Basic Catechism of Caodaism (2)
14. What is the Universal Amnesty of the Third Universal Salvation?
God stated in Holy Messages that He founded the Great Way for the Third Universal Salvation as His third revelation. This is also the last salvation of the universal cycle of evolution. People who diligently practice the self-cultivation will be saved. The Venerable Master also announced that “In this era of Universal Amnesty, anyone who practices self-cultivation and accumulates merits will attain spiritual deliverance. Any good deed, no matter how trivial it is, would be rewarded and multiplied by three.”
Thus, the methods that God employs in the Third Salvation are more feasible than those in the previous ones. The Esoterric doctrine is also simplified to facilitate the study and practice in this present era. Especially, any pious adherent who has not attained awakening during his lifetime, can also carry his work merits over his death and continue his self-cultivation in the invisible realm.
Such privileged favors are given to mankind in the Third Relevation only, meaning the Universal Amnesty of the Third Salvation.
15. What is the last era?
According to Caodaism, human history is divided into three eras.
The first era (Thượng nguơn) refers to the Antiquity, when men were still innocent, honest, and worry-free.
The second era (Trung nguơn) refers to the Middle Age, characterized by intense wars within a country or among countries due to increasing human greed and hatred.
The last era (Hạ nguơn) refers to the Pre-Modern and Modern Times, as well as the time afterwards, when science and technology have been highly advanced, evoking and augmenting human needs to make use of and enjoy the comfort of the material life. The high technocracy, however, gives rise to the production of extremely dangerous weapons and mass-destructive wars. These detrimental effects, generated from the increasing imbalance between the material civilization and the spiritual ethics, threaten to destroy the entire world. Thus, the last era is also called the era of destruction.
16. What are the Caodaist perspectives of life?
Caodaists consider this world as a school where all humans should learn and try their best to accumulate work merits and improve virtues so as to advance in their evolution. It is why God often says that “this world is a contest of merits and virtues.”
Thus, Caodaists are not pessimistic, or denying to social life. Instead, they adjust themselves accordingly with their life circumstances, to fulfill their duties towards themselves, families, society, and country, prior to and during the stages of their practice for enlightenment and deliverance.
With respect to family, country, and society, Caodaists follow Confucian ethical tenets, which include the worship of ancestors and the commemoration of national heroes.
17. What is the Caodaist viewpoint of ideal human life?
Caodaists consider an ideal life when the society is regulated with humanistic factors of peace, justice, and love. God taught that “The way would not be accomplished as long as any of you still witnesses an injustice in this world.”
Thus, Caodaism is a religion for mankind to establish a perfect world of great harmony and justice.
18. Is Caodaism a humanistic religion?
Yes, it is. Caodaists believe that “religion and humankind are one.”
“Never does Caodai doctrine teach humans to merely seek happiness in the eternal realm or Nirvana, while others still suffer from famine, diseases, ignorance, discrimination, separation, exploitation, and so on.”
The humanistic principle of Caodaism is also stated in another holy message as follows: “In any territory or any country circumstances, the spiritual life must be based on humanism in order for the religious doctrine not to get into utopia or illusion.”
THE PURPOSE AND PRINCIPLE OF CAODAISM
19. What is the purpose of Caodaism?
On the individual aspects, Caodaism aims at saving the worldly humans and guiding them away from the cycle of karma and reincarnation. On the collective aspects, Caodaism strives to renovate the human society into a world of justice and of great harmony.
More precisely, the aims of Caodaism is summarized in the Divine motto: “Great Harmony in the Temporal Way, and Complete Deliverance in the Spiritual Way”.
20. What is the meaning of the “Great Harmony in the Temporal Way”?
It refers to a human society in which everyone strives to maintain harmony and justice throughout the world. The Temporal Way offers spiritual solutions for significant world problems such as racism, intolerance, and ignorance.
The “Great Harmony in the Temporal Way” serves the world with a sense of international fraternity, without discrimination of social classes, organizations, religions, or races .
Based on humanism, the “Great Harmony in the Temporal Way” upholds human dignity and rights, and improves human nature to establish a peaceful, moral, and civilized world which Caodaists often refer as a blissful and saintly world.
In a broader sense, the “Great Harmony in the Temporal Way” supports a universal love toward all beings, from the infinitely small to the infinitely large ones, including human beings and other species.
21. What is the meaning of the “Complete Deliverance in the Spiritual Way” ?
The Spiritual Way offers a stepwise path leading to the human spiritual completeness, to reach the ecstasies of happiness. Practitioners are able to free themselves from the physical and mental sufferings in the secular world. Eventually, they can attain the spiritual deliverance (nirvana) by breaking up the incarnation wheels and reaching the eternal life in Paradise. .
For this ultimate purpose, one who steps in the Spiritual Way must study the Great Cycle of Esoteric Doctrine (Mahayana). He/she must concentrate in cultivating his/her own salvation by way of meditation and self-purification, before being able to help others in their self-deliverance.
22. What is the principle of Caodaism?
The principle of Caodaism is to “return the Three Religions (i.e., Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism) to their primordial origin, and unite the Five religious Branches under the One”.
Caodaism or the so-called “the Great Way doctrine” is a syncretism of the Three Ancient Religions. Confucianism teaches humans the duties and virtues necessary to maintain a strong social bond. . Taoism helps people cultivate their bodies and minds, and live in harmony with the nature. . Buddhism offers the way to break up the cycles of sufferings in order to attain awakening (or enlightenment) and deliverance.
Thus, the consequences of “the Three Ancient Religions return to their primordial origin” are the “Great Harmony in the Temporal Way, and Complete Deliverance in the Spiritaul Way”.
“The Five Religious Branches unite under the One” illustrates an ordering pattern leading to the “God-man union”. It encompasses the the 5-level cultivation practice: Humans, Genies, Saints, Immortals, and Buddhas. Thus, the returning to One or the Unity of the Five Religious Branches forms a systematical and integral cultivation method that everyone should follow to achieve the ultimate goal of the human existence.
In other words, the principle of Caodaism is a syncretic way to achieve the ultimate goal of all religions, which is the perfection and salvation of humankind.
23. What is the meaning of “All religions are of the same truth”?
In addition to “the Three Religions return to their primordial origin and the Five Religious Branches unite under the One”, Caodaism also upholds the motto “All religions are of the same unique truth”.
With this motto, Caodaism recognizes the ultimate goal of all religions is to guide human beings to self-cultivate so that their spirits become perfect and compatible to God’s Divine Light. To state it differently, esoteric practice of all religions would lead human beings to the same ultimate goal, which is self-realization.
Thus, Caodaism supports the faith of all religions and promotes the one same principle, which is the Great Way.