One of the best opportune time for me to pursue a deeper sense of anchor on my faith is to embark on a day-trip to see the CaoDai temple in Tay Ninh, 60 kilometers away from Ho Chi Minh City. I have seen this great and imposing structure of massive religious influence on its followers, believers and visitors from other Philippine Travel bloggers. I told myself that I will be here too and will see this for myself. I booked myself for a day tour with TNK Travel from De Tham Street in Pham Ngu Lao, then here is where I found peace.
CaoDai rests its faith that men and women must understand that the Supreme Being teaches man to realize that his religion and those of others have the same origin and purpose, teaching him not to discriminate and establish love like brothers and sisters. Believed to be followed by more than 6 Million believers in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, France and USA, CaoDai Temple is a showcase of great architectural prowess of its artisans and founders.
The temple was built in 1933 and further additional construction done in 1955. The CaoDai established a syncretistic form of religion involving Roman Catholicism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. One can see them in the robes they wear to the midday religious service and in grand showcase of their heritage and culture. The color Blue robe represents Taoism, Red robe represents Christianity and Yellow robe represents Buddhism. White, as commonly worn by its believers symbolizes purity in heart, mind and spirit.
At the structure of the CaoDai Temple, one can see intricate details of dragons in all forms and colors. This is by far, the most colourful display I have seen of any dragon in any temple or church in the countries I had been too. CaoDai Temple’s ceiling is painted with alfresco ambiance representing the heavens. On the grounds of the temple, it has nine(9) longer steps towards the main altar where the all-seeing eye of the Supreme Being watches the faithful in strict obedience and respect to their faith.
In coming to CaoDai Temple, I have seen it in many magazines and other fellow travel bloggers who had been there have great experiences to share and write. This is my time to also experience it so I intently listen to our guide when he told me politely that we are not allowed to take photos of ourselves inside the temple but we can take photos of ourselves with the temple as a background from the outside. I have no problems with that since I had not been accustomed taking photos in almost all places with me in it, I just would rather take the photos of it, share it as it is and write extensively about how it became to be.
The history of the CaoDai as a religion started when the administrator of the French to Indochina, Ngo Van Chieu, in 1919 received revelations from a supreme deity in a table séance. From then on, CaoDai built an army to fight against communism.
What struck me most was its colourful presentation of the eye which is very similar to the Masonic eye. The intricate details of the world on the columns as well as the tiles that they used in the temple are exceptionally chosen. Sitting grandly on an open garden, the CaoDai Temple truly speaks for itself, a Holy See of their faith. The CaoDai used to have its first Pope who was unceremoniously exiled in 1956.
The CaoDai adherents follow the three saints namely the French Poet Victor Hugo, the Chinese revolutionary Sun Yat Sen and Vietnamese Poet Trang Trinh.