follows:

        “The heart manifests at the eye 

     Presiding over everything are two sources of light                                                                         (Yin and Yang energies corresponding to electrons and protons); 

        Light is spirit

     Spirit is God.” 

 (CSCDHM 2015, p. 22, 32).

 

Thus, the conception of God as Light Is common in religions through the ages. And the word ‘enlightened’ describes the person who attains cosmic consciousness, attains union with God.

CaoDai holds that the Supreme Being is the “Great Sacred Light” - or Energy - and human beings are the “Little Sacred Lights.”  In every human being, there is the light of God inside, which is commonly called conscience. When we become one with God, we become enlightened. The whole body becomes full of light. When the Gautama Buddha became enlightened, every cell of his body, his whole body, became bright like a source of light.

When Saint Paul became enlightened, he felt like he was in the middle of a great fire--but there was no fire around him--and he heard the voice of God. The same thing happened with Jesus.

The Supreme Being pervaded the cosmic ether, or Belimah, the Sunyata, the Nothingness. The Supreme Being is therefore called by various names by various religions: The Nothingness, The Void, The Light, The Sacred Light, The Almighty, The Wisdom, The Truth, The Word, The Monad, The Đại Linh Quang …

As each one of us is granted a spark of God’s Sacred Light, which consciousness is commonly called conscience, with cultivation of that conscience we may discover and become one with the Great Sacred Light, or “become enlightened.”

·     A major fundamental CaoDai teaching professes that “Thầy là Các con, các con là Thầy”or “I, your Master, am you; and you, My children are Me.”This teaching denotes the immanent aspect of “Đức Chí Tôn.”

His omnipresence and omnipotence are depicted in the following message:

(CSCDHM, p35):

“Nhiên Đăng (Dipankara) Buddha is Me,

Sakya Muni (Gautama Buddha) is Me,

Thái Thượng Nguơn Thỉ (Lao Tse) is Me,

Who is CaoDai.

“Buddha, God; God, Buddha are Me,

Although different, all branches belong to one same trunk (family), 

Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity are in My hands.

Because of love, I come to save humanity for the 3rd time.”

Following are excerpts from the Thánh Ngôn Hiệp Tuyển 1972, p. 170 corresponding to the CSCDHM 2015, p. 234, which describe the omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, immanence of God.

   “Thầy đã nói với các con rằng: Khi chưa có chi trong càn-khôn Thế-Giới thì khí Hư-Vô sanh ra có một Thầy và ngôi của Thầy là Thái-Cực. 

        Thầy phân Thái-Cực ra Lưỡng-Nghi, Lưỡng-Nghi phân ra Tứ-Tượng, Tứ-Tuợng biến Bát-Quái, Bát-quái biến-hóa vô cùng, mới lập ra Càn-Khôn Thế-Giới. Thầy lại phân tánh Thầy mà sanh ra vạn-vật là: vật-chất, thảo-mộc, côn-trùng, thú-cầm, gọi là chúng-sanh. 

        Các con đủ hiểu rằng: 

        Chi-chi hữu-sanh cũng do bởi chơn-linh Thầy mà ra, hể có sống, ắt có Thầy. Thầy là cha của sự-sống, vì vậy mà lòng háo-sanh của Thầy không cùng tận.” Cái sống của chúng sanh, Thầy phân phát cả càn khôn thế giới, chẳng khác nào như một nhành hoa trong cội, nó phải đủ ngày giờ Thầy nhất định mới trổ bông và sanh trái, đặng trồng nữa biến hoá ra thêm; nếu như ai bẻ hoa ấy nữa chừng thì là sát một kiếp sanh không cho biến hoá.”

 

“I have told you that when there was nothing in this universe, the cosmic ether gave birth only to Me, and My throne is the universal monad. I divided the monad into the dyad, which is Yin and Yang, and then into the tetrad and then into the eight trigrams. The latter changes continuously to form the universe. I then divided My spirit to create ten thousand things, from elements to finally living beings: plants, insects, animals and humans.

You should understand that everything emanates out of My spirit; wherever there is life, there am I. I am the progenitor of life. My love of life is unfathomable. Life is given freely to all living beings out of My Being. I distribute life everywhere in the universe. Life erupts like a flower from a tree: it develops from the bud into bloom, and evolves to form fruit that seeds more trees ad infinitum. If someone cuts that flower, the fruit of life is interrupted and future evolution is prevented.”

