Re: Topics for discussion
- Dear Brothers Hu`m and Lua^n,
Just to add few more things into my previous answers,
**** Phu+o+'c-Thie^.n ( the Charity ) : It built and managed orphanages,
retirement centers, free clinics, free hospitals and specially
free funeral services. I forgot to mention about a doctor who used to serve
in the Charity's free clinics : Dr. Bu`i dda('c Hu`m.
In the Cao-dda`i community, everyone is entitled for a completely free
funeral service. Not many other religions can do that.
**** Tibet before the Chinese invasion was a good example where the State and
the Church can merge together. The Dalai Lama managed the State while the
Panchen Lama managed the Church, they worked well together.
**** Most the other religions were spreaded out by powers : It was the
Mongolian empire power who helped the Taoists and the Tang dynasty army
helped the Buddists all over their empires.
Please excuse me for using the title " Hie^`n-Ta`i " to sign my mails. I want
to use it in the memories of my father and some special people who
me to have it. With that, they said, I would have a chance to spread out
Cao-Dda`i in the foreign countries.
- Chao Chi Nga:
Sorry for not responding to your list of topics
Of course, I do not have the scholarship you have
regarding the official CaoDai position on these
These are just some of my own thoughts, based on
> 1. Creation vs. Evoluation: We believe in Duc ChiFrom Todd, I have marked my opinions with four
> (The Supreme Being)
> as our God or Creator, yet Buddhism, one of the
> main religions
> that we follow in its teachings (also Hindu)
> believes that life
> itself in endless cycles for reincarnation. Cao
> Dai also believes
> in reincarnation, does it conflict with the
> Creation theory?
> Does CaoDai follow & support certain Scientific
> activities to
> support either respective views?
stars (although they may not be "four star"
opinions--that's for you to decide!):
****It would seem to me that everything
ultimately returns to the Supreme Being. However, not
everything returns at the same rate. Those who are
more advanced return sooner, those less advanced
return a little later. It also seems to me, based on
reading other inspired materials such as Conversations
with God and A Course in Miracles along with English
translations of CaoDai texts, that in makes sense the
Supreme Being wished to experience materiality in all
its forms, to thus know itself and express itself
fully. Thus, Creation occurs first, and then
Evolution through the process of Reincarnation, until
all reach the level of the Supreme Being (that is,
until everything returns to its Source). At that
point, there may be a Last Judgment of some kind,
where all materiality is "summed up" or "wrapped up,"
in as much as it would no longer be necessary. Are
there only a certain number of souls at the beginning
of creation? I do not know, although there are
religious sects who hold this belief.
The general problem in addressing issues such as
these is that many people confuse the roles of science
and religion, such that they try to make a religion
out of science and a science out of religion. As Ken
Wilber so artfully pointed out in his The Marriage of
Sense and Soul, science is there simply to give us the
facts: We bring our meaning or pattern to those
facts. Mankind needs facts for survival; mankind
needs meaning to wish to survive. So: don't look for
science to provide meaning, or religion to provide
physical facts--they can thus coexist quite
peacefully. That way, everyone can agree on the
physical facts, and all can respect each other's
opinions on the meaning of those facts.
>****Ah. Another hot-button issue. Since all
> 2. Abortion vs Pro-life:
life proceeds from the Supreme Being, all life must be
respected. I think we can all agree that if a fetus
is in fact a life, then we cannot destroy it. If it
is not a life, then the government has no right to
prevent a woman from obtaining elective surgery (when
it is elective). (I also think we can all agree that
when the life of the mother is in jeopardy in trying
to deliver a baby, then abortion should at least be
considered.) The problem is, however, that our
medical technology is, as usual, outpacing our ability
to find an ethical solution to this dilemma.
My own opinion is that we first need to develop
some sort of objective scientifically based test to
determine a definition of when life begins and ends.
