Carol Hewitt

Carol Hewitt

Modified & Updated: 09 Sep 2023


Caodaism is a fascinating and relatively lesser-known religion that originated in Vietnam in the early 20th century. It is a syncretic religion, blending elements of various religious traditions including Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Christianity. Caodaism believes in a supreme being called Cao ?ài, and its followers strive for spiritual enlightenment and harmony with the divine.

In this article, we will delve into 18 intriguing facts about Caodaism, shedding light on its history, beliefs, rituals, and impact on Vietnamese culture. Whether you are already familiar with Caodaism or are curious to learn more about this unique religion, this article will provide you with an in-depth understanding of its key aspects.

Table of Contents

The Origins of Caodaism

Caodaism, also known as the Cao Dai religion, is a uniquely Vietnamese religion that was founded in 1926 in the city of Tây Ninh. It was established by Ngo Van Chieu, who claimed to receive divine revelation from several spiritual entities, including Buddha, Jesus Christ, Confucius, and Muhammad.

Beliefs and Teachings

Caodaism combines elements of various religions, including Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Christianity. Its core beliefs revolve around the worship of one Supreme Being, referred to as Cao ?ài, and the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment and harmony.

The Divine Eye

A prominent symbol in Caodaism is the Divine Eye, representing the all-seeing power of the Supreme Being. It is often depicted as an eye inside a triangle, surrounded by rays of light.

Saints and Spirits

Caodaism recognizes a pantheon of saints and spirits, including religious leaders, historical figures, and mythical deities. Some of the most revered figures in Caodaism include Victor Hugo, Sun Yat-sen, and Tr?n H?ng ??o.

Reincarnation and Karma

Caodaists believe in the concept of reincarnation, where the soul is reborn after death into a new body. They also believe in the law of karma, which states that one’s actions in this life will determine their fate in future lives.

Religious Practices

Caodaists engage in various religious practices, including prayer, meditation, and attending temple ceremonies. They also follow a moral code that promotes virtues such as compassion, honesty, and humility.

Gender Equality

Caodaism upholds the principle of gender equality, with both men and women being eligible to become religious leaders and participate in all aspects of religious life.

Social Services

Caodaism places a strong emphasis on charitable work and social services. Caodaist organizations are involved in providing healthcare, education, and humanitarian aid to those in need.

The Holy See in Tây Ninh

The Holy See in Tây Ninh is the central religious authority of Caodaism. It is a grand temple complex that serves as the spiritual and administrative headquarters of the religion.

Caodaism and Vietnamese Identity

Caodaism is deeply ingrained in Vietnamese culture and plays a significant role in the country’s religious landscape. It is recognized by the Vietnamese government as one of the officially recognized religions in Vietnam.

Caodaism’s Global Presence

While Caodaism originated in Vietnam, it has also spread to other parts of the world, including the United States, France, Australia, and Canada. Caodaist communities can be found in these countries, maintaining their religious practices and traditions.

Caodaist Rituals and Ceremonies

Caodaism is known for its vibrant and elaborate rituals and ceremonies, which often involve colorful costumes, music, and dance. These rituals aim to connect the physical and spiritual realms.

The Holy Books of Caodaism

Caodaism has its own set of sacred texts known as the Threefold Scripture. These texts contain teachings and guidance for Caodaists to follow on their spiritual journey.

Caodaism and Spiritism

Caodaism incorporates principles of spiritism, with communication with spirits being an integral part of its religious practices. Mediumship and séances are common in Caodaist ceremonies.

Influence on Vietnamese Literature and Arts

Caodaism has had a significant influence on Vietnamese literature, music, and visual arts. Many poets, writers, and artists draw inspiration from Caodaist beliefs and symbolism in their works.

Caodaism and Interfaith Dialogue

Caodaism promotes interfaith dialogue and unity among different religious traditions. It encourages its followers to respect and learn from the teachings of other religions.

Caodaism’s Position on Politics

Caodaism advocates for the separation of religion and politics. While it values moral and ethical governance, Caodaists believe that spiritual matters should be separate from political affairs.

The Future of Caodaism

Caodaism continues to thrive as a unique religious tradition in Vietnam and around the world. Its inclusive nature and emphasis on spiritual growth attract followers from diverse backgrounds and ensure its longevity for years to come.


In conclusion, Caodaism is a fascinating religion that combines elements of various faiths to create a unique spiritual tradition. Its origins in Vietnam and its emphasis on peace, harmony, and spiritual growth have attracted a significant following both within and outside the country. With its complex cosmology, colorful rituals, and inclusive beliefs, Caodaism offers a rich and diverse spiritual experience for its practitioners.As we have explored in this article, Caodaism has a rich history and unique practices that set it apart from other religions. From its central figures and beliefs to its organizational structure and religious texts, Caodaism provides a rich tapestry of spiritual teachings and practices that continue to inspire and guide its followers.Whether you are a curious observer or a potential follower, delving into the 18 facts about Caodaism has provided a glimpse into the depth and beauty of this spiritual tradition. By embracing tolerance, compassion, and spiritual growth, Caodaism serves as a beacon of hope and a pathway to enlightenment for its followers.


1. What is the origin of Caodaism?

Caodaism originated in Vietnam in the early 20th century, blending elements of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Christianity.

2. Who is the central figure in Caodaism?

The central figure in Caodaism is the Supreme Being, referred to as “Cao ?ài” or “the King of Heaven”.

3. What are the key beliefs of Caodaism?

Caodaism believes in the existence of a spiritual hierarchy, the salvation of souls, and the pursuit of universal love and harmony.

4. What is the significance of the Divine Eye symbol in Caodaism?

The Divine Eye symbol represents the all-seeing, all-knowing nature of the Supreme Being, symbolizing divine providence and guidance.

5. How is Caodaism organized?

Caodaism is organized hierarchically, with the Holy See in Tay Ninh, Vietnam serving as its spiritual center and governing body.

6. Are women allowed in leadership roles in Caodaism?

Yes, Caodaism promotes gender equality and allows women to hold leadership positions within its religious hierarchy.

7. Are there any specific rituals in Caodaism?

Yes, Caodaism practices various rituals including prayer, meditation, incense offerings, and ancestor worship.

8. Is Caodaism recognized by the Vietnamese government?

Yes, Caodaism is recognized as a legitimate religion by the Vietnamese government and enjoys a protected legal status.

9. How many followers does Caodaism have?

It is estimated that Caodaism has several million followers worldwide, with the majority residing in Vietnam.

10. Can anyone become a follower of Caodaism?

Yes, Caodaism is open to people from all walks of life and welcomes individuals who seek spiritual growth and enlightenment.