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Questions about Cao Dai(reply : edit : del)
Posted by Hien Cao on 8/8/2011 12:00 AM

> Hi, I have a lot of questions about the Cao Dai religion because I'm doing a
> research paper for school on it. I hope to receive a reply ASAP. If you
> could help me, I'd greatly appreciate it.
> When you reply, please tell me your name so I can cite it correctly in my
> paper. Thank you.
> -If you have read Graham Greene's novel "The Quiet American," do you have
> any comments about the portrayal of the Cao Dai religion mentioned in Part
> Two, Chapter 2?

*** Dear Vivianne,

I am Hum D. Bui, M.D., member of CaoDai faith, author of the book "CaoDai, Faith of Unity."
I am glad that you are interested in studying CaoDai.
Regarding the book "The Quiet American", personally, I find its information inaccurate and it may mislead people.

> -What would you tell someone who is either an atheist or an agnostic?

*** The most important values of human being is to honor Love and Justice. Love is the true unintentional love without any personal benefit, and Justice is "Do not do to others what you don't want others to do unto you." If anyone whether they are atheist or agnostic would observe the above two principles the world would have peace.

> -What are the methods of recruitment to the Cao Dai religion?

*** Methods of recruitment to CaoDai faith is by mouth to mouth, personal recommendation, presentation on CaoDai upon invitation from group, organizations, universities, publishment of CaoDai books or articles.

> -Any political affiliations? And what stances do followers take on issues
> such as abortion, gay rights, right-to-die, etc...

*** CaoDai would not allow individuals to use CaoDai faith for political purpose. For love of life, CaoDai does not allow killing life, abortion is considered as a kind of killing a future baby and therefore considered as a crime. Regarding gays, CaoDai does not have any particular rule for them. To my personal opinion, I consider them as an abnormal condition (possibly a disease caused by an abnormal gene) and treat them just as a person according to Love and Justice.
Right to die: CaoDai does not allow suicide therefore would not approve anyone for killing self.

> -If there are church services, do the people who attend have to dress up or
> remain modest?

*** For church services or for any events in life, CaoDai always recommend to dress modestly. No luxury.

> -Are there ceremonies or rituals for events such as weddings, births, or
> deaths? If yes, how are these performed?

*** For new born there is a ceremony called Tam Thanh (holy shower) in front of the altar of a Caodai temple, where the CaoDai priest prays for divine blessing for the baby and sprinkles the baby with Holy water. For weddings and deaths, there are special ceremonies accordingly.

> -Are there people who only follow Cao Dai (people who don't follow other
> religions Cao Dai draws upon, such as Buddhism, Taoism, or Christianity)?

*** People who are born CaoDai may not follow other religions, but they are recommended to study other religions for educational purpose. CaoDai has been receiving spiritual messages and teachings from deities of other religions such as Sakya Muni Gautama, Lao Tse, Confucius, Jesus, St Peter etc...

> -Since followers are advised to pray certain times a day at specific times,
> do they a)stop what they're doing and pray on the spot or b)pray at a temple
> or altar?

*** CaoDai disciples do not have to stop what they are doing for praying. They always anticipate praying time and save that time for praying. If they are busy they don't have to stop any activity for praying on the spot. They pray in front of the altar either at home or in the temple.

> -What do Cao Dai followers believe happen to the souls of those forced to
> fight in wars?

*** When persons are doing their duties by fighting in wars, they are serving their country, and are considered as heroes of the country, and of the people. CaoDai does not recommend to kill beings, but fighting for saving further damage on people of the country is considered as a humanitarian action. The soul of those people who were sacrified for the country may become Angels, or Saints.
One of the precept is do not kill living beings including animals. CaoDai disciples therefore practice vegetarianism for self cultivation. This practice falls into the principle Justice "do not do to others what you don't want others to do to you." Of course one likes to live, so why kill others?

> -Is there a never-too-late-to-change mentality? Is there always a chance to
> be saved or is it believed that once a person starts on the wrong path
> they're doomed?

***There is "never too late." Anyone who is following a wrong path may change their mind and return to the right path at any time, even right before their death.

> -Are dead bodies usually buried or cremated?

*** Dead body may be either burried or cremated.

> -Are followers encouraged to live the simple life?

*** Followers are encouraged to live a simple life.

> -How often do celebrations or gatherings take place?

*** Worshipping ceremony is daily. There are big ceremonies on the 1st and 15th day of lunar month.

> -Cao Dai beliefs relating to marriage, love, and/or divorce?

*** CaoDai suggests one marriage for life, and allow remarriage only when the spouse dies. It does not encourage divorce except for the wellness and best benefits of the parties (including the children). Therefore choosing spouse should be done carefully before marriage and based on virtues, sincerity and spiritual level of a person, believing that materialism will never last. Love is based on sincerity, true love, but not on materialism.

> If there is any additional information you can provide that you think would
> be useful, please tell me.
> Thank you.
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