If we can separate science from religion (see my
answer to the last question), then we should be able
to agree on a defintion and a method of testing for
life based on that definition. Of course, as
technology improves, we may be able to detect life
earlier and earlier, and then we will see our previous
decision as incorrect and as causing millions of
murders. However, as long as people see abortion as a
means of birth control, this solution (with all of its
flaws) is the best solution I can offer.
>****I agree with Ngasha's answer in that we should
> 3. Church & State separation:
always consider the circumstances of other countries
when we are talking about a religion that came here
from elsewhere. In terms of the CaoDai army, consider
that even the Tibetans, whose leader the Dalai Lama is
officially considered to be a reincarnation of the
Bodhisattva of Compassion, Avaloketishvara (Kuan Yin),
had an army just before the Chinese occupation. While
the Dalai Lama has renounced the use of armed conflict
to drive the Chinese out of Tibet, we should be
careful before we pass judgment on other cultures.
However, that said, I do think that there should
be a separation of church and state. I do not feel
that the state should be inimical to any particular
religion or to religion itself. For example, if a
private student-created Jewish group or Christian
group or CaoDai group wished to meet at a school,
after regular school hours, I don't believe there
should be a problem. However, if a leader wishes to
use state authority to pressure people to convert to
the leader's religion, then I think we have a serious
problem. (As an aside, and meaning no disrespect to
the minister, I did see the Rev. Jerry Falwell on a
news discussion program state that he wished he could
convert Alan Dershowitz from Judaism to Christianity.
>****I, too, am ignorant of CaoDai relief efforts.
> 4. Most of CaoDai TayNinh branch was esteablished
> for Pho^? DDo^.,
> What are our most notable accomplishments toward
> to relief suffering
> of CaoDaists & public at large?
> e.g. charity organization, education,
> hospital, world relief efforts etc.
I would imagine, though, that it would be difficult
to mount any large-scale efforts because the CaoDai
faith is so small in the United States. I would
assume that with time, as the church increases, more
funds and resources will become available and such
efforts will dramatically increase. Given the faith's
fundamental view of human suffering, it would seem
inevitable to me that this would naturally happen.
However, I could not agree more with Ngasha's comments
on spreading tolerance and understanding.
> 5. We want to unite world religions, but people can****First of all, this is an extremely new
> ask that we are
> not united among various branches of CaoDai,
> how can we even hope
> to accomplish the monumental task of reuniting
> the world religions,
> some of which had conflicts rooted more than
> 2000-3000 years ago.
religion, among the very newest in the world. If you
look at the history of Christianity, the gospels and
epistles were not even committed to writing until at
least a hundred years after Jesus' death! For many
years, Christianity was disorganized and separated
into many sects, including the Gnostics, who
themselves had many different groups. All this from a
religion that espoused the unity of mankind. However,
this of course did not denigrate the religion itself
in any way: It simply speaks to the fact that it
takes some time for a religion to organize itself as
it grows into a world influence. One weakness that
CaoDai has, and this is due since 1975 primarily by
the communist government, is that, since no seances
are allowed at the center of CaoDaism, Tay Ninh, then
these seances are scattered, and differnt groups would
believe more in one set of seances than another, and
thus there is no official canon of scripture accepted
by all CaoDaist world wide, as there is for
Christianity. Remember, though, that this was also
true for Christianity for several hundred years after
Second of all, I understand that things would be
easier if all CaoDaists could be united and see each
other as brothers/sisters, but I think that until this
is accomplished, the point is to look beyond the
political situation and see the underlying message of
unity and brotherhood.
> 6. Most of TayNinh Caodaists consider meditation is****Of course, there is nothing wrong in deciding
> not part of
> daily practice, is it wrong to pursue
> meditation just for the
> health purposes or just being oneness of mind &
> body. Anything
> wrong with meditation?
to pursue meditation just for health purposes.
However, you would be missing half of the total
experience--the most important half. Any spiritual
benefit one could receive from any religion must come
from within. This is not accomplished solely by
chanting prayers and performing the correct number of
prostrations. One must do the difficult inner work
for any lasting spiritual change to be possible.
