Cao Dai is a religion,which was established officially,in the year 1926,in South Vietnam,in the city of Tay Ninh.It is a highly syncretic,monotheistic religion that seeks to establish a basis upon which major world religions can be united.It is the third largest religion in Viet Nam (after Buddhism and Roman Catholicism).
Caodaiists believe the God to be the founder of the religion.Cao means 'high' and Dai means 'Dais'(raised Platform for the leaders),which means - 'The supreme spiritual place of the God' ie the kingdom of the heaven.The followers strongly believe that,- the teachings,symbolism and organization were directly communicated from the God,by the initial disciples.
They were instructed by the God, for establishing a new religion.Caodaism is a syncretistic religion which combines the elements from many of the world's main religions, including Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, as well as Geniism, an native religion of Viet Nam.Cao Dai represents the Three Teachings - Saint, Sage and Buddha.
As per the Cao Daiist,before the God existed,there was the nameless,formless and an eternal source called the 'Tao',from which God was born with a big bang.Further to create the universe,the God created yin and yang.By taking the control of yang,th God shed a part of himself and created the Goddess to preside over yin.The Goddess is, literally, the mother of the infinite Universe.Hence the Caodaiists worship 'God the father',as well as the Holy Mother,called the Mother-Buddha.
There is no differenciation between men and women in the Caodaiists' society.However,in the spiritual circle,the ordained women may not attain the two highest positions of Legislative Cardinal and Pope,because,the church says,it is the orderof the God,which states- Yang represents male and Yin corresponds to female,hence,Yin cannot spiritually dominate Yang.
The Cao Daiists follow the custom of venerating the ancestors,non-violence, and vegetarianism.They have the motive of rejoining the God to get the Salvation ie the freedom from the cycle of birth and death.As per he records the population of Cao Daiist,in the world is now more than 4 millions. The organization structure of Caodaiists is somewhat similar to the democratic governments and the governing body,functions like the legislative,executive and judicial branches of United States of America. 'Giao Tong' is the name for the chief of the Executive Branch,which governs the philosophical or religious organization.It also includes cardinals,bishops,priests,a pope (Giao Hoang) and other ranks.
The activities of the Caodaiism were restricted by the communist government,with the unification of the Vietnam in 1975.Their executive body (Cuu Trung Dai) and the legislative body (Hiep Thien Dai )were discontinued and replaced with a Governing Council under the direct control of the government.Rituals and ceremonies continued without government interference.However,in the mid 1977,a new order came in to force,when the religion received official sanction from the government.
The history of the Cao Dai religion is divided into three periods of revelation,such - circa 2500 BCE, when the God,through religious leaders, established the Judaism in the Middle East,Hinduism in India and Yi king in China.Later,after few thousand years,the God established the Buddhism through Buddha, to Taoism through Lao Tse,Confucianism through Confucius, and Christianity through Jesus Christ.
Later,due to the moral weakness and faults of the religious leaders,the truth got disturbed and severalreligions were formed,which flourished only in the viscinities of the countries. The Caodaiist believe that the God was disturbed by the formation of the multiple religions,which prevented people from living together in harmony,also the limitations in communication and transportation prevented the formation of a single,true universal religion,desired by the human.Hence,the God decided to initiate a third revelation and founded the Caodaism by spiritism.
By adopting the Spiritism,the God communicated this new religion to human beings,which was performed by using simple mechanical devices.A small movable platform is placed on a board,lightly touched by two or more mediums and during the process,the platform moves around the board and point to various charaters - letters, numbers and words and communicates the mnessage.
A civil servant of the Cochinchina government,named 'Ngo Van Chieu',started reveiving the messages from a spirit called 'Duc Cao Dai',whom he believed to be the God.At the end of the year At Suu (1926 CE), Cao Dai instructed a small group of mediums to found a new religion.Accordingly,a group of 247 disciples officially founded the Caodaism religion on 26 th September,1926.
*The supreme power is one and that is the God,
*enerate the superior spirits and worship the ancestors.*In the beginning of the universe there was
only God, formless, nameless, unchangeable and all powerful,
*God divided His spirit into many parts, and created the universe, world, and its plants, animals and
material components,which contains a part of God's spirit,
*Humans and animals have a visible, physical body and an invisible component which is composed of
God's spirit,and a soul which is responsible for the emotions and personality,
*A person experiences a series of lives ie reincarnation,which can be broken by cultivating self and
finding God in self,
*If a person commits sins,he will live another life after the death.If he has purified himself spiritually,
and fulfilled all of their duties,he may take a good rebirth or salvation,
*Pray at least once per day,
*Eat from a vegetarian diet at least ten days a month,
*Do not kill the living beings,
*Do not be dishonest,
*Do not commit adultery,
*Do not get drunk,
*Do not sin by word,
*There are nine rank -Pope, Censor Cardinal, Cardinal, Archbishop Bishop, Priest, Student Priest,
Subdignitaries and Followers.