Address given by His Holiness Ho-Phap
My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
All those who are Incarnate in this world owe a double debt to two Creators who are :
1. God the Creator or the Eternal, who gives us each a portion of His Eternity, which is represented by our soul. Thanks to this divine spark, we are separated from the other creatures by our intelligence, which leads us towards the Perfection of our being, so that we are led towards the Good and the Beautiful. The aim of each human being is to consolidate this understanding, so that they may form an intellectual torch which illuminates and guides all souls in the way of Wisdom. After we have shed the flesh, that we should leave behind some mutual assistance and education worthy of Humanity is the Will of God.
Thanks to our research and our instruction, we are able to enlarge our knowledge and develop our minds to follow the example of our ancestors. Time flows by, generations pass, and Humanity draws nearer to perfection from one day to the next; certainly at a moment in the distant future, Humanity will be able to gain much knowledge about the mysteries of the Invisible. There are many proofs to let us know that a Supreme,Supernatural Being really exists to encourage Humanity to undertake the path of Spiritual Evolution.
2. Our Parents who produce our fleshly body, who nourish us and educate us to make us wiser. We are born under the determinism of knowledge and the mission to be accomplished is a heavy one. We have duties to fulfil towards our country, our parents, our teachers, our home, towards ourselves and Society. These duties weigh us down like burdens, as long as the way of life is sown with difficulties while at every step we may stumble. If we resent these burdens and avoid them, we do not fulfil our duty as human beings. What misery! In the ocean of life, so many sufferings and miseries lie in wait for us to hinder our Mission!
If we do not know the purpose of our existence which can provide us with a clearly defined programme of action, we will never escape the errors caused by our own clumsiness. The programme is based on the principles taught by religions which show us the true Way of the “Dao” or of Salvation. This is the Way towards which Humanity must be guided and led to avoid the painful dangers of life. Thus it is vital to have a clear aim, to establish a rule of life so that modern [people] may be in harmony with people of former times, and these be one with those who are to come.
To that the Universal Spirit may become a Source of Light to illuminate the world, all sins and sufferings must be dissolved into a Caodaiist Arch to save Humanity from the valley of tears!
Sakyamuni Buddha through love for Humanity has found the Path of Deliverance;
Lao-Tzu, through love for Humanity, triumphed over Death and Suffering;
Jesus-Christ, for the redemption of Humanity, glorified the Passion;
Finally the Saints and the Sages, to guide Humanity, endured Suffering.
Sufferings are the tests in the Great School of Life where were are allowed to reach the Divine Status of the great Spirits if we pass these tests with honours.
Every end has a beginning, every cause an effect. Unless debts are paid and wiped out in the chaos of time, even higher spirits once reincarnated will have difficulty escaping from the Karmic Law.
Here below, “all is relative”; there is a turning point defined by Omnipotence, where regression moves onto an upward path, where Evil seeks out good, perversity becomes righteousness, and wickedness becomes gentleness once again. This involves the laws of Reparation, Repartition and Evolution. Intending to guide Humanity and to help in the avoidance of certain danger spots in life so that progress can be rapid, the Great Spirits, out of universal love, undertake to return to this earth to fulfil their Mission. The unchangeable law of the Progress of the Universe is so powerful that all spirits must follow it to reach either spiritual Perfection, or Ascension towards God.
The Visible and the Invisible go together. The Creator has based the material world in the image of the Spiritual World. As well as the power of the Eternal, there exist an extraordinary mechanism which drives men towards the path of moral perfection, following the example of the Wise, the Geniuses, Saints, Angels and Buddhas. God too must uphold carefully the forward movement which regenerates the world.
Universal Love is the basis of the Unique Law of the Supreme Being. Divine Justice, like human justice, rewards all progress towards Good and punishes all deviation towards Evil.
In Divine Peace the Mystery of the Invisible rules, and by following the Peace the Universe and Planets evolve in the Infinite. Our Earth too must live in peace to remain intact. Humanity must be in harmony in the Peace so that it can exist, just as the Body and the Spirit must have a peaceful agreement to attain to Wisdom.
Since the greater infinite allows us to guess at the lesser infinity, and the lesser infinity helps to reveal the greater infinity, we may conclude that our perishable body is no more than a formation of Matter, and our soul, truly a spiritual creature of God, is to return to God once it is disincarnate.
Religions have preached their gospel, but the enigma resides in the universal peace which leads all souls to God.