Otherwise, there is no meaning in the exoteric
practice. The exoteric practice is like a latticework
to support the esoteric practice; the esoteric
practice then gives more meaning to the exoteric
practice. They are both necessary, really.
> 7. What should we do as CaoDaist to get attention****There are many ways of doing this. We should
> from or attraction
> to the population at large (non-caodaist) to
> become aware of CaoDai.
use as many different media as possible, when we can.
We should also try to make it look as attractive as
possible, not necessarily to "win converts," but
simply so that people will take the time to learn of
the religion and its message of peace and harmony.
This alone could be of great benefit.
I am interested in getting more people to visit
the CaoDai Information Center Club, as well as the
other CaoDai websites (including, of course,
CaoDai.Org!). I am also trying to interest a
publisher in getting a basic book on CaoDaism
published. Although Nga and Hum have done well in
producing materials that are both interesting and
informative, I would like to see something like this
published by a large mainstream publisher so that we
could see it on bookshelves in Waldenbooks, Borders,
- hi everybody
i am hong or rose, hum' life companion.I have been reading your discussions
with joy and appreciation.I'd like to share with you some thoughts.
Regarding abortion, the idea of definition of life appears like it should
work.However it is a delicate question. For example Is life independent life
or lif dependent. An ovule, a spermatozoite thus even before conception have
each a life they move, they have nutrition etc.A fetus may be all organs
developed has a heart that beats but may not be viable until much later. In
brief, this is a very delicate topic ,one where religiion and science have
both to say
Regarding Church and state, I agree with Todd. They should be separated. A
more practical ancillary question is a wish that state or federal introduce
moral codes in the education of children.
Thank you and good nite=:)
- Hello Rose!
>Regarding Church and state, I agree with Todd. They should be separated. AThis last topic is something that seems like an insoluble problem to me.
>more practical ancillary question is a wish that state or federal introduce
>moral codes in the education of children.
It seems to me that:
1) Every society must pass on morals and values to the next generation.
2) It seems that all systems of morals and values have some relationship
3) Parents (at least in the United States) tend to not want their children
to be taught morals and values from someone else's religion.
Of course Cao Dai argues that all religions are based on an underlying
unity, but the situation at the present time in the United States is that
people are divided and take the divisions very seriously.
On a different topic, from time to time I have heard stories from India
which indicate that Hinduism seems to be developing a more strident and
exclusivist point of view. For example, Hindus tore down a Mosque that had
been built on the site of the birth of a Hindu hero and just recently
Hindus have been upset that the Pope said he would like to see more
Christian evangelization in Asia. I can see that neither Muslims or
Catholics are particularly sensitive to Hindu points of view and tend not
to take Hinduism seriously, but I worry about Hindus coming to fight fire
- Why Cao-Dda`i had an army in 1945 ?
Only those who know the political situation in Vietnam at that moment can
understand why Cao-ddai had a little army. In 1945, the Viet-Minh (
precedents of the Vietnamese Communists ) destroyed many Cao-Ddai communities
and killed many of its followers. Also at that time, before losing WWII the
Japanese promised to give the independence back to Vietnam, that's why
Cao-Ddai formed a self-defense force. That force lived up to 1957, the year
Mr. Ngo-Dinh-Diem formed the Republic of (South ) Vietnam and it was U.S.
Colonel Landsdale who came to convince a Cao-Ddai commander, Gen.
Trinh-Minh-The to bring that force back to join President Ngo-Dinh-Diem. Gen.
T.M. The was assasinated a few months later during a battle with the
Vietnamese mafias right in Saigon.
The man behind the idea of having the Cao-Ddai army was ( His Holiness ) Rev.
Pha.m co^ng Ta('c. The first commander of Cao-Ddai force was Mr. Tra^`n quang
Vinh. That was the only time Cao-Ddai ever had an army.
This is just a fact in the Vietnam history. To use the armed forces has
never been promoted in the Cao-Ddai doctrine at all.