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Re: Topics for discussion

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  • KNguyen722@xxx.xxx
    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,
    Message 1 of 9 , Nov 2, 1999
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      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
      recommended
      me to have it. With that, they said, I would have a chance to spread out
      Cao-Dda`i in the foreign countries.
      Regards,

      Vietson Nguyen
    • Todd Berry
      Chao Chi Nga: Sorry for not responding to your list of topics sooner. Of course, I do not have the scholarship you have regarding the official CaoDai position
      Message 2 of 9 , Nov 12, 1999
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        Chao Chi Nga:

        Sorry for not responding to your list of topics
        sooner.
        Of course, I do not have the scholarship you have
        regarding the official CaoDai position on these
        issues.

        These are just some of my own thoughts, based on
        CaoDai ideas.


        > 1. Creation vs. Evoluation: We believe in Duc Chi
        > Ton
        > (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
        > evolves
        > 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?

        From Todd, I have marked my opinions with four
        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.
        >
        > 2. Abortion vs Pro-life:

        ****Ah. Another hot-button issue. Since all
        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.
        >
        > 3. Church & State separation:

        ****I agree with Ngasha's answer in that we should
        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.
        Oh well...)
        >
        > 4. Most of CaoDai TayNinh branch was esteablished
        > for Pho^? DDo^.,
        > What are our most notable accomplishments toward
        > humanity
        > to relief suffering
        > of CaoDaists & public at large?
        > e.g. charity organization, education,
        > hospital, world relief efforts etc.

        ****I, too, am ignorant of CaoDai relief efforts.
        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
        > 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.

        ****First of all, this is an extremely new
        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
        Christ's death.

        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
        > 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?

        ****Of course, there is nothing wrong in deciding
        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
        > from or attraction
        > to the population at large (non-caodaist) to
        > become aware of CaoDai.

        ****There are many ways of doing this. We should
        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,
        etc.

        Peace,

        Todd

        =====
      • HumB630@xxx.xxx
        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.
        Message 3 of 9 , Nov 12, 1999
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          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=:)
        • hedgehog@xxxxxxx.xxxxxxxxxxxxx)
          Hello Rose! ... This last topic is something that seems like an insoluble problem to me. It seems to me that: 1) Every society must pass on morals and values
          Message 4 of 9 , Nov 13, 1999
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            Hello Rose!

            >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.

            This last topic is something that seems like an insoluble problem to me.
            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
            to religion.

            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
            with fire.

            Peace,
            Richard Schroeder
          • KNguyen722@xxx.xxx
            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
            Message 5 of 9 , Nov 13, 1999
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              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.

              Vie^.t-So+n
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