How Old is That Religion? Buddhism & Cao Dai

Some religions are as old as the hills, while others have found a newfound following in members that stretch across the world. In this article, you will be introduced to the founder of Buddhism, as well as important values associated with the belief system of those who follow the Three Teachings.  

Buddhism: Founded by Siddharta Gautama (better known as the Buddha), the religion got its start around 520 BC in India, making it one of the oldest religions in the world. The purpose of the belief system is centered on avoiding a life of suffering and to gain enlightenment. Adherents also strive to become released from a cycle of rebirth or in the least, wish to reach a better rebirth, which comes with good deeds.

3 Facts About Buddhism

1) There are two main branches of Buddhism. Theravada is predominant throughout Southeast Asia, while Mahayna is popular about East Asia. Depending on your Buddhist beliefs, you may also recognize a third branch called Vajrayana.

2) Buddhists believe that anyone who has reached nirvana is considered a Buddha. The term means the absence of craving and ignorance, which leads to the end of suffering. It is also referred to as a state of living concentrated on quiet and calm. Nirvana is also sometimes called the “Awakening” or “Enlightenment” in Western circles.

3) The founder of Buddhism (Siddharta Gautama) was a spiritual teacher living in the northern region who lived in the Indian subcontinent before he founded Buddhism. His specific birth and death is still a mystery to this day, although some historians believe he lived from around 563 BCE to 483 BCE.

Cao Dai

Cao Dai was founded in 1926 by Ngo Van Chieu in Vietnam. Others were involved in the development of the religion, which was essentially based on a séance. With this belief system, God is represented by the Divine Eye with influence taken from those who founded Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, and Islam. Saints associated with this belief system includes the likes of author, Victor Hugo, who penned Les Miserables.

3 Facts About Cao Dai

1) Participating in ethical practices is an important aspect of the Cao Dai faith. Adherents pray, practice nonviolence, and do not eat meat.

2) Within Caodaiism, you will encounter the Three Teachings that represent the levels of spiritual attainment situated within a hierarchy: Buddha, Sage, and Saint. Of course, the highest level is Buddha. Out of the three teachings, only buddhas become free of the cycle of birth and death.

3) Scriptures associated with the Cao Dai belief system include three main texts: Thanh Ngon Hiep Tuyen; Phap Chanh Truyen (The Religious Constitution of Caodaiism); and Kinh Thien Dạo Va The Dạo.