The Strange Religion of Cao Dai - Holy See
Tay Ninh Travel Blog› entry 22 of 78 › view all entries
November 16th, 2006 – by: droonsta
Our first stop was Tay Ninh, to visit the famed Cao Dai Holy See temple. The drive was a long exhausting drive, but we stopped off about half way at a lacqueware factory where they were inlaying egg shells and mother of pearls onto various items. It seemed like a very interesting and creative art, and the finishing product is trully breathtaking. I was utterly disappointed as we walked into the gift shop to possibly purchase these final products, to be greated with price tags of $11 for a small plank up to hundreds of dollars. Whereas I purchased a A4 sized one from Cambodia for less than $4!!!!
Anyways back to the main itinerary, as we approached the Cao Dai Holy See temple (the biggest of its kind in Vietnam), I was very surprised at the size of the land surrounding the complex, it was pretty much its own small community.
There are over 2 million followers in Vietnam, and the religion was only founded in 1924, by a man (can't remember his name) who had a vision. The religion is a combination of Budhism, Catholicism and Hindu. The architectural style of the temple is of French influence with a large touch of Chinese motifs.
We attended the service at 12:00 and was amazed at the way it progressed and how tranquil and peaceful the hythms were. I found it strange however as the main symbol of Caodaism is the "EYE" (which alone made the whole religion look really strange... The EYE), and to me it just looked like some strange cult where followers wore a certain dress, depending on which level they are on in reaching Nirvana, and the way the temple complex was situated in a large enclosure/community, apparently 100 Hectares.
Well I can go on and on about the history and the way Cao Dai is, so I'll leave it at that! We pretty much attended 15 minutes of the service, and had a quick browse of the temple structure and made our way to the Cu Chi tunnels, 1 1/2 hours away.
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