Cao Dai Class Taught at Kansas State University – USA
The Kansas State University (USA) - the oldest public institution of higher learning in the state of Kansas, was founded in 1863, and ranked #170 in National Universities (according to the latest report of U.S. News & World Report).
Due to the Coronavirus disease in USA, the lecture was presented online. From the anthropological perspective, Prof. Wesch asserted that “In Vietnam, this probably is one of the most fascinating and interesting religion I’ve ever seen” (Video at 3:40), “There are a lot of religions that are actually merging different faiths right now and Caodaism is one of the biggest”. Especially, Caodaism according to Prof. Wesch, is ranked Number 10 in the top 10 Religions of the World by followers (Video at 10:13 “1.Christianity; 2.Islam; 3.Hinduism; 4.Buddhism; 5.Chinese Taoism and Confucianism; 6.Sikhism; 7.Judaism; 8.Bahaism; 9.Jainism; 10.Cao Dai”. He also claimed that the New Religious Movement in Vietnam with around 6 million adherents, has been spread over the world nowadays.
Furthermore, Prof. Wesch plans to expand the lesson on Caodaism and hopes to complete a short series of videos about Cao Dai with the purpose of introducing the Religion to social society and international scholars.
Dr. Michael Wesch: the well-known one in social society and US scholarly community.
Dr. Michael Wesch is not only a Professor of Cultural Anthropology, but also a University Distinguished Teaching Scholar and is internationally recognized as a leader in teaching innovation. The New York Times listed him as one of 10 professors in the nation. Prof. Wesch has won several major awards, including the 2008 US Professor of the Year Award from the Carnegie Foundation, the Wired Magazine Rave Award, and he was named an Emerging Explorer by National Geographic – a reputable magazine in USA. Prof. Wesch is well-known for his digital work. His videos have been viewed over 20 million times, translated in over 20 languages, and frequently heralded humanistic values to international community.
An awesome journey…
On the occasion of the Great Festival Commemorating God last February 2020, at the invitation of Reverend Thuong Canh Thanh (President of Cao Dai Overseas Missionary), Prof. Wesch and a few friends from the US (including Prof. Joe Hobbs - University of Missouri USA, Mr. Patrick Scott, New York Times journalist) had a journey to explore the Cao Dai Religion at the Cao Dai Holy See in Tay Ninh, Viet Nam.
During the 3-days visitation at the Tay Ninh Holy Land, Prof. Wesch had expressed his respect and curiosity about a syncretic Religion which embraced different religious faiths. After that, the Professor gained a deep appreciation and he hoped to carry further research about the Religion for his teaching to students. “This is probably like one of the peak moments of my life”, Prof. Wesch said about his warm feelings about Cao Dai culture and people (video at 19:30)
In the future, he hopes to come back to Cao Dai Tay Ninh Holy See. As his aims, the exploration journey to a syncretic religion can contribute to his teaching at university and to write a book of Cao Dai philosophy and doctrine later on.
Please click here to view recent visit of Professor Wesch at Cao Dai Tay Ninh Holy See: http://caodai.com.vn/en/news-detail/great-festival-commemorating-god-year-2020-at-the-cao-dai-holy-see.html
Gradually, God’s prophecy comes true…
Cao Dai class was taught at University of Dhaka (Bangladesh) in June 2005, later at University of Vienna (Austria) in May 2017, and most recently at Missouri University (USA) in August 2019 within East Asian New Religious Movements class. And now, Cao Dai class is introduced within teaching program of a compulsory subject (of Anthropology major) at Kansas State University. This is regarded as a remarkable step forward in the propagation of Cao Dai outside Viet Nam.
Despite of limited duration of the class, it can be found that Cao Dai philosophy and culture, nowadays, gains more scholarly interests of academic community in USA and others. And also, the Faith now gains goodwill and enthusiasm from several University Professors, promising a bright future as a gradual fulfillment of God’s prophecy in 1926 that: “Someday, China will worship Caodaism deeply, and the United States will bear the responsibility for worldwide propagation”.