Cao Dai

Cao Dai Beliefs

Fast Facts: Cao Dai Beliefs
Overview God represented by Divine Eye. Salvation by "cultivating self and finding God in self." Reincarnation.
God(s) God represented by Divine Eye. Founders of Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity venerated, and saints including Victor Hugo.
Meaning of Life Goal is peace and harmony in each person and in the world. Salvation by "cultivating self and finding God in self."
Afterlife reincarnation until Nirvana/Heaven

In its beliefs, Cao Dai draws upon ethical precepts from Confucianism and theories of theories of karma and rebirth from Buddhism, with some influence from Roman Catholicism. It is a very syncretistic faith, and proudly so. According to one Cao Dai follower and author:

That's the reason God has founded Cao Dai, in order to bring harmony to different religions. And the principle of Cao Dai is that religions are not different and if we take enough time to study deep --deeply enough in each religion, we would see that they have one same principal, if not identical principal.{3}

Similarly, a Cao Dai website describes the religion's worldview this way:

The noble effort of CaoDai is to unite all of humanity through a common vision of the Supreme Being, whatever our minor differences, in order to promote peace and understanding throughout the world. CaoDai does not seek to create a gray world, where all religions are exactly the same, only to create a more tolerant world, where all can see each other as sisters and brothers from a common divine source reaching out to a common divine destiny realizing peace within and without. 4 The supreme being is Cao Dai ("High Tower"), a Taoist epithet for the supreme god. Cao Dai is regarded as the same supreme being honored in all major world religions, but the term Cao Dai avoids gender, personality or other earthly attributes. God is represented as the Divine Eye, an eye in a triangle, which appears on the facades of the sect's temples and in followers' homes. It is a left eye, because God is Yang, and Yang is the left side.

Cao Dai's saints include such diverse figures as the Buddha, Confucius, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Pericles, Julius Caesar, Joan of Arc, Victor Hugo, and Sun Yat-sen. These are honored at Cao Dai temples, along with ancestors.

In Cao Dai, the purpose of life is peace within each individual and harmony in the world. Cao Dai followers also seek to gain religious merit and avoid bad karma.

Cao Dai beliefs about the afterlife are derived from Buddhism. Those who have gathered too much bad karma during their lifetime will be reincarnated in negative circumstances, which may include rebirth on a darker, colder planet than this one. Good karma leads to rebirth to a better life on earth.

Salvation is freedom from rebirth and the attainment of nirvana or heaven. "The ultimate goal of CaoDaists is to be reunified with The All That Is, to return home."{5}

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Article Info

Title Cao Dai Beliefs
Last UpdatedFebruary 13, 2021
MLA Citation “Cao Dai Beliefs.” 13 Feb. 2021. Web. Accessed 28 Sep. 2021. <>