|More than 800 people attended the ninetieth anniversary of a unique Vietnamese religion, Cao Dai, in Ha Noi yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo
HA NOI (VNS) — More than 800 people attended the ninetieth anniversary of a unique Vietnamese religion, Cao Dai, in Ha Noi yesterday.
President Truong Tan Sang sent a congratulatory bouquet to the gathering.
The ceremony brought Cao Dai dignitaries together with officials from the Viet Nam Fatherland Front, ministries and sectors, city and provincial authorities - and representatives of other religions.
The main celebrations will be held on Thursday in Tay Ninh City in the southern province of the same name where the philosophy was born in 1926.
Duong Ngoc Tan, Deputy Head of the Government's Committee for Religious Affairs, told the gathering that the Party and the State appreciated the significant contributions Cao Dai followers in national construction and defence
He also emphasised its charitable, socio-cultural activities and relationships with international religious organisations.
During the Indochina warsmembers of Cao Dai were active in political and military struggles against both French and South Vietnamese forces.Dai, which means "highest power", is a blend of Christianity, Buddhism and native Vietnamese religions. It is said to be the third largest religion in Viet Nam.
The symbol of the faith is the Left Eye of God, representing the yang or masculine activity of the male creator. This is balanced by the yin (m) activity of the Mother Goddess and the Queen Mother of the West (Diu Tri Kim Mau and Ty Vuong Mau), the nurturing and restorative mother of humanity.
Adherents engage in ethical practices such as prayer, veneration of ancestors, non-violence, and vegetarianism with the goal of union with God and freedom from suffering.
Estimates of the number of Caodaists in Viet Nam vary. Government figures give 4.4 million for Caodaists affiliated to the Tay Ninh Church, with numbers rising up to six million if overseas branches are added
From 2006 to 2015, more than VND200 million (US$8,900) was donated by Cao Dai dignitaries and followers to help people suffering from natural disasters and to conduct free medical examinations for impoverished people. — VNS