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Đại Đạo Cao Đài

Mời quí vị người Việt Nam vào trang này để thấy được Toà Thánh Tây Ninh


Cao Đài (Vietnamese: Cao Đài (help·info)Chữ Nôm: 道高台) is a syncretistic, monotheistic religion, officially established in the city of Tây Ninh, southern Vietnam, in 1926. Đạo Cao Đài is the religion's shortened name, the full name is Đại Đạo Tam Kỳ Phổ Độ (Great Religion [of The] Third Period [of] Revelation [and] Salvation). Concerning the term Cao Đài, literally, Cao means "high" and Đài means "raised platform, or a place that is situated above ground level." Figuratively, it means that highest place where God reigns. Caodaiists often use the term Đức Cao Đài (Venerable Cao Dai) as the abbreviated name for God, the creator of the universe, whose full title is Cao Đài Tiên Ông Đại Bồ Tát Ma-ha-tát (translation: Cao Dai [the] Ancient Sage [and] Great Bodhisattva Mahasattva). According to Caodaiists, the full title was purposefully chosen by God because within it are representations of the Three Teachings: Saint, Sage and Buddha.

Caodaiists credit God as the religion's founder. They believe the teachings, symbolism and organization were communicated directly from God. Even the construction of the Tây Ninh Holy See is claimed to have had divine guidance. Cao Đài's first disciples, Ngô Văn Chiêu, Cao Quỳnh Cư, Phạm Công Tắc and Cao Hoài Sang, claimed to have received direct communications from God, who gave them explicit instructions for establishing a new religion that would commence the Third Era of Religious Amnesty.

Adherents engage in ethical practices such as prayer, veneration of ancestors, nonviolence, 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[citation needed]. An additional 30,000 (numbers may vary), primarily ethnic Vietnamese, live in the United States, Europe, and Australia.

Contents [hide]
1 Origin of God and the universe
2 Scriptures
3 Symbolism
4 The Three Teachings
5 The three periods of revelation and salvation
5.1 First period
5.2 Second period
5.3 Third period
6 Religious constitution and organization
7 Schism
8 Saints
9 See also
10 References
11 External links

[edit] Origin of God and the universe

Cao Dai ceremony
A pantheon of venerated entities. Left to right: Quan Âm (Guan Yin), Thái Thượng Lão Quân (Taishang Laojun), Thích-ca Mâu-ni (Buddha), Khổng Tử (Confucius), Quan Vũ (Guan Yu). Descending from Buddha: Văn Xương Đế Quân, Giê-su (Jesus Christ) and Lão Tử (Laozi)
Closeup of a traditional Cao Dai altar.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 Goddess, literally referred to as the Mother Buddha. Note that God's importance and role is higher than that of the Mother Buddha. Also, the Mother Buddha, like all buddhas, is a part of Yang, and therefore is male. Yin is the female side, and the Mother Buddha oversees Yin, but is not a part of Yin.

There are 36 levels of heaven and 72 planets harboring intelligent life, with number one being the closest to heaven and 72 nearest to Hell. Earth is number 68. It is said that even the lowest citizen on planet 67 would not trade place with a king on 68 and so forth.

[edit] Scriptures
The Tây Ninh Holy See recognizes three main scriptures:

1.Thánh Ngôn Hiệp Tuyển
2.Pháp Chánh Truyền (The Religious Constitution of Caodaiism)
3.Kinh Thiên Đạo Và Thế Đạo
Other sects have additional scriptures.

[edit] Symbolism

A sphere depicting the Divine Eye inside the Tây Ninh Holy SeeGod is symbolized by the Divine Eye, specifically the left eye because Yang is the left side and God is the master of Yang.

[edit] The Three Teachings
In the order of most to least difficult, the Three Teachings within Caodaiism are:

Sage (Wise old man)
The Three Teachings represent hierarchical levels of spiritual attainment, with buddha as the highest. Caodaiism's various stages of spiritual development from human on up are: Thần (angel), Thánh (saint), Tiên (sage), and Phật (buddha). Angels, saints and sages may have, accordingly, extremely long lives in the realms of heaven, but only buddhas are free from the cycle of birth and death.

[edit] The three periods of revelation and salvation
[edit] First period
1.The Teachings of Buddhas – Dipankara buddha
2.The Teachings of Sages
3.The Teachings of Saints
[edit] Second period
1.The Teachings of Buddhas – Shakyamuni buddha
2.The Teachings of Sages – Laozi
3.The Teachings of Saints – Confucius and Jesus
[edit] Third period
God is at the helm. Jesus is regarded as a Buddha and true Son of God, shed directly from God.

[edit] Religious constitution and organization

Inside the Tay Ninh Holy See in Tay Ninh, VietnamCaodaiism's organizational structure closely resembles that of many governments of democracies. Caodaiism's governing body consists of three branches that are functionally equivalent to the U.S.'s legislative, executive and judicial branches: Cửu Trùng Đài, Hiệp Thiên Đài and Bát Quái Đài.

The head of the Executive Branch is called "Giáo Tông", which means leader or head of a philosophical or religious organization. Similarities between the hierarchy of Caodaiism's dignitaries and those of the Catholic Church have led translators to borrow terminologies such as pope, cardinals, bishops, priests, etc. In practice, Caodaiism has more ranks and titles of which there are no official English translation as of yet. The actual Vietnamese term for Pope, as in the Catholic Pope, is "Giáo Hoàng."

Caodaiism stresses equality among men and women in society. However, in the spiritual domain, ordained women may not attain the two highest positions: Legislative Cardinal and Pope. The church claims this is ordered by God, who declared that because Yang represents male and Yin corresponds to female, Yin cannot dominate Yang spiritually or else chaos.

[edit] Schism
Like other religions, Caodaiism has also faced schisms. Some of the Cao Dai sects that have broken away from the Tây Ninh Holy See are Chiếu Minh, Bến Tre and Đà Nẵng. Ngô Văn Chiêu founded Chiếu Minh when he left the original church structure, refusing his appointment as Caodaiism's first Pope.

[edit] Saints

A painting depicting the Three Saints signing a covenant between God and humanity. From left to right: Sun Yat-sen, Victor Hugo and Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm.Although various sects of Caodaiism claim to have received messages from numerous spiritual entities, the Tây Ninh Holy See acknowledges significantly fewer. Inside the Holy See is a painting depicting the Three Saints [1] signing a covenant between God and humanity. From left to right, they are Sun Yat-sen, Victor Hugo and Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm.

[edit] See also
General Trinh Minh The
I-Kuan Tao, a similar syncretistic, monotheistic religion based in Taiwan
[edit] References
This article does not cite any references or sources.
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (July 2010)

[edit] External links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Cao Dai

Travel Vietnam – Cao Dai Temple
Centre for Studies in Caodaiism, Sydney
The British Cao Dai Community
Tam Kỳ Nguyên Nguyên Bản Bản
Cao Đài Overseas Missionary Cao Đài site
Hội Văn Hóa Cao Đài – Caodai Cultural Association, Australia
Andy Soloman "Cao Dai Struggles for Survival in Vietnam"
Cao Đài
Religious Movements Library: Cao Daism
PBS feature: Cao Đài
Reporter Ron Gluckman's impression of Caodaiism
Edward B. Robinson's "The Godhead" based on Cao Dai teachings

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