Ngo Van Chieu (1878-?)
Tay Ninh, Viet Nam
Cao Dai says its purpose "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."
A syncretistic, spiritualist religion native to Vietnam, it reveres historical figures such as Sun Yat Sen, Joan of Arc, and Victor Hugo as saints. Researcher Sergei Blagov writes that "The practice of spiritism is one of the central element of Caodaism, both doctrinally and organizationally. According to Caodaism, this world is ’a school for spirits.’ Therefore the mediumism is believed to be the instrument for establishing the new religion. Caodaists believe that spirits can communicate with mediums through the latter’ hands, ears, eyes, or directly penetrate their thoughts."
Various splinter groups have formed in recent years.
Adherents engage in practices such as prayer, veneration of ancestors, nonviolence, and vegetarianism with the goal of rejoining God in Heaven and the ultimate goal of freedom from the cycle of birth and death. Thus it contains elements of Vietnamese Buddhism and Roman Catholicism, among other influences.
Five million (Vietnam), more abroad
(only a partial list)
Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Vietnam, United States
include Chinese, English, French, Vietnamese