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Bēhance

Cao Dai Temple

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  • Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring - when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children - black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics - will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
    ...Martin Luther King's 'I have a Dream' speech
     
    As someone who is exposed to pretty much the major religions of the world like Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc...and myself a believer in one, it is quite interesting to be told of a peculiar religion that took root in Vietnam, and has been around for only the last century or so.
     
    The religion of Cao Dai, or Cao Daism, takes its roots from some elements of the other major religions, and is itself something different for someone like me. Together with my charges, we rushed at the opportunity to view one of their prayer sessions, which is held every 6 hours, every day, without fail. The temple is located at Tay Ninh.
     
    Here are snapshots of the ceremony that I attended.
     
    For more information on Cao Daism, one can refer to WikiPedia at HERE
  • View from outside the gates leading on to the temple.
  • A female devotee riding for her prayer session. The robe that she wore is the typical garb worn by the female devotees. It reminded me of the prayer attire worn by Muslim women during their daily prayers.
  • A corner view of the temple building. The structure has just been completed only recently, and was indeed replete with artistic details, typical of places of worship in the Asian region.
  • Female and male devotees doing their initial prayer session, before the main one. Again I see some similarity with Islamic practices, with male and female members conducting their prayer sessions at physically separated spaces.
  • Top view of female devotees getting ready for the main prayer session.
  • A choir of sorts, with accompanying musician provided the choral hyms and music to the prayer session.
  • Men and women stood in rank and file in separate spaces. Line and spacing discipline are enforced strictly, with some members, usually the more senior ones, tasked to ensure adherence.
  • View from the viewing gallery of the main prayer session.
  • My takeaway from my trip to the temple is this big idea of the oneness of worship. I think at most times, besides the fact that we do worship different god/s, there is just this universal belief about the idea of worship, that one-ness of idea, that there is this entity that is almighty, and worthy of worship.