·      CaoDai theology sees Đức Chí Tôn or the Supreme Beingboth as an impersonal,invisible, omniscient, omnipotent, permanent force as described above as well as a personalThầy.” Thầy in Vietnamese is used to address to both the father or teacher or master who nurtures, educates, extends an immense love to His “student” called “con” or “child.”The appellation of “Thầy'' connotes a loving, affectionate relationship between father and child, and that between teacher and student.

The CaoDaists come to their “Thầy” for support, encouragement, confidence, consolation, and guidance in their daily life. He/she also fears his reprimand, and therefore tries to behave, as s/he also believes in the invisible, all-knowing God. Here we can see the overlapping of the personal and the impersonal God. Any punitive aspect is attributed to a cause-and-effect phenomenon, or Karma, which originates from the person him/herself.

What we learn from the above is that there should be a Supreme Force at the center of our life. We may discover that Supreme Force, that Cosmic Principle, most commonly by the following four ways: 

- Observing closely His creations as mentioned earlier, at the natural order of the universe in large scale, and near our own body in the smaller scale; 

- Reading through the multitude of scriptures we are given; 

- Hearing testimonies from our fellow human beings, 

- Cultivating an intuitive personal connection with the Divine through our meditative states.

CaoDai is at the same time monotheistic, believing in one God; panentheistic as Đức Chí Tôn, God  is immanent in all, but also above and greater than all.  Nevertheless, CaoDai scripture describes that the immanence of God exists in all from materials, plants, and animals, to include humans; thus, animism also constitutes an aspect of CaoDai theology.  

 

THE DIVINE ‘THIRD’ EYE

The third eye (also known as the inner eye) is a mystical and esoteric concept referring to a speculative invisible eye which provides perception beyond ordinary sight (Third Eye- en.m.wikipedia.org, accessed 3/1/ 2020). 

“In certain dharmic spiritual traditions such as Hinduism,the third eye refers to the ajna, or brow chakra. In Hinduism, the third eye is said to be located around the middle of the forehead, slightly above the junction of the eyebrows. Hinduism and Buddhism believe that the third eye is the center of wisdom or enlightenment.” In Buddhism, there are techniques and practices involving the opening of this center with the ultimate goal of understanding existing reality as it is: unsatisfactory, impermanent and unsubstantial (non-self or anatta). Tibetan tradition has gone so far as to use a surgical procedure to attempt to open this divine eye. In Hinduism, it is the last chakra to open before the crown chakra, which opens at the point of Moksha/enlightenment.  

In Theosophy the third eye refers to the gate that leads to inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness. It is believed to be connected with the pineal gland. “According to this theory, humans had in ancient times an actual third eye in the back of the head with a physical and spiritual function. Over time, as humans evolved, this eye atrophied and sunk into what today is known as the pineal gland. Dr. Rick Strassman has hypothesized that the pineal gland, which maintains light sensitivity, is responsible for the production and release of DMT(dimethyltryptamine), an entheogen which he believes possibly could be excreted in large quantities at the moments of birth and death.”

“In New Age Spirituality, the third eye often symbolizes a state of enlightenment or the evocation of mental images having deeply personal spiritual or psychological significance. The third eye is often associated with religious visions, clairvoyance, the ability to observe chakras and auras, precognition, and out-of-body experiences. People who are reputed to have the capacity to utilize their third eyes are sometimes known as seers.”

“InTaoism, "third eye training" involves focusing attention on the point between the eyebrows with the eyes closed, while the body is in various qigong postures. The goal of this training is to allow students to tune into the correct "vibration" of the universe to reach more advanced meditation levels. Taoism teaches that the third eye, also called the mind's eye, is situated between the two physical eyes, and expands up to the middle of the forehead when opened. Taoism claims that the third eye is one of the main energy centers of the body located at the sixth chakra, forming a part of the main meridian, the line separating left and right hemispheres of the body.” In Taoism, the third eye is the frontal part of the "Upper Đan-Tiền" (upper cinnabar field).

