WHAT IS CAODAI OR THE THIRD UNIVERSAL SALVATION OF THE GREAT WAY?
The reason for founding CaoDai
The place of CaoDai in the history of religions- The five ways of the Dao
1- Know the reason for founding CaoDai- Cite the corresponding spiritual message.
2- Know why we call CaoDai “The Third Universal Salvation of the Great Way”
3- Know the Five Ways of the Dao
4- Situate CaoDai among the religions of the world.
5- Know the Inclusiveness and Unity of Caodai.
I-REASON FOR FOUNDING CAODAI
CaoDai is a novel faith, founded in VietNam, in 1926, which teaches inclusiveness and unity of religions, as all faiths come from one same Divine Source.
Followed is a self-explanatory spiritual message on the reason for founding CaoDai,
Received on April 24, 1926:
“Formerly, people lacked transportation and therefore did not know each other. I then founded at different epochs and in different areas, five branches of the Great Way: the way of Humanity, the way of Local Spirits, the way of Saints, the way of Immortals, and the way of Buddhas, each based on the customs of the race. In present days, transportation has been improved, and people have come to know each other better. But people do not always live in harmony because of the very multiplicity of those religions. That is why I have decided to unite all those religions into one to return them to primordial unity."
(Hum D. Bui, M.D. and Hong Dang Bui, M.D. Collection of Selected CaoDai Holy
Messages, Create Space, 2015, p 41).
II- CAODAI OR ĐẠI ĐẠO TAM KỲ PHỔ ĐỘ OR THE THIRD UNIVERSAL SALVATION OF THE GREAT WAY - THE FIVE WAYS OF THE DAO.
The Supreme Being founded the five ways of the Tao by multiple manifestations as religious founders as stated in the following message:
“Nhiên Đăng Cổ Phật (Dipankara, an old time Buddha)
Sakya Muni is Me,
Thái Thượng Nguơn Thỉ (an ancient legendary
Immortal) is Me,
Who is Cao Dai”. (CSCDHM, 2015, p 35)
God has come to the world under the form of human beings
to found many religions.
Under the name of Dipankara Buddha and Sakya Muni, the
way of Buddhas was founded.
Under the name of Thái Thượng Nguơn Thỉ (previous life of
Lao-Tse), God founded the way of Immortals or Taoism.
All Religions are beautiful, diverse manifestations of one same Truth. Throughout history religions can be grouped in fiv ways manifested in Three Revelations.
The Three Revelations or Three Universal Salvations, also known as axial ages include:
- First Revelation: 5000 years ago
- Second Revelation: 2500 years ago
- Third Revelation: Contemporary, with unification of
the five ways of the Dao. CaoDai is the ultimate religion of this Third Salvation and therefore is also known as “Đại Đạo Tam Kỳ Phổ Độ or The Third Universal Salvation of the Great Way”.
The Five Ways of the Dao as described in CaoDai scriptures consist of:
* The Way of Humanity, which teaches the fulfillment of secular life with personal, family, and community responsibilities. This way helps the person to lead a harmonious life with himself, his family and the community.
* The Way of Local Spirits, with the worshipping of wise spirits. It is believed that virtuous persons and heroes, after their death, would come in spirit to help the living.
* The Way of Saints (Abrahamic religions), in which service and sacrifice lead our life. Service, taught in all traditions, is expressed in its highest manifestation in the way of Saints.
Attesting to this are the widespread mission works of Christianity in particular. (The best- known example is Mother Teresa.)
* The Way of Immortals is that of respect for the natural order, meditation for purification. The person in this way looks into leading a life conforming with the natural enfoldment of events and with attention to cultivation of personal virtues.
* The Way of Buddhas with eradication of superfluous human emotions, and meditation to discover our divine nature. The person strives to shed the multitude of adverse emotions due to the ego and desires, in the goal of attaining absolute calmness and unfolding their Buddha nature hidden behind worldly turmoil.
The first three ways deal mostly with our secular life. The fourth and fifth ways involve spiritual cultivation. The history of five ways of the Tao is divided into three
revelations. The names of the founders correspond to each way.
The five ways of the Tao and their founders in the 1st and
2nd revelations are summarized below.
First Revelation (5000 years ago)
1- Way of Humanity King Fu-Hsi
2- Way of Local Spirits Way of folkloric worshipping
3- Way of Saints (Abrahamic Religions) Moses (Judaism)
4- Way of Immortals Thái Thượng Đạo Quân
5. Way of Buddhas Hinduism; Dipankara Buddha
Second Revelation (2500 years ago)
1. Way of Humanity Confucius (Confucianism)
2. Way of Local Spirits Jiang Taigong
3. Way of Saints (Abrahamic religion) Jesus Christ (Christianity)
4. Way of Immortals Lao Tse (Taoism)
5. Way of Buddhas Gautama Buddha (Buddhism)
Third Revelation: Present day Unification of Faith Traditions such as:
* In the 19th Century, the ecumenical movements Theosophy, Unitarian Universalism, Unity Church, New Thought, and Baha’I, all which taught the unity of religions.
* In the 20th Century: Burgeoning and blossoming of grass roots interfaith movements.
And most recently is the Đại Đạo Tam Kỳ Phổ Độ or The Third Universal Salvation of the Great Way, known as CaoDai, which brings to its culmination the notion of religious inclusion with promise for spiritual joy and social harmony and peace. It is called the Third Universal Salvation since there were two previous eras of Revelation or Salvation, as seen above.
Inclusion and unity derive from the Unique God for All in the universe. All religions have the same Divine Source and All teach Love and Justice, Peace in this life an
Enlightenment as the culmination of our cultivation.
The Supreme Being said: “I have now firmly resolved to come
Myself to save you and not to leave anymore the Holy Doctrine
in human hands”. (CSCDHM, 2015, p.41).
Every one of us has God spirit inside that guides us in our
life. And the immediate purpose of the founding of CaoDai is
to resolve the conflict between religions because of the
differing names of God.
With the principles and the reason of the founding of CaoDai,
we may understand the mission of CaoDai as:
* Unification of the five ways of the Tao in harmony and
peace ending religious conflict
* Peace to humanity (Nhơn Đạo Thái Bình)
* Union with God or enlightenment (Thiên Đạo Giải Thoát).