I/. Introduction to caodai religion 3 ii/. Meaning of word "tao" in caodai religion 4


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If we consider one word by one word, we may understand that:

  • The Great Way is the great path.

  • Third Period is the third time.

  • The Universal Salvation is display to save the living beings.


Firstly, we discuss two words of “Great Way”. The basic nature in Caodai doctrine is the quintessence general of other doctrines. Consequently, if we did not base on this basic to study the Caodai doctrine, we would face on hundreds or thousands of contrary queries in the Supreme Being’s teaching that the cause is due to our mind’s dissimilar, due to our mind’s our jumble consideration in relative circle of dualism.

The God is the God, the Heaven is the Heaven, people are people. Everything is clear without confusion. That is the dualism nature.

Contrarily, the Supreme Being teaches:

“ I am Buddha, Buddha is ME. You are Buddhas, Buddhas are you. There is ME, then there are you, there are you, then there are Angel, Saint, Fairy, Buddha” or with clear sentences “You are Master, I/Master am you”

That is the nature over monism and dualism or by another way, it contains both monism and dualism, which are called as Tao in Caodai religion.

Via this general view, we can know the “Great” in the phrase of “Great Way”. The issue in front of all Religious Heads is the resolving method about the life. The solutions of Religious Heads are also considered as the Tao because it contains an active meaning, a status, an activity method, a lifestyle for human. Certainly, with the name of “Great Way”, the Caodai religion reckons that this is the great path. For people who used to consider affair from exterior, from the phenomenon to spirit, used to reason around the dualism when they censure the Caodai religion and they often have the suspicion about egomania manner in the title of “Great Way”. The greatness is compared with something, which is minor; consequently are all religious forms, existed philosophy minor? If we return the view of basic nature of Caodai doctrine, which accepts the religious identification in conscience and thought harmony in action, the dispute about the egomania manner will certainly exist. It is not about the wrong or right issue as a basic issue, but a valid or invalid issue of solutions asked anciently. The Way of Human, Way of Deity, Way of Saint, Taoism, Buddhism have a separate solution to solve the human issue. Nowadays, we acknowledge they are reasonable, effective in a specific condition, specific time of doctrine form, which is the basic manner of Caodai religion or highest sacred palace of a Great Way as a Great Religion. Consequently, the “Great” does not mean to the salient meaning over all as an independent and haughty individual, but it spreads to include all in order to see us as others and see others as us in a common title. If the sporadic elements, which create us, disappear, we ourselves will also disappear. In contrary, if there is no tie among elements, the sporadic elements will be still sporadic. The “Great” is the greatness in concept of accepting the identical origin with mutual connection among elements via intermediary of unique origin. It denies the more or less explanation in win or lost spirit with a disdain or respect attitude, but it accepts the assessment to the effective level of solutions with a spirit including many solutions to contribute the general program in order to solve life. Under that way of understanding, “Great Way” is a Religion for all, a moderate solution for all, a path containing everything, not a path of paths, but a common title of all paths, not a solution of a Religious Head but a solution of all Religious Heads.


By such open-minded look, we continuously consider the phrase of “Third Period” or “third time” in brief view. The Caodai doctrine contains the timetable of humankind of three main periods. In every period, religious forms appear to guide the spirit of all human beings. Every birth of one religion or many religions are called as “universal salvation”. The third period or third salvation is marked by the birth of Caodai religion.

The humankind’s history through the current of time is a competition for existence and evolution. It is the natural principle, but the more there is competition, the more the condition is violent. Consequently, the humankind has ever stood for many times at the abyss of huge annihilation. In front of the extermination danger, many religious heads appeared with religious doctrines to spread in humankind in order to guide people to return the good life. The influence of Religions helped society to certain degree for a specific period. Before that dimmed influence, another new doctrine appeared to be suitable for intellectual standard of people.

With the humankind’s spirit development of two trends of good and evil, many religious heads descended the earth to show the suitable training method to guide the people to unite with the God that the arising notion was clearer and clearer. At that point, there was no exact number of calendar to fix the time milestone of periods. Moreover, it is difficult to do that because the development of humankind’s heart to the evolution current is the general of many wonderful individuals and dull individuals.

People just remember prehistoric stage ambiguously that many religious heads appeared, there were famous persons with their work handed down and they are proclaimed as religious heads. Nobody can imagine how their figures and activities are.

The reports of legends are not easy for us to know the certain events of physical body. However, at least, they represent the meanings containing some theologies.

In the second salvation, the history still records appearances:

  • The Sakyamuni Buddha ameliorated the Buddhism.

  • The Lao-Tzu ameliorated the Taoism.

  • The Confucius ameliorated the Confucianism.

  • The Jesus opened the Catholicism.

Nowadays, we are at the third salvation called as “Third Period of Salvation”. The word “third” refers the comparison with the first and second time. This third time refers three main Religions in the East and people do not see the great figures descending the earth to ameliorate the Religions, but find worship to the Divine Beings.

  • Quan Yin [觀音].

  • Ly Tai Peo [ 李白].

  • Quan Thánh Đế Quân.

They are especially responsible for ameliorating the Buddhism, Taoism. Confucianism.

That point can be found in the Caodai disciple’s ideology and expression in worship rites. The activities of Divine Beings belong to the half-visible aspect. Consequently, it is not easy to verify for unbelievers.

The sketch is about figures mentioned much in the Caodai doctrine. How are about the religious heads on over the world? For any religion with the faith forms where they are, there are also embodiments of God as the venerated subject for believers. Thus, the list to the name of religious heads of three universal salvations due to the way mentioned, just takes the available symbol for the trend to gather all.

Any symbol is relative, therefore we should understand that after the list, there are many blank dots and parenthesis waiting the continuous fill from when the humankind’s mind develops to a level that people can imagine all titles of religious heads or same figures who obtained such positions in ancient society.

Consequently, the separation to three periods of salvation takes the machinery mathematical meaning, it means that after some epoch, people assign the religious heads and faith forms of huge and small religions in a same group. In contrary, this separation takes the general nature and a meaning that the humankind history is a circulation by prosper and decline. For every decline period, the Religions seem to try to restore the people’s noble spirit to trend to their sacred source.

The Third Period of God’s Amnesty is marked by the Caodai religion’s birth about the beginning of 20th century. However, this general doctrine had appeared in many places such as the Bahai religion in 1863. The religion research movements compared in countries of America and Europe from the beginning 20th century are same the Supreme Being’s confirmation:

I did not come by mysterious communication writing to establish religion in Vietnam, however Buddha, Immortal, Saint, Deity had used this mysteriousness to preach religion in many nations” [Divine Messages Collection, teaching on 12th November 1926].

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