“According to the Christian teaching of Father Richard Rohr, the concept of the third eye is a metaphor for non-dualistic thinking; the way the mystics see. In Rohr's concept, mystics employ the first eye (sensory input such as sight) and the second eye (the eye of reason, meditation, and reflection), "but they know not to confuse knowledge with depth, or mere correct information with the transformation of consciousness itself. The mystical gaze builds upon the first two eyes—and yet goes further." Rohr refers to this level of awareness as "having the mind of Christ.”

Again, CaoDai teaching explains the meaning of the third eye as follows:

“The heart manifests at the eye. 

Presiding over everything are two sources of light (Yin and Yang); 

Light is spirit; 

Spirit is God.  

The person’s inner-feelings translate into the expression of the eyes; or as it is often said, “The eyes are the windows to the soul.” At the origin of everything in the universe are the Yin and Yang lights. Light represents the Spirit of God. CaoDai believes that God’s spirit resides in the third eye. During meditation, the person directs the Chi flow to the third eye and may become connected to the Supreme Being, realizing the union with God, or enlightenment.

 

Matthew 6:22 states: “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”‘Thine eye be single’ may refer to that a person, having opened their third eye, becomes enlightened (the whole body shall be full of light), no longer seeing things with only their two physical eyes, clouded by discrimination or judgment. 

A person should see everything in the universe with their third eye, their single eye, with impartiality, without judgment, without discrimination, and thus will become one with everything. We are the universe, and the universe is us. This oneness is well reflected in this teaching: “CaoDai without being CaoDai is the true CaoDai.” We will no longer see us apart from others, judge others, or their religions, as wrong or defective; we will see them as part of a Whole. Enlightenment is when we do not see ourselves anymore as a separate entity, but as one with everything in the universe.

 

The left eye in CaoDai represents the symbol for the Supreme Being, God, as well as the symbol of the faith. The left in CaoDai is associated with Yang energy, and Yang refers to God energy; the right, being Yin, is associated with Mother Goddess/Shakti energy. Interestingly, it is sometimes said that when a CaoDai person passes away leaving only the left eye open, it is an initial sign that they have reached enlightenment (maha-samadhi in Sanskrit). 

Please see “History of the Founding of CaoDai” in chapter six for the account of how the first disciple, Mr Ngô Văn Chiêu, received the vision of the Divine Eye for use in worshipping.

 

III - THE MOTHER GODDESS 

 

As we have read, CaoDai is a novel faith founded through spiritualism by the Supreme Being in the 1920s in Vietnam. It teaches that all religions have one same Divine origin and all religions are united through similarities in teaching of Love, Compassion and Justice. Mother Goddess is worshipped concurrently with Father God in CaoDai.

Justice is particularly observed in the place of the woman in the CaoDai family.   


To address the feminine role in CaoDai, may I, Hong, start with a personal anecdote?... I was raised in a city in Vietnam and educated through a modern French academy. I had a Buddhist background and started to learn about CaoDai when I met my husband, Hum Dac Bui. After graduation from medical school, we moved to TayNinh, where my husband’s parents lived and where the CaoDai Holy See is and CaoDai followers are concentrated. I learned rapidly of the democratic aspect of CaoDai and the respect of the woman in the CaoDai family. My parents-in-law, who lived with us, would offer me food at the table, care for my well-being, and care about my decisions. I was happily impressed with their considerate manner and respectfully loved them even more. I learned about the Mother Goddess and the role of the female college in the sacerdoce as well as the role of the woman in CaoDai, which I would like to share with you.

 

