.: Cao Dai  

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF CAO DAI(reply : edit : del)
Posted by Stephen Contrado on 6/9/2009 3:44 PM
Stephen Contrado, B.A., Th.M.

Cao Dai is a religion which was established in Vietnam in 1926 by Ngo Van Chieu (1878-1932). It combines Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian elements. Many of its religious rituals derive from traditional Vietnamese beliefs.

The religion is based on revelations Ngo received beginning in 1919. Cao Dai resembles the high church in the West having a pontiff, numerous ranks of priests, and is housed in an exquisitely constructed holy see with altars, paintings, and ceremonies. Cao Dai's governing body is divided into the executive, legislative, and judicial branches like a democracy.

Cao Dai means ‘High Throne,’ referring to the highest God himself. Cao Dai holds that the same God created all religions for the various people. Ancestors are venerated and needs are answered through prayer.

Cao Dai members believe the Father God, Cao Dai, created the world in concert with the Mother Goddess, Duc Phat Mau, and revere Jesus Christ and the Buddha as divine beings. God sends spiritually enlightened beings to humans to bring humanity knowledge and to inform us about our mission. Buddhas are free from karma and the cycle of birth and death.

The governing Cao Dai members have been mediums who practice automatic writing by means of a basket "planchette" attached to a pencil. Their spirit messages guide the Cao Dai movement. Several members hold the planchette and obtain the spiritist message. French spiritualism and theosophy helped shape the church's beginning. The spirit of the famous Franch author Victor Hugo was one of leading spirits to contact the Cao Dai mediums, and Hugo is one of their chief saints.

Cao Dai has about 3 million members in Vietnam and abroad. Followers practise ethical ideals, including vegetarianism and nonviolence to bring about harmony through the balance of yin and yang forces.

There is a Cao Dai heaquarters and study center at 1608 Smiley Heights Dr., Redlands, CA 92373.

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