Front: Cao Dai Temple--page 1 (of four pages)


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page 1: front
page 2: front entrance details
page 3: side and rear views
page 4: views of interior

The Cao Dai religion was founded by Ngo Van Chieu in the 1920s in Vietnam; it is an indigenous Vietnamese religion. Chieu had been a Taoist whose vision of the Jade Emperor, or Cao Dai (the Supreme Palace or Being) led him to combine concepts from a variety of Eastern and Western doctrines. (Cao Dai is translated as high tower or palace, a metaphor for spiritual growth.) This religion venerates a number of prophets such as Lao-tzu, Confucius, Buddha, Muhammad, and Jesus. Some of its rituals are derived from Buddhism, as well as the idea of escaping cycles of rebirth. The use of mediums to communicate with the other world derives from Taoism. The priesthood is patterned after Catholicism. The structure and plan of the churches resemble Christian basilicas.

After 1975, the practice of this religion was suppressed; it was legalized again in 1985. The religion has more than two million followers and is headquartered in Tay Ninh province near the Cambodian border.

 

Views of the front

Like many Christian churches the three-part front elevation suggests the interior--here a wide nave with side aisles.
 
 

The Divine Eye

The eye symbolizes the vision of the All.

The three primary colors recur on the exterior and interior. The yellow is for Buddhism, the blue for Taoism, and red for Christianity.
 


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© 2004 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. (I would appreciate being told if you find them useful.) They are not available for commercial purposes without my explicit permission.

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