Caodaism: a Religion for Peace
In the early years of the 20th century, in a small country in East Asia called Viet Nam, at the time still poor, under-developed and living under a colonialist regime, God created a new religion called CAO DAI through spiritist messages in which he instructed us on its philosophy, doctrine, and organizational structure. The official name of this religion is DAI DAO TAM KY PHO DO, translated literally “Third Revelation of the Great Way”. It was revealed that there would be a period of intense religious activity that would see God and Humanity united in ways not yet imagined. The Third Revelation established a new Great Way for salvation. The fundamental objective of the Third Revelation is the unity of all religions. Throughout human history, God the Father has revealed His Truth many times. His Divine Message has been translated through the mouths of many great prophets, but these messages have often been misunderstood because of human frailty. The Age has now come where God speaks to humanity directly.
The two earlier periods of religious revelation saw the rise of Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, and then Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, etc.. Caodaism as the embodiment of the Third Revelation comes to unite the traditions of these two periods. It was guided directly by Duc Cao Dai or God the Father and the Divine Beings.
One of the early messages received from God went as follows:
“Formerly people of the world lacked means of transportation, therefore they did not know each other. Nowadays, all parts of the world are explored : humanity, knowing itself better, aspires to real peace. But because of the very multiplicity of religions, humanity does not always live in harmony. That is why I decided to unite all these religions into One to bring them back to the primordial unity” (message received in 1926).
With this message, we acknowledge that because of religious differences, humanity does not always live in harmony. God has not come to Earth this time as an omnipotent supreme being with all his powers, he has come instead as a Father to teach His children, and as a Master Teacher to educate his students with Love and Justice for all. In one of memorable messages dated January 17, 1926, God has said : “You do not need to have the same name to be in the same family. By following the same Way, you all have the same father. In this life span of one hundred years, remember to serve humanity. And try your best to teach each other Concordance.
As I have said, I founded the genuine Tao for you. Nothing which strays from the true Way is from Me. I have come to teach humanity peace, and not to instigate further dissension.”
In brief, the doctrine of the Caodai religion is definitely a Religion for Peace, using Peace and Love as rules of conduct, considering that all human beings are brothers and sisters of the same Father.
From ancient times until nowadays, many methods have been introduced for bringing peace to humanity, but all failed. Peace is only temporary. Peace is only in the shadow of a war. Peace is only a short period to wait for the outbreak of a war, which can happen any time. Humanity has endured and will continue to endure countless sufferings, many deaths and much grief, living in constant fear of a new war which could come at any time and would destroy everything. People are terrified of the many killings caused by hate, racism or religious discrimination. Humanity, it seems, has never enjoyed lasting peace, or full love of all of humanity. As the Cao Dai religion uphold its principle for Peace that God has taught, so how Caodaism would bring permanent peace for Humanity?
God first explained to us all the reasons why Humanity could not have a lasting peace in the past, and instructed us on how to make it happen in the future.
First, we would like to share the spiritist messages which explain the causes that Humanity has not had a lasting peace :
- The world is so wicked today that the era of destruction approaches (Message received October 1, 1926)
- The world is even now in shadow. The Virtue of God has been wiped out; hate has inflamed the world. Humanity is destroying itself, for it does not use science and progress to good cause, the result of which is division and war. (Message received October 27, 1926)
- Universal virtues are overturned, customs and culture have deteriorated, people hate each other, struggle against each other, and established religions are tearing themselves apart, never caring for the consequences. The distinction between right and wrong is never considered. A human being in his last breath on earth still does not want to renounce his bad temper and flawed character. That is the reason why his soul has to descend to Hell’s kingdom (Message received January 21, 1927)
Thus, the above messages received from God explain why there has been no peace on earth. Humanity no longer observes the right ethical teachings, people hate and kill each other because of racism and religious discrimination, so war becomes inevitable. In brief, there is no lasting peace on this planet and the real cause is humanity.
So, where is the solution? In two messages received October 1st, 1926 and October 28, 1926, God said:
“There must be a new teaching capable of uniting humanity in the love of all creation.
This new doctrine will be universal. If all human beings practice it, the peace promised to all races will indeed be realized.”