CaoDai venerates the Mother Goddess and her nine Immortal muses. According to CaoDai cosmology, at the beginning of all there was a chaotic, nebulous, silent Space with a mixed pure and impure atmosphere called Khí Hư Vô,or the Nil,or the Cosmic Ether,corresponding to the “Cosmic soup”in Science. From that Khí Hư Vô, a big explosion occurred and the Đại Linh Quang or Great Sacred Light appeared. We read in awe about the “big explosion” in the scripture which corresponds to the “Big Bang” in science (especially since that part of the scripture antedated the Big BangTheory in science). The Đại Linh Quang or Great Sacred Light was the unique Monad, “Đức Chí Tôn,” the Supreme Being,God. The Monad divided into the Dyad, with the Dương Quang Positive (Male) Light and the Âm Quang Negative (Female) Light. The Supreme Being governs the Positive Light, and entrusts the Negative Light to the Mother Goddess, who derives by emanation from the Monad.The Mother Goddess then drew energy from the Positive Light to combine with the Negative Light for the creation of the universe and the bodies for the eight souls: mineral soul, plant soul, animal soul, human soul, local spirit soul, saint soul, immortal soul, and buddha soul. Then the Mother Goddess sent these souls to the earth and thus created minerals, plants, animals, and humans. The visible physical body and the semi-visible mind and emotions come from the Mother Goddess. Everything visible in the Universe comes from the Mother Goddess. On the other hand, the invisible spirit, our Small Sacred Ligh tthat is in all of us living beings, is granted by the Father God by emanation of His Great Sacred Light. Thus, all in the universe come from the Supreme Being and the Mother Goddess. The Supreme Being gives the spirit and the Mother Goddess provides the mind and the physical body of all visible beings.

 

Taoism, one of the three original Eastern religions represented in CaoDai, describes the creation process in the following way: "The Tao begets One, The One begets two, two begets three, three ten thousand beings carry Yin on their back and hold Yang in front, blending these two vital breaths to attain harmony."(Tao Te Ching, 42) Taoism calls the Creator the Tao, and the Tao is the Nothingness: ”There was something nebulous, existing before the heaven and earth, silent, empty, standing alone, altering not, moving cyclically without being exhausted, and which may be called the Mother of all under heaven.” (Tao Te Ching, 25)

 

The Mother Goddess uses all means to educate humanity to bring themback to their divine origin. She is always with her children, nurturing, teaching, helping them to progress in their spiritual cultivation to return home. In CaoDai scriptures, the Mother Goddess gave innumerable, touching, graceful messages to her children on Earth. Her main messages are for us to tend to the service to humanity and to our self-cultivation. On service to humanity, a message from Cholon, Vietnam on 5/2/1965 is reproduced here: 

“Children, look around you... Alas! Multitude of misery, multitude of people in solitude, suffering from the cold, from hunger, at this or that section of town, with no home, lacking clothing, lacking care and comfort. They are waiting for your loving hands, your kind words. This task has for you, and will ask for,  a formidable amount of energy and resources. One of you cannot respond to this demand alone, it needs all of you to cooperate. This is why I come to you today to bring some warmth to you who have been lost in the coldness of time, and to show you the way of service, that each one of you has a responsibility for. Many of you who are enlightened early in your life, you realize where the truth is, where be the error, where is love and righteousness, where are the mortal lures, where is the ephemeral glory leading only to unhappiness. Children, look at all that you are enjoying, where is happiness? Happiness does not come proceed from Thầy Mẹ (God and Goddess), does not reside in magnificent houses, pillows of silver or beds of ivory, but happiness is what you receive in your heart when you do service to others: joy, satisfaction, bliss. Spend your time to provide to all people, to all societies, emotional support, food, clothing, shelter, schools, hospitals... This constitutes happiness for them and for you, a happiness that cannot be stolen by thieves, cannot be destroyed by flames or flood. If you do not see the source of that happiness, you will always live in the impermanence of this deceitful world and in endless reincarnation...”

 

(The Heart of the Gentle Loving Mother,1965-1969 from Cơ Quan Phổ Thông Giáo Lý. Translation by Bui and Bui).

 

For our self-cultivation,the basis resides in compassion, love and justice. Compassion consists of being sensitive to the sufferings of others and of trying our best to help relieve those sufferings. “Love” means unconditional love not only to our fellow humans but to all creatures from animals to plants. Love is also a forgiving love, which eventfully brings the person, though they make mistakes,back to the righteous way. Justice means to be fair, equanimous to all. Being vegetarian also expresses justice, besides love,since it is not just to have pleasure in satisfying our senses while bringing about the killing of animals, which themselves have a life to live, a family of their own to nurture.

 

The Mother also sent practical tips for self-improvement:

 

  • Try to control the human emotions of anger, jealousy, hatred, fear, desire.

  • Do small things to become great.

  • Fight laziness.

  • Be aware that we tend to embellish ourselves physically while forgetting to improve our virtues.

