Monday, December 20, 2010

Cao Dai, watercolor on paper (an edited view of an altar)

Cao Đài Chữ Nôm: 道高台) is a syncretisticmonotheistic religion, officially established in the city of Tây Ninh, southern Vietnam, in 1926. Concerning the term Cao Đài, literally, Cao means "high" and Đài means "dais, as in a platform raised above the surrounding level to give prominence to the person on it." 
Adherents engage in ethical practices such as prayerveneration of ancestorsnonviolence, and vegetarianism with the minimum goal of rejoining God the Father in Heaven and the ultimate goal of freedom from the cycle of birth and death. Estimates of the number of Cao Đài adherents in Vietnam vary, but most sources give 2 to 3 million, with some estimates as high as 8 million. An additional 30,000 (numbers may vary), primarily ethnic Vietnamese, live in the United StatesEurope, and Australia.

According to Cao Dai, before God existed, there was the Tao, the nameless, formless, unchanging, eternal source referenced in the Tao Te Ching. Then a Big Bang occurred, out of which God was born (emanationism). The universe could not yet be formed and to do so, God created yin and yang. He took control of yang and shed a part of himself, creating the Goddess to preside over yin. In the presence of yin and yang, the universe was materialized. The Goddess is, literally, the mother of the myriad of things in the Universe. Thus, Caodaiists worship not only God the father, but also the Holy Mother, literally referred to as the Mother Buddha.

1 comment:

Kelley Carey MacDonald said...

Did they really factor in the Big Bang? Wow. I'd be so interested to see what the 'mother buddha' looks like. Probably my body type...