Before formulating a universal doctrine for all, God taught that people must practice first the Way of Humanity, which is to be virtuous , so the Confucian doctrine has to be re-established in order to teach humanity how to behave in a righteous manner. Men and women who realize their own human dignity are full persons, because they recognize their love for other men and women, they see the universal love in their hearts, they can find God in their inner souls. Thus, the veneration of the Divine Eye in Cao Dai religion also means that God has called human beings to return to their consciences. Returning to their own conscience is a synonym for returning to their inner God, thus eliminating all hatred between human beings.
So, how can we reach a universal world ? In a message received August 15, 1933, God prophesied: “Humanity will become one, one in race, one in religion, one in ideology.” To us, this is a special message that God wants to issue to the whole world, and Cao Dai religion will bring eternal peace to humanity on this planet Earth.
- One Race: For all human beings in this world, regardless of race, color, language, sex, living in any country on this globe, all are brothers and sisters, having a common Father God, all coming from God's spirit. Cao Dai doctrine teaches that each race has its own sacred personality that God has given to it. Whether they live in a civilized country, or in an underdeveloped one, each race has its own culture. There are things that one country may consider civilized, while other countries may consider them as uncivilized or immoral. Therefore, the races must be treated with equality, mutual respect for their culture, in a world community now tending towards globalization in every field. We need to promote global tolerance in cultural, political, social, and religious affairs.
- One religion: because Cao Dai philosophy is a universal religion. All religions in this world share some aspects of the three traditions: Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. All religions are equal, because they are all created by God. God’s message is as follows : “Formerly people of the world lacked means of transportation, therefore they did not know each other. Nowadays, all parts of the world are explored : humanity, knowing itself better, aspires to real peace. But because of the very multiplicity of religions, humanity does not always live in harmony. That is why I decided to unite all these religions into One to bring them back to the primordial unity.”
- One Ideology: because humanity must implement the divine treaty signed between God and Humanity. This agreement is signed by the Three Saints of the “White Cloud Lodge” : Duc Thanh Son Dao Si, reincarnated in Viet Nam as the famous poet Nguyen Binh Khiem, Duc Nguyet Tam Chon Nhon, reincarnated in France as the famous writer Victor Hugo, and Duc Ton Son Chon Nhon, reincarnated in China as the famous statesman Sun Yat Sen. This agreement is recorded on a painting at the entrance to the Caodai Holy temple in Tay Ninh, Viet Nam. The content of this divine treaty between God and Humanity is written in French "Dieu et Humanité - Amour et Justice" and in Vietnamese and Chinese characters, the translation of which means : “God and Humanity – Love and Justice”. With this treaty, Cao Dai doctrine calls for human beings to love one another in the universal love of God, because we are all brothers and sisters of the same Father God. People must treat each other with respect and equality, regardless of race or religion. All are universal. God’s message received November 28, 1926 explained: “People living in this world, regardless of race, have only one common Father, which is God, and He controls your destiny. So why are you divided because of moral disagreement, since you have all suffered to cleanse your sins in this world ?”
In summary, Caodai doctrine calls for a Universal World, a Universal Religion on this planet in order to avoid any conflict, any destruction because of racism or religious discrimination. Racism and religious discrimination are still widespread around the world, and cause hatred to every country, which could bring human beings to destroy themselves.
The Cao Dai religion is proud to announce the Message from God to all human beings in this world: “Humanity is One, one in race, one in religion, one in ideology.” Caodaism calls on all human beings to love one another, and all religions to come together because they all come from One Supreme Being who is God under different names, and to implement Universal Love.
Caodaism also calls for all human beings on this planet to return to their own consciences, to exercise their moral qualities, which suppress hatred caused by racism and religious discrimination, and has brought about so many wars.
Caodaism preaches world unity. It spreads the offer of peace made by God through the Third Revelation.
Caodaism is a Religion for Peace, as taught by God, and calls for humanity to live peacefully as brothers and sisters without distinction of creed, race, sex, social background or color, and to create a real and eternal Peace on this planet.
Thank you very much.
Caodai Overseas Missionary
Note : This paper is written in order to contribute to the 2nd International Conference on Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, which will be held on November 26 - 28, 2010 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.