  • Be aware that human emotions bury our good nature. Returning to the  inner-self and shedding the layers of impurity will allow one to discover the gem deep inside ourselves, the pure spirit which guides us in righteous thinking, speech and action.

 

In summary, the Mother Goddess holds the following powers:

 

  • Possesses the creative Negative (Yin, Female) Light energy/Shakti,while the Supreme Being holds the Positive (Yang, Male) Light Energy. The Mother Goddess combines the Negative Light with the Positive Light to create all visible beings.

  • Governs “Kim Bàn” (Golden Dimension) where she uses Yin and Yang energies to create the mind.

  • Educates and saves all creatures by leading them back to their divine origin.

  • Governs the “Tạo Hoá Thiên” or the Creating and Nurturing dimension, the ninth celestial realm, where she creates all creatures and from which Buddhas travel to the world to nurture and educate all creatures to bring them back to their origin.

  • She is the spiritual mother of all creatures.

  • She directs the nine Lady Immortals and a multitude of Buddhas to help her in the salvation of humanity.

 

IV - CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING


 Humans are composed of three parts: 

-       The visible physical body, created by the Mother Goddess from a combination of negative and positive elements (Yin and Yang energies).

-       The mind and emotions, semi-visible, also from Mother Goddess using Yin and Yang elements. 

-       The spirit, conscience or soul, invisible, the Little Sacred Light emanated by Father God, the Monad, Brahman, the Great Sacred Light.

The energies of the mind and the body form the second body of the human which is the semi-visible subtle body. It is light; in order for the second body to be able to incarnate onto the Earth, which is at a heavier and lower dimension, it has to wear many heavy coats, which are responsible for human emotions and desires. But then, on Earth, these emotions and desires need to undergo purification. The physical body responds to the demands of the six senses, vision from the eyes, scents from the nose, hearing from the ears, tasting from the tongue, touching from the skin, and perception from the mind. These demands generate desires, anger, fear, jealousy, hatred, overt happiness (as opposed to spiritual bliss), all of which create unrest (in Buddhism, Dukkha, or forms of suffering) in the person.When a person dies, the body will become dust; and the second body will progress depending on the weight of the coats the person wears. Souls with good emotions (more Yang) and who have gotten rid of the heavy coats of emotions and desires, would be lighter and would be dwelling at higher dimensions. Souls with more negative emotions (wearing more coats), would be heavier, and would be dwelling at lower, darker, colder dimensions.  The physical yearnings and subsequent emotions need to be controlled by the pure Spirit or conscience, in order to progress to lighter dimensions and finally to enlightenment.

 (For students of Hinduism: CaoDai combines the annamaya kosha/body made of food and the pranamaya kosha/life energy into the first body; the manomaya kosha and vijnanamaya kosha into the second body; and of course, reaching enlightenment as a function of the anandamaya kosha/Spirit or Little Sacred Light and the Atman). Souls that have not completed their growth will have to reincarnate to finish up karmic debts before ascending to reunion with the Supreme Being.

 

The three “bodies” correspond to the “Tinh, Khí, Thần”called the Three Treasures which are offered to God during prayers, and which also form the basis for cultivation in meditation. In the offering of the Three Treasures (Dâng Tam Bửu), flowers and fruits represent Tinh or the physical body, wine represents Khí or Chơn Thần,or the mind and the emotions, and tea represents Thần or Chơn Linh,or the spirit or soul.


 SUMMARY


CaoDai worships Father God (Đức Chí Tôn) and Mother Goddess (Đức Phật Mẫu).

God is the Monad, the Great Sacred Light (Brahman), the Unique God for All. By emanation, God divides the Monad into the Dyad, the Yang, which He governs and Yin,

which He entrusts to Mother Goddess. 

God, the Great Sacred Light emanates to give the Small Sacred Light or Spirit to the human and all in the universe. The Small Sacred Lights are also known as the spirit, the soul, the conscience which constitutes the invisible part in the human.

Mother Goddess creates the semi-visible mind and emotions and the visible physical bodies, from Yin and Yang elements.

Thus, the human constitution consists of three parts: the invisible pure Spirit or Little Sacred Light, the semi-visible mind and emotions and the visible physical body.


 

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