Tay Ninh, Vietnam, is the birthplace of the religion known as Caodaism, founded in 1926, which combines tenets of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Jürgen Horn and Mike Powell went to Tay Ninh to see the Great Divine Temple of Cat Dai and attend the evening service, which they caught on video.
My curiosity in Cao Dai skyrocketed during the service, when I saw a plaque on the wall about the religion’s three venerable saints… one of whom is Victor Hugo. Alright, Caodaism, you have my attention! Tell me more.
Caodaists believe that humanity is in a “Third Period” of religious awakening, and that the Creator (Cao Dai) speaks directly to us. They believe that during this third age, all religions will merge, and that humanity will finally achieve worldwide peace. They’re vegetarian and practice non-violence, and they also believe in the reincarnation of the soul; that by gaining merits during this life, you can ascend to a higher plane on your next go-around, with Nirvana being the ultimate goal. The disembodied left eye of God is Cao Dai’s main symbol, and placed prominently in the facade of all its temples.
Learn more about Cao Dai and see pictures of the temple at For 91 Days.