Caodaism: A brief History and Philosophy (1) - Christopher Hartney

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(Presentation by Christopher Hartney, Department of Studies in Religion, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, at the Department of World Religions, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, March 2003)


As a religion that encompasses a vast range of religious ideas from many different cultures and cosmologies, there is much that I could say about Caodaism. As I am speaking in Bangladesh however, there are a few areas I would like to highlight as they are issues that also concern the Muslim world and cultures that are infused with Hindu cosmological assumptions. Initially, I would like to provide a brief historical account of Caodaism leaving to one side issues of morality, ethics and lifestyle which are better explained by my travelling companions. Secondly I would like to speak of Caodaism as a manifestation of monotheism in the East and explain methods of revelation as a way of contrasting this faith with that of the prophetic tradition of the West. Thirdly I would like to speak of Caodaist cosmological assumptions and how they adapt and develop a cosmology strongly influenced by Indian ideas of time and of cosmos. Ending with a summary of how these disparate aspects develop together into a unified approach to the religious life of Vietnam and the world.




History of Caodaism