Reflections on Cao Đai and daesoon jinrihoe's precious friendship
On the eve of the New Year 2021 (Year of the Buffalo), on behalf of His Eminence Cardinal Thuong Tam Thanh, Chairman of the Cao Dai Sacerdotal Council at the Tay Ninh Holy See, as well as dignitaries in Tay Ninh and Cao Dai Overseas Missionary, we sincerely wish His Excellency Yun Eun-Do, President of Daesoon Jinrihoe, together with his family, the dignitaries of Daesoon Jinrihoe, and the wonderful readers of Global Daesoon GOOD HEALTH, HAPPINESS, LONGEVITY AND PROSPERITY, but above all else we pray you receive many BLESSINGS from the SUPREME GOD OF THE NINTH HEAVEN – GUCHEON SANGJE.
For readers who may not know of us, Cao Dai is a world peace and unity promoting religion that originated in Vietnam in the mid 1920s. Like Daesoon Jinrihoe, Cao Dai worships a Supreme God from within a context of traditional East Asian religious thought spanning Daoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and a multitude of other influences. Cao Dai has a proud history of many decades of interreligious exchanges with other East Asian new religious movements such as Oomoto and Dao Yuan. These past five years, we have been blessed by new friendships with Daesoon Jinrihoe and Weixin Shengjiao, and this resulted in our orders meeting up a dozen or so times to celebrate, learn with one another, and propagate our teachings overseas. Unfortunately though, the past year of 2020, marked a period when we were unable to meet due to the global pandemic of COVID-19. We remain hopeful that we can all make it through this pandemic together and return to normal sometime soon.
From my recollection, the journey of friendship between our orders began in July of 2016 when I, alongside a delegation from Cao Dai, went to Daejin University for that year’s CESNUR (Center for Studies of New Religions) Conference, “Religious Movements in a Globalized World: Korea, Asia, and Beyond.” After the conference concluded, we visited Daesoon Jinrihoe’s Yeoju Headquarters Temple Complex, and I remember thinking Daesoon Jinrihoe was probably five or maybe even ten times bigger than Cao Dai. Our delegation was touched by the warm hospitality we received and greatly impressed with all of the beautiful buildings, the traditional Korean design of the architecture, the marvelous landscaping, and the sheer scale of your compound. Likewise impressive was Daesoon Jinrihoe’s university, high schools, and multiple state of the art hospitals. It may take Cao Dai at least 50 more years to be like Daesoon Jinrihoe in that regard.
On June 18, 2018, three religions, Daesoon Jinrihoe, Weixin Shengjiao, and Cao Dai, signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the Association of East Asian New Religions to engage in even closer coordination through ‘global exchange among member-groups,’ ‘joint attendance at international and global religious seminars and conferences,’ ‘the promotion of academic exchange for students and teachers among member-groups,’ and ‘encouraging youth participation in interreligious exchanges.’
In the years since, our orders have met many times and in numerous countries. We have come to feel incredibly close to wonderful friends such as Directors Lee Tae-yeol, Bae Kyuhan, and Kim Wook, Professors Lee Gyungwon, Kim Tae-soo, Ko Nam-Sik, and Park In-Gyu, as well as Jay Cha, Lee Jae-ho, Kim Dong-Hwan, and many, many more too numerous to mention here.
We certainly wish to continue to work towards the shared goals stated in our MOU, and we hope that Daesoon Jinrihoe and Cao Dai will have a chance to meet again in 2021. In Cao Dai, God told us that there are no coincidences and that everything has been planned from day one. In our view, the relationship between Cao Dai and Daesoon Jinrihoe is a mission from God and not just a chance occurrence. I believe that despite the Association of East Asian New Religions starting out small, it is a stepping stone in the right direction for humanity’s future. World peace can actually begin with a small number of like-minded, peace-loving religions. Through our collective influence and continual growth, the faith-based movement for world peace that we have started together can grow larger and larger. No one should underestimate what we will be able to achieve together a half-century or full century from now.
Until we meet again, my dear friends.
Westminster, California, January of 2021
Reverend Canh Tran
President, Cao Dai Overseas Missionary
RECAPITULATION OF ACTIVITIES BETWEEN CAO DAI, WEIXIN SHENGJIAO & DAESOON JINRIHOE
The three religions (Cao Dai, Weixin Shengjiao and Daesoon Jinrihoe) have happily tightened mutual friendship and solidarity by participating together in the following activities :
*July 2016 – Attended 2016 CESNUR (Center for Studies of New Religions) Conference, “Religious Movements in a Globalized World: Korea, Asia, and Beyond, organized at Daejin University, Pocheon City, Korea*December 2017 – Scholars from Daesoon Jinrihoe, Weixin Shengjiao Taiwan and Oomoto Japan paid a friendly visit to Viet Nam and to the Cao Dai Tay Ninh Holy See, Headquarters of the Cao Dai religion.
*March 2018 – Attended the 2 nd International Conference on “Inter-religious Relations for Sustainable World Peace”, organized by Universal Love and Brotherhood Association Thailand (ULBA Thailand) and Japanese Oomoto ULBA, at Mahidol University, Salaya, Nakorn Pathom, Thailand.
*June 2018 - Attended the Unveiling Ceremony of The Golden Mega-Statue of Guiguzi Wang Chan Laozu and the CESNUR 2018 Conference held at the I Ching University Weixin College Taiwan. The memorable moment in this visit was the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Weixin Shengjiao and Daesoon Jinrihoe as a foundation for the Association of East Asian New Religions.
*September 2018 – Attended the Great Festival Commemorating the Holy Mother Goddess at the Cao Dai Ninh Holy See, Tay Ninh, Viet Nam. *October 2018 – Attended the 2nd World SangSaeng Forum International Conference, organized at Daejin University, Seoul, Korea, by the Daesoon Academy of Sciences. The theme of the Conference was : “Towards an Earthly Paradise: The Future of Humanity in Religions and Daesoon Thoughts.”
*July 2019 – Attended the 11th International Convention of Asia Scholars at Leiden University, Holland.
*August 2019 – Attended the Opening class of the East Asian New Religious Movements, at the Department of World Religions, University of Missouri, USA.
*October 2019 – Attended the Yeoju Eco Forum - Interfaith Dialogue for an Ecological Civilization- in Yeoju City, Korea, organized by Daejin University.
*December 2020 – Participated in a Virtual International Conference titled “New Religions in East Asia: Development and Internationalization” at the Graduate Institute for Religious Studies, Cheng Chi University, Taiwan.