“A holy soul in a holy body”, such is the basic rule of Wisdom. If our holy soul knows how to resist the “Seven passions”, it encourages the growth of the Holy Spirit or Spirit of Light, which always remains in harmony with the soul Root, and acquires in this world, the mystic secret of Spirituality.
The body represents matter, the mind is the Breathing, and the soul is the Holy Spirit. Once this Trinity is totally dedicated to Unity, a human being becomes immortal in spirit and wisdom.
To sum up, the Third Amnesty of God preaches universal Love which brings forth Union and Peace. Such universal Love is the only key which opens the Gates of the Thirty-Six Heavens of Nirvana or Paradise, according to the teachings of Our Divine Master.
Eternity and Wisdom can only be obtained by Mercy and the Love of Nature and of all beings. The fusion of all Doctrines can only be achieved by Union and Peace. By creating the New Alliance God gave human beings the proof of self-knowledge for the children of the Heavenly Father always walk in the path of Virtue and Charity.
The exoteric part of Caodaism represents the Holy Image of Our Divine Master, and it must depend on the Law of Creation to find it Form. Thus the Temple of the “Cuu-Trung-Dai” is the Physical Body or Matter, the Temple of the Divine Alliance (Hiep-Thien-Dai) is the Perispirit, and the temple of the Eight States of Soul of the Manvantara (Bat-Quai-Dai) is the Soul of the Holy Spirit. If this Trinity is not aiming totally towards Cosmic Unity, the Work of God in this world will be destroyed.
If there existed here any power capable of sowing discord in the divine Constitution of Caodaism, the Doctrine taught by Our Master would not be the True One and would be worthy to be cast out after a brief appearance. But if it true that Our Master is the eternal, All Powerful God, who comes and preaches His Gospel to save the world, the stratagems and snares which Heresy has constructed on His Path aimed at slowing down the spread of Caodaiism, will soon disappear.
What a miserable fate for dissidents who seek to form sects and schisms to dismember the Physical Body of God.
What misery for the unfortunates who deny the teachings of God and wish to fight against the Holy Spirit. We can only lament for them, for the greatest sin is to walk in opposition to God. The fault of Judas who sold Jesus Christ for thirty pieces of silver is much less serious that the faults of these rebels who betray their Father and Master for empty status.
God humbled himself to teach us. He affirms that he is our Master and expects from us a holy understanding of the true life of the soul which urges us to be united with Him to give the good news to the world and to save lost souls.
Six years have gone by and the Physical Body of God is still badly formed. What are the Great Spirits of the Invisible World doing to communicate with the Visible world, so as to reform the Divine Plan and group all predestined souls in the Lap of the Eternal?
The five religious branches are not in the process of uniting; rather Humanity is divided by differences of opinion. The Divine Master came to gather us together again, to unite us and to encourage us to live in peace like children in one large Family. The prediction of His coming in the Christian Gospel is fulfilled : “I have other wandering sheep to bring back to the fold.” This means that He has to unify many religions.
Among the religions founded by those Sent by God at different times, we can mention :
The Doctrine of the Buddhas which includes Brahmanism, Vedantism, Buddhism, and the Philosophy of Pythagoras;
The Doctrine of the Seraphim which includes Taoism, the theories of Yang-Tsu and Mei-Ti, Exorcisms, Idolatry and the occult Sciences;
The Doctrine of the Saints which includes Christianity, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam;
The Doctrine of the Genies which includes the Chinese, Greek and Egyptian Mythologies;
The doctrine of the Sages which includes the Theories of Socrates, Aesop, Plato, etc.. in Greece; and of Confucius, Mencius, the Trinh brothers, etc., encompassing the fine practices and customs of the Han and Tan dynasties, and the Classical Literature of the Duong dynasty from the early age of China.
Before revealing Himself to found Caodaiism which is the syncretism of the ancient doctrines, God sent the Great Spirits incarnate in the World to create various philosophical societies aimed at giving new life to human consciousness. Examples are the Theosophical Society, the Society for research into Buddhist Philosophy, the Psychic Society, study of Spiritism, etc…Most of these societies are founded to teach the Truth to all the countries of the World, one century before the appearance of Caodaism.
