On my very first visit to Vietnam almost two decades ago my day trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels and particularly Tay Ninh’s magnificent Cao Dai Temple certainly stood out in my memory for a long time.
From the architecture of the temple building itself to the beauty of their beliefs it was truly a place that touched me and not a moment to forget, it was i thought the home of the Cao Dai religion ….. that is until I discovered Phu Quoc Island!
As i found out it was in Phu Quoc in 1919 (two years before it was documented in Tay Ninh) that the religion was started and the left eye of God envisioned, so now I truly made it to the home of the Cao Dai!
The left eye of God representing the yang (masculine, ordaining, positive and expansive) activity of the male creator Cao Đài (“Highest Lord”) and balanced by the yin (âm) of Mother Goddess, the Queen Mother of the West (Diêu Trì Kim Mẫu, Tây Vương Mẫu), the feminine, nurturing and restorative mother of humanity.
The Divine Eye itself has 16 rays of light emanating from it, nine radiate upward representing the nine levels of heaven while seven radiate downwards representing the seven emotions, which believers must be in control of.
According to God’s divine message, there was nothing before the creation of the material universe but one monad; this monad is a Tao or God.
With no form, no color, no beginning, and no end he is invariable, unfathomably powerful, and everlasting. So after creating the universe God divided his spirit and with it made all matters and creatures.
The doctrines of the Cao Đài faith tends not only to reconcile with all religious views, but also to adapt itself to all degrees of spiritual evolution, thus a basic principle of Caodaism is “All Religions are One”.
Followers of Cao Dai engage in prayer, veneration of ancestors, a focus on nonviolence and vegetarianism all with the goal of a union with God and freedom from Samsara, the repeating cycle of birth, life and death reincarnation.
The number of Caodaists in Vietnam vary; with numbers rising up to 6 million if all branches worldwide are added up, in Duong Dong there is two temples, the main temple is in Nguyen Trai St in the center of Duong Dong while there is a smaller one is on 30/4 St heading south on the outskirts of town at about the 2km marker.
Though I have visited this temple many times over the years stair its still an exhilaration to walk around and feel the warmth that touches me, not to forget that tight and steep climb up the stairs of the temple towers culminating in magical views of the river and town below.
Admission and parking at the temple is free but there is a donations box in the main chamber on the ground floor, feel free as donations are used for the ongoing upkeep and support of this spiritual place.