Cao Dai Holysee temple



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Cao Dai Holysee


Cao Dai holysee temple vietnam


The Cao Dai Holy See, founded in 1926, is 4km cast of Tay Ninh, in the village of Long Hoa. The complex houses the Cao Dai Great Temple (Thanh That Cao Dai), administrative offices, residences for officials and adepts, and a hospital of traditional Vietnamese herbal medicine, which attracts people from all over the south for its treatments. After reunification the government 'borrowed' parts of the complex for its own use (and perhaps to keep an eye on the sect). Prayers are conducted (our times daily in the Great Temple (suspended during Tet). It's worth visiting during prayer sessions - the one at noon is most popular with tour groups from HCMC - but don't disturb the worshippers. Only a few hundred priests participate in weekday prayers, but during festivals several thousand priests, dressed in special white garments, may attend. The Cao Dai clergy has no objection to your photographing temple objects, hut you cannot photograph people without their permission, which is seldom granted. However, you can photograph the prayer sessions from the upstairs balcony, an apparent concession to the troops of tourists who come here every day. It's important that guests wear modest and respectful attire inside the temple, which means no shorts or sleeveless T-shirts, although sandals are OK since you have to take them off anyway before you enter. Set above the front portico of the Great Temple is the divine eye. Americans often comment that it looks as if it were copied from the back ol a US$1 bill. Lay women enter the Great Temple through a door at the base of the tower on the left. Once inside they walk around the outside of the colnnnaded hall ill a clockwise direction. Men enter on the right and walks around the hall in an anticlockwise direction. Shoes and hats must be removed upon enter ing the building. The area in the centre of the sanctuary is reserved for Cao Dai priests. A mural in the front entry hall depicts the three signatories of the 'Third Alliance Between God and Man': the Chinese states man and revolutionary leader Dr Sun Yatsen (1866-1925) holds an ink stone; while the Vietnamese poet Nguyen Binh Khiem (1492 1587) and French poet and author Victor Hugo (1802-85) write 'God and Humanity" and "Love and Justice' in Chinese and French (Nguyen Binh Khiem writes with a brush; Victor Hugo uses a quill pen). Nearby signs in English, French and German each give a slightly different version of the fundamentals of Cao Daism. The Great Temple is built over nine levels, representing the nine steps to heaven, with each level marked by a pair of columns. At the far end of the sanctuary, eight plaster columns entwined with multicoloured dragons support a dome representing the heavens - as does the rest of the ceiling. Under the dome is a giant star-speckled blue globe with the 'divine eye' on it. The largest of the seven chairs in front of the globe is reserved for the Cao Dai pope. a position that has remained unfilled since 1933. The next three chairs are for the three men responsible for the religion's law hook.'.. The remaining chairs are for the leaders of the three branches of Cao Daism, represented by the colours yellow, blue and red. On both sides of the area between the columns are two pulpits similar in design to the minbar in mosques. During festivals the pulpits are used by officials to address the as-sembled worshippers. The upstairs balconies are used if the crowd overflows. Up near the altar are barely discernible por-traits of six figures important to Cao Daism: Sakyamuni (Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism), Ly Thai Bach (Li Taibai, a fairy from Chinese mythology), Khuong Tu Nha (Jiang Taigong, a Chinese saint), Laozi (the founder of Taoism), Quan Cong (Guan-gong, Chinese God of War) and Quan Am (Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy).









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