Today our Master comes and builds “The Lofty Palace” (Cao-Dai) or the Lofty Church symbolising the Greatest Faith in the World, in order to provide a basis for the New Religion. He has chosen His Apostles among the inhabitants of a minor group of people in the Far East, for that is what Viet-Nam is, to carry out this prophecy : “The Holy doctrine of God comes from the East. The Priestly Group is thus the Spotless Body of the Eternal One, and by the beating of the drum called “Loi-Am” (Loi Am is sound of Thunder which created the First Logos - Manifestation of God to create the worlds)and the ringing of the bell called “Bach-Ngoc” (Bach Ngoc is the Bell which has the power to rouse sleeping souls, as it rings out God's Call to His children), they wake God's children from the sleepy lethargy of the present times and lead them towards their Father's Home.
Although Our Divine Master humbles himself to provide us with an example, He comes to us from his Omnipotence, with might and power and glory. Though Invisible he makes himself seen, without a word he makes himself heard, and in His hands he holds all divine power to direct and teach His Holy Doctrine. As a form of control He has given us a “Conscience”, and his only power is His Universal Love. His children can recognise Him by these two powers which spread through Humanity the traces of His Supreme Wisdom and the proof of His Lofty Holiness.
Union and Peace! These are words of gold and jade which Our Supreme Master has placed in the heart of each of us. Union brings forth Peace in all societies and nations; it is a shining example, which impels Humanity to live in universal brotherhood.
Though this is the loftiest Mission which Our Master has entrusted to us, we do not grasp its full import; because of empty honours and illusory wealth, we fight each other, we split apart, and we all but deny the power of our Divine Master. Do we deserve to be called “children or servants” of God?
Foreseeing the weakness of our body, Our Master created the demanding laws to make us bend beneath the discipline of a double Priesthood, both spiritual and temporal. As a means of control we have the New religious Code; for organisational purposes we have the Rules (Phap Chanh Truyen) and the priestly laws, and as a source of authority we have the Tribunal of the Saints.
These form the horn, the staff and the invisible enclosure used by God to gather again his wandering flocks. But unfortunately the shepherd cannot hear the horn clearly, the flocks have no fear of the staff, the thin-walled enclosure lets in wolves which attack the flock! How does this misfortune occur: Certainly it comes from our divided Priesthood, from our idle office-holders, so that the Priestly Body is in no position at all to follow the divine plan to avert the evils caused by Heresy.
The Holy Words which Our Master taught us since the creation of Caodaiism form at present the New Gospel which the adepts have not clearly understood, influenced as they were by the bad interpretation made by careless office-bearers who do no more that lessen the value of the divine law and discourage the coreligionists.
In the face of such a situation, how can we evangelise the world and reestablish a strong organisation to world salvation?
Like all other religions, Caodaiism, has both an outward (“Exoteric”) and inward (“Esoteric”) aspect. Now the outward aspect is not achieving even a third of its programme, and the inward aspect is not understood by anyone. This is the reason that the true value of the Third Amnesty of God is misunderstood by the people, the Holy Doctrine is criticised by the older religions and the New Faith is so weakened; this is the cause of the perplexity experienced by our adepts.
Great Spirits have already predicted that the Lofty Souls alone can preserve their Faith intact. The trials we are experiencing indicate the truth of these words.
My dear Brothers and Sisters,
I think that we all have a great responsibility entrusted to us. If we lack clarity in ourselves, we will never be able to justify ourselves to anyone. We must acknowledge our weakness since we have the support of the Holy Doctrine, the very thing that has given others the freedom to form sects and to strengthen their power.
There are two personalities in each of us : our Ego and the Servant of God (office-bearer). As far as our bodily “ego” is concerned, there is nothing wrong if it perishes with our life! But here it is a question of our duty to God. If we have not reached the lofty height of our divine task, to keep intact the New Faith destined for Humanity, How great will be our fault in the eyes of the Supreme Being?
So from now on let us be united and be strongly determined not to allow our power to be usurped by anyone at all, for this power is our Master's. Even if only one adept remains, the Priesthood will always uphold its authority.
To finish may I be allowed to make one recommendation to you all : From this day on, let us unite, let us concentrate all our strength around the Banner of Our Divine Master, and this means the Holy See. Let us be full of determination to build in the Far East, in our own country, Viet-Nam, a Lofty Church which will be a Beacon to enlighten the whole World on its march towards PEACE and HARMONY.”
(This Address was given by His Holiness Ho-Phap Pham-Cong-Tac before the Great Sacerdotal Assembly held at the Holy See of Tay Ninh, November 28, 1938. Translated from Vietnamese to French by His Holiness Cao Tiep-Dao, Lord of the Zodiac, Religious Legislator of the Legislative Body. Translated from French to English by Lucy Davey)