Caodaism May Help the Understanding of the Spirit
Last year in Brussels, I showed how Caodaism can play an important role in the reallisation of religious universalism.
Keeping to the theme chosen by the organisers of the London Congress, I would like to see whether the religion which is born of Spiritism, in 1926, in Cochinchina, can assist with the understanding of the spirit in a the synthesis of religion, philosophy, science, psychology and art.
Since our 1948 Congress in Lausanne, I have had the opportunity each year of drawing the attention of those who took part in the Congress to Caodaism which numbers more than two million believers.
I recall what I kept saying last year in Brussels; because of its tolerance towards all systems of belief, Caodaism respects all human awarenesses just as it respects the Universal Awareness, emanating from God who is “the Unmeasurable, the Eternal, the Most High, the absolute” and has no name.
If a synthesis of religion, science, philosophy, psychology and art is needed to achieve an understanding of the Spirit, than Caodaism seems to me capable of helping greatly in the attainment of this purpose.
Religion, Caodaism is the spiritual alliance of the religions of the East and of the West.
At the World Spiritual Council all the spiritualist tendencies can be represented. No Caodaist may presuppose that his religion alone is capable of achieving the synthesis which was the aim of the researches at the Congress in 1952, but all Caodaists know how far their religion can be an important support in achieving this aim.
The basis of Caodaism is, as we know, Spiritism. Now Spiritism is a science and a philosophy. In 1950 at one of the sessions of the Congress in Haywards Heath I had the opportunity to offer a precise definition of Spiritism which is not to be confused with credulity,[and] I recalled the strict rule which forms the basis of the study of facts, whether these are spontaneous or experimental. The rule is as follows :
The attempt should be made to explain the fact by objections made about Spiritism (hallucination, imagination, thought-reading, etc.); if one of these objections appears to give an explanation, even remotely, then the fact must be abandoned. If the only possible explanation can be derived from the intervention by a dead person, then and then only do we stand in the presence of a spiritist phenomenon.[As a] science and philosophy, Spiritism may be an important adjunct for religions, since it attracts to spirituality human beings who accept only the witness of their senses, and refuse all acts of faith or of mystery. Spiritism gives certitude about the existence of the soul, of life after death, of the possibility of communications between the living and the dead.
Last year, at the Brussels Congress, I was able to make analogous declarations and many participants made clear to me their degree of comprehension of my remarks in the course of personal conversations.
Caodaism has strong close ties with psychology.
The one who came from the Beyond to found this new religion did not want it to come up against any already existing religion.
By their prayers, Caodaiists venerate the Higher Spirits who in various ages were benefactors of Humanity; they forget none of them : Christ, Gautama Buddha, Confucius, the different geniuses of Chinese antiquity are mentioned in the prayers. The Gods of Asia are mingled with the Gods of Europe. In the Caodaiist temples, the believer and the unbeliever may meditate and pray according to their hope and predilection.
Surely this is an indication of a higher psychology?
There is nothing surprising about this, for Caodaism is simultaneously of a more than worldly source and a human achievement.
On the night of December 24-25, 1925, Cao-Dai gave the message which aimed at the creation of the new religion, men have agreed to put into practice the instructions received that night and the new indications given afterwards. This was the birth of Caodaism, a message of peace, goodness, brotherhood, universality.
All those at the Brussels Congress received the brochure which contained my report; there were numerous illustrations; all those who were at Assissi and after Haywards Heath, in Brussels, received the posthumous work by Gabriel Gobron which gave an account of the history and philosophy of Caodaism. this book is full of illustrations. People were thus able to make themselves aware of the important place occupied by art in the new religion.
The exterior and interior of the temples represent an artistic realisation of a very lively interest.
If they have retained the documents which were circulated at the time of the W.S.C., they can check how right I am in directing their attention to the photos which show how admirable are :
- the principal Temple, seen both in frontal and side elevation;
- the facade of the Temple;
- the symbols of Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, Confucianism, Geni-ism represented on the inner facade of the Temple, reaching the ceiling;
- the altar of the Divine Master Cao-Dai.